Westminster Confession of Faith
I. Our first parents, being seduced by the subtlety and temptation of Satan, sinned, in eating the forbidden fruit. This their sin, God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory.
1. Gen. 3:13; II Cor. 11:3
2. See Chapter V, Section IV
II. By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the parts and faculties of soul and body.
3. Gen. 3:6-8; Rom. 3:23
4. Gen. 2:17; Eph. 2:1-3; see Rom. 5:12
5. Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Titus 1:15; Rom. 3:10-19
III. They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed; and the same death in sin, and corrupted nature, conveyed to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation.
6. Acts. 17:26; Rom. 5:12, 15-19; I Cor. 15:21-22, 49
7. Psa. 51:5; John 3:6; Gen. 5:3; Job 15:14
IV. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.
8. Rom. 5:6; 7:18; 8:7; Col. 1:21
9. Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Rom. 3:10-12
10. Matt. 15:19; James 1:14-15; Eph. 2:2-3
VI. Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto, doth, in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and so made subject to death, with all miseries spiritual, temporal, and eternal.
13. I John 3:4
14. Rom. 2:15; 3:9, 19
15. Eph. 2:3
16. Gal. 3:10
17. Rom. 6:23
18. Eph. 4:18
19. Rom. 8:20; Lam. 3:39
20. Matt. 25:41; II Thess. 1:9
I. The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.
1. Isa. 40:13-17; Job 9:32-33; 22:2-3; 35:7-8; Psa. 113:5-6; Luke 17:10; Acts 17:24-25
II. The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam; and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.
2. Gen. 2:16-17; Hosea 6:7; Gal. 3:12
3. Gen. 3:22: Rom. 5:12-20; 10:5
4. Gen 2:17; Gal. 3:10
III. Man, by his fall, having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace; wherein he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life his Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe.
5. Gal. 3:21; Rom. 3:20-21; 8:3; Gen. 3:15; see Isa. 42:6
6. John 3:16; Rom. 10:6, 9; Rev. 22:17
7. Acts 13:48; Ezek. 36:26-27; John 6:37, 44-45; I Cor. 12:3
IV. This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in Scripture by the name of a testament, in reference to the death of Jesus Christ the Testator, and to the everlasting inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein bequeathed.
8. Heb. 9:15-17
V. This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the gospel: under the law, it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all foresignifying Christ to come; which were, for that time, sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called the old testament.
9. II Cor. 3:6-9
10. Heb. 8-10; Rom. 4:11; Col. 2:11-12; I Cor. 5:7
11. I Cor. 10:1-4; Heb. 11:13; John 8:56
12. Gal. 3:7-9, 14; Psa. 32:1-2, 5
IV. This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake; which that he might discharge, he was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfill it; endured most grievous torments immediately in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his body; was crucified, and died, was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption. On the third day he arose from the dead, with the same body in which he suffered, with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father, making intercession, and shall return, to judge men and angels, at the end of the world.
22. Psa. 40:7-8; see Heb. 10:5-10; John 4:34; 10:18; Phil. 2:8
23. Gal. 4:4
24. Matt. 3:15; 5:17; Heb. 5:8-9
25. Matt. 26:37-38; 27:46; Luke 22:44
26. Matt. 26:67-68; 27:27-50
27. Mark 15:24, 37; Phil. 2:8
28. Matt. 27:60; Acts 2:24, 27; 13:29, 37; Rom. 6:9
29. I Cor. 16:3-4
30. Luke 24:39; John 20:25, 27
31. Luke 24:50-51; I Peter 3:22
32. Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; see Heb. 9:24
33. Acts 1:11, 10:42; John 5:28-29; Rom. 14:10b; Matt. 13:40-42; Jude 1:6: see II Peter 2:4
V. The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience, and sacrifice of himself, which he, through the eternal Spirit, once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of his Father; and purchased, not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto him.
34. Rom. 3:25-26; 5:19; Heb. 9:14; 10:14; Eph. 5:2
35. Dan. 9:24; II Cor. 5:18; Col. 1:20; Eph. 1:11, 14; Heb. 9:12, 15; John 17:2
VI. Although the work of redemption was not actually wrought by Christ till after his incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefits thereof were communicated unto the elect, in all ages successively from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices, wherein he was revealed, and signified to be the seed of the woman which should bruise the serpent's head; and the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world; being yesterday and today the same, and forever.
36. Gal. 4:4-5; Gen. 3:15; I Cor. 10:4; Rev. 13:8; Heb. 9:15; 13:8; see Rom. 3:25
I. Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth: not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on him and his righteousness, by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.
1. Rom. 3:24; 5:15-16; 8:30
2. Rom. 3:22-28; 4:5-8; 5:17-19; II Cor. 5:19, 21; Titus 3:5, 7; Eph. 1:7; Jer. 23:6; I Cor. 1:30-31
3. John 1:12; 6:44-45, 65; Acts 10:43; 13:38-39; Phil. 1:29; 3:9; Eph. 2:7-8
II. Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification: yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.
4. John 3:18, 36; Rom. 3:28; 5:1
5. James 2:17, 22, 26; Gal. 5:6
III. Christ, by his obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus justified, and did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to his Father's justice in their behalf. Yet, inasmuch as he was given by the Father for them; and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead; and both, freely, not for anything in them; their justification is only of free grace; that both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.
6. Mark 10:45; Rom. 5:8-10, 18-19; Gal. 3:13; I Tim. 2:5-6; Heb. 1:3; 10:10, 14; Dan. 9:24, 26; see Isa. 52:13-53:12
7. Rom. 8:32; John 3:16
8. II Cor. 5:21; Eph. 5:2; Phil. 2:6-9; Isa. 53:10-11
9. Rom. 3:24; Eph. 1:7
10. Rom. 3:26; Eph. 2:7; Zech. 9:9; Isa. 45:21
IV. God did, from all eternity, decree to justify all the elect, and Christ did, in the fullness of time, die for their sins, and rise again for their justification: nevertheless, they are not justified, until the Holy Spirit doth, in due time, actually apply Christ unto them.
11. Rom. 8:29, 30; Gal. 3:8; I Peter 1:2, 19-20
12. Gal. 4:4; I Tim. 2:6; Rom. 4:25
13. Eph. 2:3; Titus 3:3-7; Gal. 2:16; cf. Col. 1:21-22
V. God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified; and, although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may, by their sins, fall under God's fatherly displeasure, and not have the light of his countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.
14. Matt. 6:12; I John 1:7, 9; 2:1-2
15. Rom. 5:1-5, 8:30-39; Heb. 10:14; cf. Luke 22:32; John 10:28
16. Psa. 32:5; ch. 51; 89:30-33; Matt. 26:75; Luke 1:20; I Cor. 11:30, 32
VI. The justification of believers under the old testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers under the new testament.
17. Gal. 3:9, 13-14; Rom. 4:6-8, 22-24; 10:6-13; Heb. 13:8
III. This faith is different in degrees, weak or strong; may be often and many ways assailed, and weakened, but gets the victory: growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance, through Christ, who is both the author and finisher of our faith.
10. Heb. 5:13-14; Rom. 4:19-20; 14:1-2; Matt. 6:30; 8:10
11. Luke 22:31-32; Eph. 6:16; I John 5:4-5
12. Heb. 6:11-12; 10:22; Col. 2:2
13. Heb. 12:2
IV. They who, in their obedience, attain to the greatest height which is possible in this life, are so far from being able to supererogate, and to do more than God requires, as that they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.
15. Luke 17:10; Neh. 13:22; Rom. 8:21-25; Gal. 5:17
V. We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin, or eternal life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come; and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom, by them, we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins, but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants: and because, as they are good, they proceed from his Spirit; and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God's judgment.
16. Rom. 3:20; 4:2, 4, 6; 8:18, 22-24; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7; Psa. 16:2; Job 22:2-3, 35:7-8
17. Luke 17:10
18. Rom. 8:13-14; Gal. 5:22-23
19. Isa. 64:6; Gal. 5:17; Rom. 7:15, 18; Psa. 130:3; 143:2
VI. Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable in God's sight; but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.
20. Eph. 1:6; I Peter 2:5; see Exod. 28:38; Gen. 4:4; Heb. 11:4
21. Job 9:20; Psa. 143:2; I John 1:8
22. Heb. 6:10; 13:20-21; II Cor. 8:12; Matt. 25:21, 23; I Cor. 3:14; 4:5
I. They, whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.
1. Phil. 1:6; II Peter 1:10; Rom. 8:28-30; John 10:28-29; I John 3:9; 5:18; I Peter 1:5, 9
II. This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ, the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God within them, and the nature of the covenant of grace: from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.
2. Psa. 89:3-4, 28-33; II Tim. 2:18-19; Jer. 31:3
3. Heb. 7:25; 9:12-15; 10:10, 14; 13:20-21; 17:11, 24; Rom. 8:33-39; Luke 22:32
4. John 14:16-17; I John 2:27; 3:9
5. Jer. 32:40; Psa. 89:34-37; see Jer. 31:31-34
6. John 6:38-40; 10:28; II Thess. 3:3; I John 2:19
III. Nevertheless, they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins; and, for a time, continue therein: whereby they incur God's displeasure, and grieve his Holy Spirit, come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts, have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves.
7. Exod. 32:21; Jonah 1:3, 10; Psa. 51:14; Matt. 26:70, 72, 74
8. II Sam. 12:9, 13; Gal. 2:11-14
9. Num. 20:12; II Sam. 11:27; Isa. 64:7, 9
10. Eph. 4:30
11. Psa. 51:8, 10, 12; Rev. 2:4; Matt. 26:75
12. Isa. 63:17
13. Psa. 32:3-4; 51:8
14. Gen. 12:10-20; II Sam. 12:14; Gal. 2:13
15. Psa. 89:31-32; I Cor. 11:32
I. God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works, by which he bound him and all his posterity to personal, entire, exact, and perpetual obedience, promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death upon the breach of it, and endued him with power and ability to keep it.
1. Gen. 1:26-27; 2:17; Eph. 4:24; Rom. 2:14-15; 5:12, 19; 10:5; Gal. 3:10, 12; Eccl. 7:29
II. This law, after his fall, continued to be a perfect rule of righteousness; and, as such, was delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments, and written in two tables: the first four commandments containing our duty towards God; and the other six, our duty to man.
2. James 1:25; 2:8, 10-12; Rom. 3:19; 13:8-9; Deut. 5:32; 10:4; Exod. 34:1
3. Exod. 30:3-17; Matt. 22:37-40
III. Beside this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly, holding forth divers instructions of moral duties. All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated, under the new testament.
4. Heb. 10:1; Gal. 4:1-3; Col. 2:17; Heb. 9:1-28
5. Lev. 19:9-10, 19, 23, 27; Deut. 24:19-21; see I Cor. 5:7; II Cor. 6:17; Jude 1:23
6. Col. 2:14, 16-17; Dan. 9:27; Eph. 2:15-16; Heb. 9:10; Acts 10:9-16; 11:2-10
VI. Although true believers be not under the law, as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified, or condemned; yet is it of great use to them, as well as to others; in that, as a rule of life informing them of the will of God, and their duty, it directs and binds them to walk accordingly; discovering also the sinful pollutions of their nature, hearts, and lives; so as, examining themselves thereby, they may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and hatred against sin, together with a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ, and the perfection of his obedience. It is likewise of use to the regenerate, to restrain their corruptions, in that it forbids sin: and the threatenings of it serve to show what even their sins deserve; and what afflictions, in this life, they may expect for them, although freed from the curse thereof threatened in the law. The promises of it, in like manner, show them God's approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof: although not as due to them by the law as a covenant of works. So as, a man's doing good, and refraining from evil, because the law encourageth to the one, and deterreth from the other, is no evidence of his being under the law; and, not under grace.
11. Rom. 6:14; 7:4; 8:1, 33; Gal. 2:16; 3:13; 4:4-5; Acts 13:38-39
12. Rom. 7:12, 22, 25; Psa. 119:1-6; I Cor. 7:19; Gal. 5:14-23
13. Rom. 3:20; 7:7, 13
14. James 1:23-25; Rom. 7:9, 14, 24
15. Gal. 3:24; Rom. 7:24-25; 8:3-4
16. James 2:11-12; Psa. 119:101, 104, 128
17. Ezra 9:13-14; Psa. 89:30-34; Gal. 3:13
18. Exod. 19:5-6; Deut. 5:33; Lev. 18:5; 26:1-13; Matt. 5:5; 19:17; II Cor. 6:16; Eph. 6:2-3; Psa. 19:11; 37:11
19. Gal. 2:16; Luke 17:10
20. Rom. 6:12-15; cf. I Peter 3:8-12 with Psa. 34:12-16; Heb. 12:28-29
VII. Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of the gospel, but do sweetly comply with it; the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely, and cheerfully, which the will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done.
21. Rom. 3:31; Gal. 3:21; Titus 2:11-14
22. Ezek. 36:27; Heb. 8:10 with Jer. 31:33; Psa. 119:35, 47; Rom. 7:22
I. The liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the curse of the moral law; and, in their being delivered from this present evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin; from the evil of afflictions, the sting of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation; as also, in their free access to God, and their yielding obedience unto him, not out of slavish fear, but a childlike love and willing mind. All which were common also to believers under the law. But, under the new testament, the liberty of Christians is further enlarged, in their freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law, to which the Jewish church was subjected; and in greater boldness of access to the throne of grace, and in fuller communications of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of.
1. Titus 2:14; I Thess. 1:10; Gal. 3:13
2. Gal. 1:4; Col. 1:13; Acts 26:18; Rom. 6:14
3. Rom. 8:28; Psa. 119:71; II Cor. 4:15-18; I Cor. 15:54-57; Rom. 5:9; 8:1; I Thess. 1:10
4. Rom. 5:1-2
5. Rom. 8:14-15; Gal. 4:6; I John 4:18
6. Gal. 3:8-9, 14; Rom. 4:6-8; I Cor. 10:3-4; Heb. 11:1-40
7. Gal. 4:1-7; 5:1; Acts 15:10-11
8. Heb. 4:14-16; 10:19-22
9. John 7:38-39; Acts 2:17-18; II Cor. 3:8, 13, 17-18; Jer. 31:31-34
II. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in anything, contrary to his Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship. So that, to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands, out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience: and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.
10. James 4:12; Rom. 14:4, 10; I Cor. 10:29
11. Acts 4:19, 5:29; I Cor. 7:22-23; Matt. 15:1-6, 9; 23:8-10; II Cor. 1:24
12. Col. 2:20-23; Gal. 1:10; 2:4-5; 4:9-10; 5:1
13. Rom. 10:17; Isa. 8:20; Acts 17:11; John 4:22; Rev. 13:12, 16-17; Jer. 8:9; I Peter 3:15
III. They who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, do practice any sin, or cherish any lust, do thereby destroy the end of Christian liberty, which is, that being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
14. Gal. 5:13; I Peter 2:16; II Peter 2:19; Rom. 6:15; John 8:34; Luke 1:74-75
IV. And because the powers which God hath ordained, and the liberty which Christ hath purchased, are not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another, they who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God. And, for their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of nature, or to the known principles of Christianity (whether concerning faith, worship, or conversation), or to the power of godliness; or, such erroneous opinions or practices, as either in their own nature, or in the manner of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace and order which Christ hath established in the church, they may lawfully be called to account, and proceeded against, by the censures of the church. [and by the power of the civil magistrate.]
15. I Peter 2:13-14, 16; Rom. 13:1-8; Heb. 13:17; I Thess. 5:12-13
16. Rom. 1:32; 16:17; I Cor. 5:1, 5, 11-13; II John 1:10-11; II Thess. 3:6, 14; I Tim. 1:19-20; 6:3-4; Titus 1:10-11, 13-14; 3:10; Matt. 18:15-17; Rev. 2:2, 14-15, 20
Q30: Doth God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A30: God doth not leave all men to perish in the estate of sin and misery, into which they fell by the breach of the first covenant, commonly called the Covenant of Works; but of his mere love and mercy delivereth his elect out of it, and bringeth them into an estate of salvation by the second covenant, commonly called the Covenant of Grace.
1. I Thess. 5:9
2. Gal. 3:10, 12
3. Titus 3:4-7; Gal. 3:21; Rom. 3:20-22
Q31: With whom was the covenant of grace made?
A31: The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.
1. Gal. 3:16; Rom. 5:15-21; Isa. 53:10-11
Q32: How is the grace of God manifested in the second covenant?
A32: The grace of God is manifested in the second covenant, in that he freely provideth and offereth to sinners a Mediator, and life and salvation by him; and requiring faith as the condition to interest them in him, promiseth and giveth his Holy Spirit  to all his elect, to work in them that faith, with all other saving graces; and to enable them unto all holy obedience, as the evidence of the truth of their faith  and thankfulness to God, and as the way which he hath appointed them to salvation.
1. Gen. 3:15; Isa. 42:6; John 6:27
2. I John 5:11-12
3. John 1:12; 3:16
4. Prov. 1:23
5. II Cor. 4:13
6. Gal. 5:22-23
7. Ezek. 36:27
8. James 2:18, 22
9. II Cor. 5:14-15
10. Eph. 2:18
Q33: Was the covenant of grace always administered after one and the same manner?
A33: The covenant of grace was not always administered after the same manner, but the administrations of it under the Old Testament were different from those under the New.
1. II Cor. 3:6-9
Q34: How was the covenant of grace administered under the Old Testament?
A34: The covenant of grace was administered under the Old Testament, by promises, prophecies,  sacrifices, circumcision, the passover, and other types and ordinances, which did all foresignify Christ then to come, and were for that time sufficient to build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they then had full remission of sin, and eternal salvation.
1. Rom. 15:8
2. Acts 3:20, 24
3. Heb. 10:1
4. Rom. 4:11
5. I Cor. 5:7
6. Heb. ch. 8-10; 11:13
7. Gal. 3:7-9, 14
Q35: How is the covenant of grace administered under the New Testament?
A35: Under the New Testament, when Christ the substance was exhibited, the same covenant of grace was and still is to be administered in the preaching of the word, and the administration of the sacraments of Baptism  and the Lord's Supper; in which grace and salvation are held forth in more fulness, evidence, and efficacy, to all nations.
1. Mark 16:15
2. Matt. 28:19-20
3. I Cor. 11:23-25
4. II Cor. 3:6-9; Heb. 8:6, 10-11; Matt. 28:19
Q52: How was Christ exalted in his resurrection?
A52: Christ was exalted in his resurrection, in that, not having seen corruption in death (of which it was not possible for him to be held), and having the very same body in which he suffered, with the essential properties thereof  (but without mortality, and other common infirmities belonging to this life), really united to his soul, he rose again from the dead the third day by his own power; whereby he declared himself to be the Son of God, to have satisfied divine justice, to have vanquished death, and him that had the power of it, and to be Lord of quick and dead: all which he did as a public person, the head of his church, for their justification, quickening in grace, support against enemies, and to assure them of their resurrection from the dead at the last day.
1. Acts 2:24, 27
2. Luke 14:39
3. Rom. 6:9; Rev. 1:18
4. John 10:18
5. Rom. 1:4
6. Rom. 8:34
7. Heb. 2:14
8. Rom. 14:9
9. I Cor. 15:21-22
10. Eph. 1:20, 22-23; Col. 1:18
11. Rom. 4:25
12. Eph. 2:1, 5-6; Col. 2:12
13. I Cor. 15:25-27
14. I Cor. 15:20
Q70: What is justification?
A70: Justification is an act of God's free grace unto sinners, in which he pardoneth all their sins, accepteth and accounteth their persons righteous in his sight; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ, by God imputed to them, and received by faith alone.
1. Rom. 3:22, 24-25; 4;5
2. II Cor. 5:19, 21; Rom. 3:22-25, 27-28
3. Titus 3:5, 7; Eph. 1:7
4. Rom. 4:6-8; 5:17-19
5. Acts 10:43; Gal. 2:16; Phil. 3:9
Q71: How is justification an act of God's free grace?
A71: Although Christ, by his obedience and death, did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God's justice in the behalf of them that are justified; yet inasmuch as God accepteth the satisfaction from a surety, which he might have demanded of them, and did provide this surety, his own only Son, imputing his righteousness to them, and requiring nothing of them for their justification but faith, which also is his gift, their justification is to them of free grace.
1. Rom. 5:8-10, 19
2. II Tim. 2:5-6; Heb. 7:22; 10:10; Matt. 20:28; Dan. 9:24, 26; Isa. 53:4-6, 10-12; Rom. 8:32; I Peter 1:18-19
3. II Cor. 5:21
4. Rom. 3:24-25
5. Eph. 2:8
6. Eph. 1:7
Q73: How doth faith justify a sinner in the sight of God?
A73: Faith justifies a sinner in the sight of God, not because of those other graces which do always accompany it, or of good works that are the fruits of it, nor as if the grace of faith, or any act thereof, were imputed to him for his justification; but only as it is an instrument by which he receiveth and applies Christ and his righteousness.
1. Gal. 3:11; Rom. 3:28
2. Rom. 4:5; 10:10
3. John 1:12; Phil. 3:9; Gal. 2:16
Q77: Wherein do justification and sanctification differ?
A77: Although sanctification be inseparably joined with justification, yet they differ, in that God in justification imputeth the righteousness of Christ; in sanctification his Spirit infuseth grace, and enableth to the exercise thereof; in the former, sin is pardoned; in the other, it is subdued: the one doth equally free all believers from the revenging wrath of God, and that perfectly in this life, that they never fall into condemnation; the other is neither equal in all, nor in this life perfect in any, but growing up to perfection.
1. I Cor. 1:30; 6:11
2. Rom. 4:6, 8
3. Ezek. 36:27
4. Rom. 3:24-25
5. Rom. 6:6, 14
6. Rom. 8:33-34
7. I John 2:12-14; Heb. 5:12-14
8. I John 1:8, 10
9. II Cor. 7:1; Phil 3:12-14
Q78: Whence ariseth the imperfection of sanctification in believers?
A78: The imperfection of sanctification in believers ariseth from the remnants of sin abiding in every part of them, and the perpetual lustings of the flesh against the spirit; whereby they are often foiled with temptations, and fall into many sins, are hindered in all their spiritual services, and their best works are imperfect and defiled in the sight of God.
1. Rom. 7:18, 23; Mark 14:66-72 ; Gal. 2:11-12
2. Heb. 12:1
3. Isa. 64:6; Exod. 28:88
Q91: What is the duty which God requireth of man?
A91: The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed will.
1. Rom. 12:1-2; Micah 6:8; I Sam. 15:22
Q92: What did God at first reveal unto man as the rule of his obedience?
A92: The rule of obedience revealed to Adam in the estate of innocence, and to all mankind in him, besides a special command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was the moral law.
1. Gen. 1:26-27; 2:17; Rom. 2:14-15; 10:5
Q93: What is the moral law?
A93: The moral law is the declaration of the will of God to mankind, directing and binding everyone to personal, perfect, and perpetual conformity and obedience thereunto, in the frame and disposition of the whole man, soul and body, and in performance of all those duties of holiness and righteousness which he oweth to God and man: promising life upon the fulfilling, and threatening death upon the breach of it.
1. Deut. 5:1-3, 31, 33; Luke 10:26-27; Gal. 3:10; I Thess. 5:23
2. Luke 1:75; Acts 14:16
3. Rom. 10:5; Gal. 3:10, 12
Q94: Is there any use of the moral law to man since the fall?
A94: Although no man, since the fall, can attain to righteousness and life by the moral law; yet there is great use thereof, as well common to all men, as peculiar either to the unregenerate, or the regenerate.
1. Rom. 8:3; Gal. 2:16
2. I Tim. 1:8
Q98: Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?
A98: The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments, which were delivered by the voice of God upon mount Sinai, and written by him in two tables of stone; and are recorded in the twentieth chapter of Exodus. The four first commandments containing our duty to God, and the other six our duty to man.
1. Deut. 10:4; Exod. 34:1-4
2. Matt. 22:37-38, 40
Q149: Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
A149: No man is able, either of himself, or by any grace received in this life, perfectly to keep the commandments of God; but doth daily break them in thought, word, and deed.
1. James 3:2; John 15:5; Rom. 8:3
2. Eccl. 7:20; I John 1:8, 10; Gal. 5:17; Rom. 7:18-19
3. Gen. 6:5, 8:21
4. Rom. 3:9-19; James 3:2-13
Q152: What doth every sin deserve at the hands of God?
A152: Every sin, even the least, being against the sovereignty, goodness, and holiness of God, and against his righteous law, deserveth his wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come; and cannot be expiated but by the blood of Christ.
1. James 2:10-11
2. Exod. 20:1-2
3. Hab. 1:13; Lev. 10:3; 11:44-45
4. I John 3:4; Rom. 7:12
5. Eph. 5:6; Gal. 3:10
6. Lam. 3:39; Deut. 28:15-68
7. Matt. 25:41
8. Heb. 9:22; I Peter 1:18-19
Q153: What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us by reason of the transgression of the law?
A153: That we may escape the wrath and curse of God due to us by reason of the transgression of the law, he requireth of us repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, and the diligent use of the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation.
1. Acts 16:30-31; 20:21; Matt. 3:7-8; Luke 13:3, 5; John 3:16, 18
2. Prov. 2:1-5; 8:33-36
Q13: Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?
A13: Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate wherein they were created, by sinning against God.
1. Eccl. 7:29
Q14: What is sin?
A14: Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.
1. I John 3:4
Q15: What was the sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created?
A15: The sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created, was their eating the forbidden fruit.
1. Gen. 3:6-8
Q16: Did all mankind fall in Adam's first transgression?
A16: The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity; all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression.
1. Gen. 1:28; 2:16-17
2. Rom. 5:18
Q17: Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
A17: The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.
1. Rom. 5:12
Q18: Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
A18: The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consists in the guilt of Adam's first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called Original Sin; together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it.
1. Rom. 5:19
2. Rom. 3:10
3. Eph. 2:1; Psa. 51:5
4. Matt. 15:19-20
Q19: What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?
A19: All mankind by their fall lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever.
1. Gen. 3:8, 24
2. Eph. 2:3; Gal. 3:10
3. Rom. 6:23; Matt. 25:41
Q20: Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
A20: God having, out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life, did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer.
1. Eph. 1:4
2. Rom. 3:21-22
Q82: Is any man able perfectly to keep the commandments of God?
A82: No mere man since the fall is able in this life perfectly to keep the commandments of God, but doth daily break them in thought, word, and deed.
1. Eccl. 7:20
2. Gen. 8:21
3. James 3:8
4. James 3:2
Q83: Are all transgression of the law equally heinous?
A83: Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.
1. John 19:11
Q84: What doth every sin deserve?
A84: Every sin deserveth God's wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.
1. Gal. 3:10; Matt. 25:41
Q85: What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us for sin?
A85: To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption.
1. Acts 20:21
2. Prov. 2:1-5
Q86: What is faith in Jesus Christ?
A86: Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive  and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.
1. Heb. 10:39
2. John 1:12
3. Phil. 3:9
4. Isa. 33:22
XVIII. We believe that all our justification rests upon the remission of our sins, in which also is our only blessedness, as says David (Psa. 32:2). We therefore reject all other means of justification before God, and without claiming any virtue or merit, we rest simply in the obedience of Jesus Christ, which is imputed to us as much to blot out all our sins as to make us find grace and favor in the sight of God. And, in fact, we believe that in falling away from this foundation, however slightly, we could not find rest elsewhere, but should always be troubled. For as much as we are never at peace with God till we resolve to be loved in Jesus Christ, for of ourselves we are worthy of hatred.
1. John 17:23; Rom. 4:7-8; 8:1-3; II Cor. 5:19-20
2. I Tim. 2:5; I John 2:1; Rom. 5:19; Acts 4:12
XXII. We believe that by this faith we are regenerated in newness of life, being by nature subject to sin. Now we receive by faith grace to live holily and in the fear of God, in accepting the promise which is given to us by the Gospel, namely: that God will give us his Holy Spirit. This faith not only does not hinder us from holy living, or turn us from the love of righteousness, but of necessity begets in us all good works. Moreover, although God works in us for our salvation, and renews our hearts, determining us to that which is good, yet we confess that the good works which we do proceed from his Spirit, and can not be accounted to us for justification, neither do they entitle us to the adoption of sons, for we should always be doubting and restless in our hearts, if we did not rest upon the atonement by which Jesus Christ has acquitted us.
1. Rom. 6:1-2; 7:1-2; Col. 1:13; 3:10; I Peter 1:3
2. James ch. 2; Gal. 5:6; I John 2:3-4; 5:18
3. Deut. 30:6; John 3:5
4. Luke 17:10; Psa. 16:2; Rom. ch. 3-4; Titus 3:5
Chapter XII How Far the Law Is Abrogated. The law of God is therefore abrogated to the extent that it no longer condemns us, nor works wrath in us. For we are under grace and not under the law. Moreover, Christ has fulfilled all the figures of the law. Hence, with the coming of the body, the shadows ceased, so that in Christ we now have the truth and all fulness. But yet we do not on that account contemptuously reject the law. For we remember the words of the Lord when he said: I have not come to abolish the law and the prophets but to fulfill them (Matt. 5:17). We know that in the law is delivered to us the patterns of virtues and vices. We know that the written law when explained by the Gospel is useful to the Church, and that therefore its reading is not to be banished from the Church. For although Moses' face was covered with a veil, yet the apostle says that the veil has been taken away and abolished by Christ.
The Ancients Had Evangelical Promises. The Gospel, is indeed, opposed to the law. For the law works wrath and announces a curse, whereas the Gospel preaches grace and blessing. John says: For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17). Yet not withstanding it is most certain that those who were before the law and under the law, were not altogether desititute of the Gospel. For they had extraordinary evangelical promises such as these are: The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head (Gen. 3:15). In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed (Gen. 22:18). The scepter shall not depart from Judah . . . until he comes (Gen. 49:10). The Lord will raise up a prophet from among his own brethren (Deut. 18:15; Acts 3:22), etc.
The Promises Twofold. And we acknowledge that two kinds of promises were revealed to the fathers, as also to us. For some were of present or earthly things, such as the promises of the Land of Canaan and of victories, and as the promise today still of daily bread. Others were then and are still now of heavenly and eternal things, namely, divine grace, remission of sins, and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.
The Fathers Also Had Not Only Carnal but Spiritual Promises. Moreover, the ancients had not only external and earthly but also spiritual and heavenly promises in Christ. Peter says: The prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired about this salvation (I Peter 1:10). Wherefore the apostle Paul also said: The Gospel of God was promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures (Rom. 1:2). Thereby it is clear that the ancients were not entirely destitute of the whole Gospel.
What Is the Gospel Properly Speaking? And although our fathers had the Gospel in this way in the writings of the prophets by which they attained salvation in Christ through faith, yet the Gospel is properly called glad and joyous news, in which, first by John the Baptist, then by Christ the Lord himself, and afterwards by the apostles and their successors, is preached to us in the world that God has now performed what he promised from the beginning of the world, and has sent, nay more, has given us his only Son and in him reconciliation with the Father, the remission of sins, all fulness and everlasting life. Therefore, the history delineated by the four Evangelists and explaining how these things were done or fulfilled by Christ, what things Christ taught and did, and that those who believe in him have all fulness, is rightly called the Gospel. The preaching and writings of the apostles, in which the apostles explain for us how the Son was given to us by the Father, and in him everything that has to do with life and salvation, is also rightly called evangelical doctrine, so that not even today, if sincerely preached, does it lose its illustrious title.
Of the Spirit and the Letter. That same preaching of the Gospel is also called by the apostle the spirit and the ministry of the spirit because by faith it becomes effectual and living in the ears, nay more, in the hearts of believers through the illumination of the Holy Spirit (II Cor. 3:6). For the letter, which is opposed to the Spirit, signifies everything external, but especially the doctrine of the law which, without the Spirit and faith, works wrath and provokes sin in the minds of those who do not have a living faith. For this reason the apostle calls it the ministry of death. In this connection the saying of the apostle is pertinent: The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. And false apostles preached a corrupted Gospel, having combined it with the law, as if Christ could not save without the law.
The Sects. Such were the Ebionites said to be, who were descended from Ebion the heretic, and the Nazarites who were formerly called Mineans. All these we condemn, while preaching the pure Gospel and teaching that believers are justified by the Spirit alone, and not by the law. A more detailed exposition of this matter will follow presently under the heading of justification.
The Teaching of the Gospel Is Not New, but Most Ancient Doctrine. And although the teaching of the Gospel, compared with the teaching of the Pharisees concerning the law, seemed to be a new doctrine when first preached by Christ (which Jeremiah also prophesied concerning the New Testament), yet actually it not only was and still is an old doctrine (even if today it is called new by the Papists when compared with the teaching now received among them), but is the most ancient of all in the world. For God predestinated from eternity to save the world through Christ, and he has disclosed to the world through the Gospel this his predestination and eternal counsel (II Tim. 2:9 f.). Hence it is evident that the religion and teaching of the Gospel among all who ever were, are and will be, is the most ancient of all. Wherefore we assert that all who say that the religion and teaching of the Gospel is a faith which has recently arisen, being scarcely thirty years old, err disgracefully and speak shamefully of the eternal counsel of God. To them applies the saying of Isaiah the prophet: Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isa. 5:20).
What Is Justification? According to the apostle in his treatment of justification, to justify means to remit sins, to absolve from guilt and punishment, to receive into favor, and to pronounce a man just. For in his epistle to the Romans the apostle says: It is God who justifies; who is to condemn? (Rom. 8:33). To justify and to condemn are opposed. And in The Acts of the Apostles the apostle states: Through Christ forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone that believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses (Acts 13:38 f.). For in the Law and also in the Prophets we read: If there is a dispute between men, and they come into court . . . the judges decide between them, acquitting the innocent and condemning the guilty (Deut. 25:1). And in Isa., ch. 5: Woe to those . . . who acquit the guilty for a bribe.
We Are Justified on Account of Christ. Now it is most certain that all of us are by nature sinners and godless, and before God's judgment-seat are convicted of godlessness and are guilty of death, but that, solely by the grace of Christ and not from any merit of ours or consideration for us, we are justified, that is, absolved from sin and death by God the Judge. For what is clearer than what Paul said: Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:23 f.).
Imputed Righteousness. For Christ took upon himself and bore the sins of the world, and satisfied divine justice. Therefore, solely on account of Christ's sufferings and resurrection God is propitious with respect to our sins and does not impute them to us, but imputes Christ's righteousness to us as our own (II Cor. 5:19 ff.; Rom. 4:25), so that now we are not only cleansed and purged from sins or are holy, but also, granted the righteousness of Christ, and so absolved from sin, death and condemnation, are at last righteous and heirs of eternal life. Properly speaking, therefore, God alone justifies us, and justifies only on account of Christ, not imputing sins to us but imputing his righteousness to us.
We Are Justified by Faith Alone. But because we receive this justification, not through any works, but through faith in the mercy of God and in Christ, we therefore teach and believe with the apostle that sinful man is justified by faith alone in Christ, not by the law or any works. For the apostle says: We hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law (Rom. 3:28). Also: If Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. . . . And to one who does not work but believes in him who justified the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness (Rom. 4:2 ff.; Gen. 15:6). And again: By grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God - not because of works, lest any man should boast, etc. (Eph. 2:8 f.). Therefore, because faith receives Christ our righteousness and attributes everything to the grace of God in Christ, on that account justification is attributed to faith, chiefly because of Christ and not therefore because it is our work. For it is the gift of God.
We Receive Christ By Faith. Moreover, the Lord abundantly shows that we receive Christ by faith, in John, ch. 6, where he puts eating for believing, and believing for eating. For as we receive food by eating, so we participate in Christ by believing. Therefore, we do not share in the benefit of justification partly because of the grace of God or Christ, and partly because of ourselves, our love, works or merit, but we attribute it wholly to the grace of God in Christ through faith. For our love and our works could not please God if performed by unrighteous men. Therefore, it is necessary for us to be righteous before we may love and do good works. We are made truly righteous, as we have said, by faith in Christ purely by the grace of God, who does not impute to us our sins, but the righteousness of Christ, or rather, he imputes faith in Christ to us for righteousness. Moreover, the apostle very clearly derives love from faith when he says: The aim of our command is love that issues from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith (I Tim. 1:5).
James Compared with Paul. Wherefore, in this matter we are not speaking of a fictitious, empty, lazy and dead faith, but of a living, quickening faith. It is and is called a living faith because it apprehends Christ who is life and makes alive, and shows that it is alive by living works. And so James does not contradict anything in this doctrine of ours. For he speaks of an empty, dead faith of which some boasted but who did not have Christ living in them by faith (James 2:14 ff.). James said that works justify, yet without contradicting the apostle (otherwise he would have to be rejected) but showing that Abraham proved his living and justifying faith by works. This all the pious do, but they trust in Christ alone and not in their own works. For again the apostle said: It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not reject the grace of God; for if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose, etc. (Gal. 2:20 f.).
1. The Latin reads: "by the faith of the Son of God."
XV. That Jesus Christ having made a full expiation for our sins by his most perfect sacrifice once offered on the cross, it neither can nor ought to be repeated upon any pretext whatsoever, as they pretend to do in the mass.
XVI. That the Lord Jesus having fully reconciled us unto God, through the blood of his cross, it is by virtue of his merits only, and not of our works, that we are absolved and justified in his sight.
XVII. That we are united to Jesus Christ and made partakers of his benefits by faith, which rests upon those promises of life which are made to us in his gospel.
XVIII. That this faith is the gracious and efficacious work of the Holy Spirit, who enlightens our souls, and persuades them to lean and rest upon the mercy of God, and so to apply the merits of Jesus Christ.
XIX. That Jesus Christ is our true and only Mediator, not only redeeming us, but also interceding for us, and that by virtue of his merits and intercession we have access unto the Father, to make our supplications unto him, with a holy confidence that he will grant our requests, it being needless to have recourse to any other intercessor besides himself.
XXI. That good works are so necessary to the faithful that they can not attain the kingdom of heaven without the same, seeing that God has prepared them that we should walk therein; and there fore we ought to flee from vice, and apply ourselves to Christian virtues, making use of fasting, and all other means which may conduce to so holy a thing.
XXII. That, although our good works can not merit any thing, yet the Lord will reward or recompense them with eternal life, through the merciful continuation of his grace, and by virtue of the unchangeable constancy of his promises made unto us.
XXIII. That those who are already in the possession of eternal life in consequence of their faith and good works ought to be considered as saints and glorified persons, and to be praised for their virtue and imitated in all good actions of their life, but neither worshipped nor invoked, for God only is to be prayed unto, and that through Jesus Christ
Additions to this Confession.
Brief justification concerning the points or articles of faith which the doctors of Rome impute to us and to all the Reformed Churches. They accuse us of believing the following articles:
1. That God is the author of sin;
2. That God is not omnipotent;
3. That Jesus Christ fell into despair upon the cross;
4. That man, in the work of salvation, where he is moved by the Spirit of God, is no more active than a log or a stone.
5. That, according to our notion on the subject of predestination, it is of no consequence whether we do good or evil;
6. That good works are not necessary to salvation;
7. That we entirely reject confession of sins and repentance;
8. That fasting and other mortifications of the flesh must be rejected, in order to lead a dissolute life;
9. That any one may explain the Holy Scriptures as he pleases, and according to the fanciful suggestions of his own mind;
10. That the Church can entirely fail and be destroyed;
11. That baptism is not necessary;
12. That in the sacrament of the eucharist we have no communion with Christ in fact, but in a figure only;
13. That obedience is not due to magistrates, kings, princes, etc.
14. That we despise, because we do not invoke, the most holy Virgin and glorified saints; while in fact we pronounce them blessed and worthy both of praise and imitation, and hold above all the holy Virgin Mary to be blessed amongst women.
All these articles maliciously imputed to us, far from believing or teaching them, we hold to be heretical and damnable, and we denounce from all our heart every one who would maintain them.