Belgic Confession

Article XV

 

      We believe that through the disobedience of Adam original sin is extended to all mankind; which is a corruption of the whole nature and a hereditary disease, wherewith even infants in their mother's womb are infected, and which produces in man all sorts of sin, being in him as a root thereof, and therefore is so vile and abominable in the sight of God that it is sufficient to condemn all mankind. Nor is it altogether abolished or wholly eradicated even by regeneration;[1] since sin always issues forth from this woeful source, as water from a fountain; notwithstanding it is not imputed to the children of God unto condemnation, but by His grace and mercy is forgiven them. Not that they should rest securely in sin, but that a sense of this corruption should make believers often to sigh, desiring to be delivered from this body of death.

 

Wherefore we reject the error of the Pelagians, who assert that sin proceeds only from imitation.

 

Article XVI

 

     We believe that, all the posterity of Adam being thus fallen into perdition and ruin by the sin of our first parents, God then did manifest Himself such as He is; that is to say, merciful and just: merciful, since He delivers and preserves from this perdition all whom He in His eternal and unchangeable counsel of mere goodness has elected in Christ Jesus our Lord, without any respect to their works; just, in leaving others in the fall and perdition wherein they have involved themselves.

 

Article XXII

 

     We believe that, to attain the true knowledge of this great mystery, the Holy Spirit kindles in our hearts an upright faith, which embraces Jesus Christ with all His merits, appropriates Him, and seeks nothing more besides Him. For it must needs follow, either that all things which are requisite to our salvation are not in Jesus Christ, or if all things are in Him, that then those who possess Jesus Christ through faith have complete salvation in Him. Therefore, for any to assert that Christ is not sufficient, but that something more is required besides Him, would be too gross a blasphemy; for hence it would follow that Christ was but half a Savior.

     Therefore we justly say with Paul, that we are justified by faith alone, or by faith apart from works. However, to speak more clearly, we do not mean that faith itself justifies us, for it is only an instrument with which we embrace Christ our righteousness. But Jesus Christ, imputing to us all His merits, and so many holy works which He has done for us and in our stead, is our righteousness. And faith is an instrument that keeps us in communion with Him in all His benefits, which, when they become ours, are more than sufficient to acquit us of our sins.

 

Article XXIII

     We believe that our salvation consists in the remission of our sins for Jesus Christ's sake, and that therein our righteousness before God is implied; as David and Paul teach us, declaring this to be the blessedness of man that God imputes righteousness to him apart from works. And the same apostle says that we are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

     And therefore we always hold fast this foundation, ascribing all the glory to God, humbling ourselves before Him, and acknowledging ourselves to be such as we really are, without presuming to trust in anything in ourselves, or in any merit of ours, relying and resting upon the obedience of Christ crucified alone, which becomes ours when we believe in Him. This is sufficient to cover all our iniquities, and to give us confidence in approaching to God; freeing the conscience of fear, terror, and dread, without following the example of our first father, Adam, who, trembling, attempted to cover himself with fig-leaves. And, verily, if we should appear before God, relying on ourselves or on any other creature, though ever so little, we should, alas! be consumed. And therefore every one must pray with David: O Jehovah, enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight no man living is righteous.

 

Articles XXIV

 

     We believe that our salvation consists in the remission of our sins for Jesus Christ's sake, and that therein our righteousness before God is implied; as David and Paul teach us, declaring this to be the blessedness of man that God imputes righteousness to him apart from works. And the same apostle says that we are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

     And therefore we always hold fast this foundation, ascribing all the glory to God, humbling ourselves before Him, and acknowledging ourselves to be such as we really are, without presuming to trust in anything in ourselves, or in any merit of ours, relying and resting upon the obedience of Christ crucified alone, which becomes ours when we believe in Him. This is sufficient to cover all our iniquities, and to give us confidence in approaching to God; freeing the conscience of fear, terror, and dread, without following the example of our first father, Adam, who, trembling, attempted to cover himself with fig-leaves. And, verily, if we should appear before God, relying on ourselves or on any other creature, though ever so little, we should, alas! be consumed. And therefore every one must pray with David: O Jehovah, enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight no man living is righteous.

 

 

Canons of Dort

 

First Head of Doctrine

 

Article 1

     As all men have sinned in Adam, lie under the curse, and are deserving of eternal death, God would have done no injustice by leaving them all to perish and delivering them over to condemnation on account of sin, according to the words of the apostle: That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God (Rom. 3:19). And: For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).  And: For the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).

 

Article 9

     This election was not founded upon foreseen faith and the obedience of faith, holiness, or any other good quality or disposition in man, as the prerequisite, cause, or condition on which it depended; but men are chosen to faith and to the obedience of faith, holiness, etc. Therefore election is the fountain of every saving good, from which proceed faith, holiness, and the other gifts of salvation, and finally eternal life itself, as its fruits and effects, according to the testimony of the apostle: He hath chosen us (not because we were, but) that we should be holy, and without blemish before him in love (Eph. 1:4).

 

 

Heidelberg Catechism

 

Question 1:  What is your only comfort in life and in death?

 Answer 1:  That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death,[1] am not my own,[2] but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ,[3] who with His precious blood [4] has fully satisfied for all my sins,[5] and redeemed me from all the power of the devil;[6] and so preserves me [7] that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head;[8] indeed, that all things must work together for my salvation.[9] Wherefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life,[10] and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live unto Him.[11]

1.  Rom. 14:7-8

2.  I Cor. 6:19

3.  I Cor. 3:23

4.  I Peter 1:18-19

5.  I John 1:7; 2:2

6.  I John 3:8

7.  John 6:39

8.  Matt. 10:29-30; Luke 21:18

9.  Rom. 8:28

10. II Cor. 1:21-22; Eph. 1:13-14; Rom. 8:16

11. Rom. 8:1

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Q12:  Since, then, by the righteous judgment of God, we deserve temporal and eternal punishment, how may we escape this punishment and be again received into favor?

 A12:  God wills that His justice be satisfied;[1] therefore, we must make full satisfaction to that justice, either by ourselves or by another.[2]

1.  Exod. 20:5; 23:7

2.  Rom. 8:3-4

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Q18:  But who now is that Mediator, who in one person is true God and also a true and righteous man?

 A18:  Our Lord Jesus Christ,[1] who is freely given unto us for complete redemption and righteousness.[2]

1.  Matt. 1:23; I Tim. 3:16; Luke 2:11

2.  I Cor. 1:30; Acts 4:12

 

 Q19:  From where do you know this?

 A19:  From the Holy Gospel, which God Himself first revealed in Paradise,[1] afterwards proclaimed by the holy Patriarchs [2] and Prophets, and foreshadowed by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law,[3] and finally fulfilled by His well-beloved Son.[4]

1.  Gen. 3:15

2.  Gen. 22:18; 49:10-11; Rom. 1:2; Heb. 1:1; Acts 3:22-24; 10:43

3.  John 5:46; Heb. 10:7

4.  Rom. 10:4; Gal. 4:4-5; Heb. 10:1

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Q21:  What is true faith?

 A21:  True faith is not only a sure knowledge, whereby I hold for truth all that God has revealed to us in His Word,[1] but also a hearty trust,[2] which the Holy Ghost [3] works in me by the Gospel,[4] that not only to others, but to me also, forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness, and salvation are freely given by God,[5] merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ's merits.[6]

1.  James 1:6

2.  Rom. 4:16-18; 5:1

3.  II Cor. 4:13; Phil. 1:19, 29

4.  Rom. 1:16; 10:17

5.  Heb. 11:1-2; Rom. 1:17

6.  Eph. 2:7-9; Rom. 3:24-25; Gal. 2:16; Acts 10:43

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Q26:  What do you believe when you say: "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth"?

 A26:  That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who of nothing made heaven and earth with all that in them is,[1] who likewise upholds and governs the same by His eternal counsel and providence,[2] is for the sake of Christ His Son, my God and my Father,[3] in whom I so trust as to have no doubt that He will provide me with all things necessary for body and soul;[4] and further, that whatever evil He sends upon me in this troubled life, He will turn to my good;[5] for He is able to do it, being Almighty God,[6] and willing also, being a faithful Father.[7]

1.  Gen. 1:31; Psa. 33:6; Col. 1:16; Heb. 11:3

2.  Psa. 104:2-5; 115:3; Matt. 10:30; Heb. 1:3; Acts 17:24-25

3.  John 1:12; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5-7; Eph. 1:5; 3:14-16; Matt. 6:8

4.  Psa. 55:22; 90:1-2; Matt. 6:25-26; Luke 12:22-24

5.  Rom. 8:28; Acts 17:27-28

6.  Rom. 10:12

7.  Matt. 7:9-11; Num. 23:19

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Q30:  Do those also believe in the only Savior Jesus, who seek their salvation and welfare from "saints," themselves, or anywhere else?

 A30:  No; although they make their boast of Him, yet in their deeds they deny the only Savior Jesus;[1] for either Jesus is not a complete Savior, or they who by true faith receive this Savior, must have in Him all that is necessary to their salvation.[2]

1.  I Cor. 1:13, 30-31; Gal. 5:4

2.  Isa. 9:7; Col. 1:20, 2:10; John 1:16; Matt. 23:28

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Q34:  Why do you call Him "our Lord"?

 A34:  Because not with silver or gold, but with His precious blood, He has redeemed and purchased us, body and soul, from sin and from all the power of the devil, to be His own.[1]

1.  I Peter 1:18-19; 2:9; I Cor. 6:20; 7:23; Acts 2:36; Titus 2:14; Col. 1:14

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Q36:  What benefit do you receive from the holy conception and birth of Christ?

 A36:  That He is our Mediator,[1] and with His innocence and perfect holiness covers, in the sight of God, my sin, wherein I was conceived.[2]

1.  Heb. 2:16-17

2.  Psa. 32:1; I John 1:9

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Q37:  What do you understand by the word "suffered"?

 A37:  That all the time He lived on earth, but especially at the end of His life, He bore, in body and soul, the wrath of God against the sin of the whole human race;[1] in order that by His suffering, as the only atoning sacrifice,[2] He might redeem our body and soul from everlasting damnation, and obtain for us the grace of God, righteousness and eternal life.

1.  I Peter 2:24; Isa. 53:12

2.  I John 2:2; 4:10; Rom. 3:25-26; 5:6; Psa. 22:14-16; Matt. 26:38

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Q38:  Why did He suffer "under Pontius Pilate" as judge?

 A38:  That He, being innocent, might be condemned by the temporal judge,[1] and thereby deliver us from the severe judgment of God, to which we were exposed.[2]

1.  Acts 4:27-28; Luke 23:13-15; John 19:4

2.  Psa. 69:4; II Cor. 5:21; Matt. 27:24

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Q39:  Is there anything more in His having been "crucified" than if He had suffered some other death?

 A39:  Yes, for thereby I am assured that He took upon Himself the curse which lay upon me,[1] because the death of the cross was accursed of God.[2]

1.  Gal. 3:13-14

2.  Deut. 21:22-23; Phil. 2:8

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Q42:  Since, then, Christ died for us, why must we also die?

 A42:  Our death is not a satisfaction for our sin, but only a dying to sin and an entering into eternal life.[1]

1.  John 5:24; Phil. 1:23; Rom. 7:24-25

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Q44:  Why is it added: "He descended into hell"?

 A44:  That in my greatest temptations I may be assured that Christ my Lord, by His inexpressible anguish, pains and terrors, which He suffered in His soul on the cross and before, has redeemed me from the anguish and torment of hell.[1]

1.  Isa. 53:10; Matt. 27:46; Psa. 18:5; 116:3

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Q45:  What benefit do we receive from the "resurrection" of Christ?

 A45:  First, by His resurrection He has overcome death, that He might make us partakers of the righteousness which He has obtained for us by His death.[1] Second, by His power we are also now raised up to a new life.[2] Third, the resurrection of Christ is to us a sure pledge of our blessed resurrection.[3]

1.  I Cor. 15:15, 17, 54-55; Rom. 4:25; I Peter 1:3-4, 21

2.  Rom. 6:4; Col. 3:1-4; Eph. 2:5

3.  I Cor. 15:12, 20-21; Rom. 8:11

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Q51:  What does this glory of Christ, our Head, profit us?

 A51:  First, that by His Holy Spirit He pours out heavenly gifts upon us, His members;[1] then, that by His power He defends and preserves us against all enemies.[2]

1.  Eph. 4:10-12

2.  Psa. 2:9; John 10:28-30; I Cor. 15:25-26; Act

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Q52:  What comfort is it to you that Christ "shall come to judge the living and the dead"?

 A52:  That in all my sorrows and persecutions, I, with uplifted head, look for the very One, who offered Himself for me to the judgment of God, and removed all curse from me, to come as Judge from heaven,[1] who shall cast all His and my enemies into everlasting condemnation,[2] but shall take me with all His chosen ones to Himself into heavenly joy and glory.[3]

1.  Luke 21:28; Rom. 8:23-24; Phil. 3:20-21; Titus 2:13

2.  II Thess. 1:6, 10; Matt. 25:41

3.  I Thess. 4:16-18; Acts 1:10-11; Heb. 9:28

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Q56:  What do you believe concerning the "forgiveness of sins"?

 A56:  That God, for the sake of Christ's satisfaction,[1] will no more remember my sins, nor the sinful nature with which I have to struggle all my life long;[2] but graciously imputes to me the righteousness of Christ, that I may nevermore come into condemnation.[3]

1.  I John 2:2

2.  II Cor. 5:19, 21; Rom. 7:24-25; 8:1-4; Psa. 103:3, 10, 12; Jer. 31:34

3.  John. 3:18; Eph. 1:7; Rom. 4:7-8; 7:18

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Q58:  What comfort do you receive from the article "life everlasting"?

 A58:  That, inasmuch as I now feel in my heart the beginning of eternal joy,[1] I shall after this life possess complete blessedness, such as eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man,[2] therein to praise God forever.[3]

1.  II Cor. 5:2-3

2.  I Cor. 2:9

3.  John 17:3; Rom. 8:23; I Peter 1:8

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Q60:  How are you righteous before God?

 A60:  Only by true faith in Jesus Christ:[1] that is, although my conscience accuses me, that I have grievously sinned against all the commandments of God, and have never kept any of them,[2] and am still prone always to all evil;[3] yet God, without any merit of mine,[4] of mere grace,[5] grants and imputes to me the perfect satisfaction,[6] righteousness and holiness of Christ,[7] as if I had never committed nor had any sins, and had myself accomplished all the obedience which Christ has fulfilled for me;[8] if only I accept such benefit with a believing heart.[9]

1.  Rom. 3:21-25; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8-9; Phil. 3:9

2.  Rom. 3:9-10

3.  Rom. 7:23

4.  Titus 3:5

5.  Rom. 3:24; Eph. 2:8

6.  I John 2:2

7.  I John 2:1; Rom. 4:4-5; II Cor. 5:19

8.  II Cor. 5:21

9.  John 3:18; Rom. 3:28; 10:10

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Q61:  Why do you say that you are righteous by faith only?

 A61:  Not that I am acceptable to God on account of the worthiness of my faith, but because only the satisfaction, righteousness and holiness of Christ is my righteousness before God;[1] and I can receive the same and make it my own in no other way than by faith only.[2]

1.  I Cor. 1:30; 2:2

2.  I John 5:10; Isa. 53:5; Gal. 3:22; Rom. 4:16

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Q62:  But why cannot our good works be the whole or part of our righteousness before God?

 A62:  Because the righteousness which can stand before the judgment seat of God must be perfect throughout and entirely conformable to the divine law,[1] but even our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin.[2]

1.  Gal. 3:10; Deut. 27:26

2.  Isa. 64:6; James 2:10; Phil. 3:12

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Q63:  Do our good works merit nothing, even though it is God's will to reward them in this life and in that which is to come?

 A63:  The reward comes not of merit, but of grace.[1]

1.  Luke 17:10; Rom. 11:6

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Q64:  But does not this doctrine make men careless and profane?

 A64:  No, for it is impossible that those who are implanted into Christ by true faith, should not bring forth fruits of thankfulness.[1]

1.  Matt. 7:18; Rom. 6:1-2; John 15:5

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Q81:  Who are to come to the table of the Lord?

 A81:  Those who are displeased with themselves for their sins, yet trust that these are forgiven them, and that their remaining infirmity is covered by the suffering and death of Christ; who also desire more and more to strengthen their faith and to amend their life. But the impenitent and hypocrites eat and drink judgment to themselves.[1]

1.  I Cor. 10:19-22; 11:28-29; Psa. 51:3; 103:1-4; John 7:37-38; Matt. 5:6

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Q113:  What does the tenth Commandment require?

 A113:  That not even the least inclination or thought against any commandment of God ever enter our heart, but that with our whole heart we continually hate all sin and take pleasure in all righteousness.[1]

1.  Rom. 7:7-8; Prov. 4:23; James 1:14-15; Matt. 15:11, 19-20

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Q114:  Can those who are converted to God keep these Commandments perfectly?

 A114:  No, but even the holiest men, while in this life, have only a small beginning of such obedience,[1] yet so that with earnest purpose they begin to live not only according to some, but according to all the Commandments of God.[2]

1.  I John 1:8-10; Rom. 7:14-15; Eccl. 7:20

2.  Rom. 7:22; James 2:10-11; Job 9:2-3; Psa. 19:13

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Q115:  Why then does God so strictly enjoin the Ten Commandments upon us, since in this life no one can keep them?

 A115:  First, that as long as we live we may learn more and more to know our sinful nature,[1] and so the more earnestly seek forgiveness of sins and righteousness in Christ;[2] second, that without ceasing we diligently ask God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, that we be renewed more and more after the image of God, until we attain the goal of perfection after this life.[3]

1.  I John 1:9; Psa. 32:5

2.  Rom. 7:24-25

3.  I Cor. 9:24-25; Phil. 3:12-14; Matt. 5:6; Psa. 51:12

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Q126:  What is the fifth petition?

 A126:  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; that is, be pleased, for the sake of Christ's blood, not to impute to us miserable sinners our manifold transgressions, nor the evil which always cleaves to us;[1] as we also find this witness of Thy grace in us, that it is our full purpose heartily to forgive our neighbor.[2]

1.  Psa. 51:1-4; 143:2; I John 2:1-2

2.  Matt. 6:14-15; Psa. 51:5-7; Eph. 1:7

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Q127:  What is the sixth petition?

 A127:  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; that is, since we are so weak in ourselves that we cannot stand a moment,[1] and besides, our deadly enemies, the devil,[2] the world,[3] and our own flesh, [4] assail us without ceasing, be pleased to preserve and strengthen us by the power of Thy Holy Spirit, that we may make firm stand against them and not be overcome in this spiritual warfare,[5] until finally complete victory is ours.[6]

1.  John 15:5; Psa. 103:14-16

2.  I Peter 5:8-9; Eph. 6:12-13

3.  John 15:19

4.  Rom. 7:23; Gal. 5:17

5.  Matt. 26:41; Mark 13:33

6.  I Thess. 3:13; 5:23-24; II Cor. 12:7