Belgic Confession, week 13

September 28, 2016

Article 20: The Justice and Mercy of God in Christ

We believe that God– who is perfectly merciful and also very just– sent his Son to assume the nature in which the disobedience had been committed, in order to bear in it the punishment of sin by his most bitter passion and death. So God made known his justice toward his Son, who was charged with our sin, and he poured out his goodness and mercy on us, who are guilty and worthy of damnation, giving to us his Son to die, by a most perfect love, and raising him to life for our justification, in order that by him we might have immortality and eternal life.

Article 21: The Atonement

We believe that Jesus Christ is a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek– made such by an oath– and that he presented himself in our name before his Father, to appease his wrath with full satisfaction by offering himself on the tree of the cross and pouring out his precious blood for the cleansing of our sins, as the prophets had predicted. For it is written that “the chastisement of our peace” was placed on the Son of God and that “we are healed by his wounds.” He was “led to death as a lamb”; he was “numbered among sinners”[45] and condemned as a criminal by Pontius Pilate, though Pilate had declared that he was innocent. So he paid back what he had not stolen,[46] and he suffered– the “just for the unjust,”[47] in both his body and his soul– in such a way that when he senses the horrible punishment required by our sins his sweat became like “big drops of blood falling on the ground.”[48] He cried, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”[49] And he endured all this for the forgiveness of our sins. Therefore we rightly say with Paul that we “know nothing but Jesus and him crucified”;[50] we consider all things as “dung for the excellence of the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”[51] We find all comforts in his wounds and have no need to seek or invent any other means to reconcile ourselves with God than this one and only sacrifice, once made, which renders believers perfect forever. This is also why the angel of God called him Jesus– that is, “Savior”– because he would save his people from their sins.[52]

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