The Belgic Confession

Articles 1-11

Article 1: There is Only One God

We all believe with the heart and confess with the mouth[1] that there is one only[2] simple and spiritual Being[3], which we call God; and that He is eternal[4], incomprehensible[5], invisible[6], immutable[7], infinite[8], almighty[9], perfectly wise[10], just[11], good[12], and the overflowing fountain of all good[13].

[1] Rom. 10:10 [2] Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:4,6; 1 Tim. 2:5 [3] Jn. 4:24 [4] Ps. 90:2 [5] Rom. 11:33 [6] Col. 1:15; 1Tim 6:16 [7] Jas 1:17 [8] 1 Kings 8:27; Jer. 23:24 [9] Gen. 17:1; Mt. 19:26; Rev. 1:8 [10] Rom. 16:27 [11] Rom. 3:25,26; Rom. 9:14; Rev. 16:5,7 [12] Mt. 19:17 [13] Jas. 1:17.

Article 2: By What Means God Is Known Unto Us

We know Him by two means: First, by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe; which is before our eyes as a most beautiful book,[1] wherein all creatures, great and small, are as so many letters leading us to see clearly the invisible things of God, even His everlasting power and divinity, as the apostle Paul says (Rom. 1:20). All which  things are sufficient to convict men and leave them without excuse. Second, He makes Himself more clearly and fully known to us by His holy and divine Word[2] as far as is necessary for us in this life, to His glory and our salvation.

 [1] Ps. 19:1-4. [2] Ps. 19:7,8; 1 Cor. 1:18-21.

Article 3: The Written Word of God

We confess that this Word of God was not sent nor delivered by the will of man, but that men spoke from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit, as the apostle Peter says (2 Pet. 1:21). And that afterwards God, from a special care which He has for us and our salvation, commanded His servants, the prophets and apostles, to commit His revealed word to writing[1]; and He Himself wrote with His own finger the two tables of the law.[2] Therefore we call such writings holy and divine Scriptures.[3]

[1] Ex. 34:27; Ps. 102:18; Rev. 1:11, 19. [2] Ex. 31:18. [3] 2 Tim. 3:16.

Article 4: Canonical Books of the Holy Scripture

We believe that the Holy Scriptures are contained in two books, namely, the Old and the New Testament, which are canonical, against which nothing can be alleged. These are thus named in the Church of God.

The books of the Old Testament are the five books of Moses, to wit: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; the book of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, the two books of Samuel, the two books of Kings, the two books of Chronicles. commonly called Paralipomenon, the first book of Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther; Job, the Psalms of David, the books of Solomon, namely, the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs; the four great prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel; and the twelve lesser prophets, namely, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zepheniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

Those of the New Testament are the four evangelists, to wit: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; the Acts of the Apostles; the fourteen epistles of the apostle Paul, namely, one to the Romans, two to the Corinthians, one to the Galatians, one to the Ephesians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colossians, two to the Thessalonians, two to Timothy, one to Titus, one to Philemon, and one to the Hebrews; the seven epistles of the other apostles, namely, one of James, two of Peter, three of John, one of Jude; and the Revelation of the apostle John.

Article 5: The Authority of Holy Scripture

We receive[1] all these books, and these only, as holy and canonical, for the regulation, foundation, and confirmation of our faith;[2] believing without any doubt all things contained in them, not so much because the Church receives and approves them as such, but more especially because the Holy Spirit witnesses in our hearts that they are from God,[3] and also because they carry the evidence thereof in themselves. For the very blind are able to perceive that the things foretold in them are being fulfilled.[4]

[1] 1 Thess. 2:13 [2] 2 Tim. 3:16,17 [3] 1 Cor. 12:3; 1 Jn. 4:6; 1 Jn. 5:7 [4] Deut. 8:21,22; 1 Kings 22:28; Jer 28:9; Ezek. 33:33

Article 6: The Difference Between the Canonical Books and Apocryphal Books

We distinguish those sacred books from the apocryphal, viz., the third and books of Esdras, the books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Jesus Sirach, Baruch, the appendix to the book of Esther, the Song of the Three Children in the Furnace, the history of Susannah, of Bel and the Dragon, the Prayer of Manasseh, and the two books of the Maccabees. All of which the Church may read and take instruction from, so far as they agree with the canonical books; but they are far from having such power and efficacy that we may  from their testimony confirm any point of faith or of the Christian religion; much less may they be used to detract from the authority of the other, that is, sacred books.

Article 7: The Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures To Be The Only Rule of Faith

We believe that those Holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation is sufficiently taught therein.[1] For since the whole manner of worship which God requires of us is written in them at large, it is therefore unlawful for any one, though an apostle, to teach otherwise than we are now taught in Holy Scripture:[2] yes, though it were an angel from heaven, as the apostle Paul says (Gal. 1:8). For since it is forbidden to add unto or take away anything from the Word of God (Deut. 12:32),[3] it does thereby evidently appear that the doctrine thereof is most perfect and complete in all respects.[4]

Neither therefore may we consider any writings of men, however holy these men may have been, of equal value with those divine Scriptures; nor ought we to consider custom, or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times and persons, or councils, decrees or statutes, as of equal value with the truth of God, since the truth is above all:[5] for all men are of themselves liars, and more vain than vanity itself (Ps. 62:9). Therefore we reject with all our hearts whatsoever does not agree with this infallible rule,[6] as the apostles have taught us, saying, Prove the spirits, whether they are of God (1 Jn 4:1). Likewise: If any one comes unto you and brings not this teaching, receive him into your house. (2 Jn. 1:10).

[1] 2 Tim. 3:16,17; 1 Pet. 1:10-12 [2] 1 Cor. 15:2; 1 Tim. 1:3 [3] Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; Acts 26:22; 1 Cor. 4:6; Rev. 22:18,19 [4] Ps. 19:7; Jn. 15:15; Acts 18:28; Acts 20:27; Rom. 15:4 [5] Mk. 7:7-9; Acts 4:19; Col. 2:8; 1 Jn. 2:19 [6] Deut. 4:5,6; Is. 8:20; 1 Cor. 3:11; Eph. 4:4-6; 2 Thess. 2:2; 2 Tim. 3:14,15.

Article 8: God Is One In Essence, Yet Distinguished In Three Persons

According to this truth and this Word of God, we believe in one only God,[1] who is one single essence, in which are three persons, really, truly, and eternally distinct according to their incommunicable properties; namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.[2] The Father is the cause, origin, and beginning of all things visible and invisible;[3] the Son is the Word, wisdom, and image of the Father;[4] the Holy Spirit is the eternal power and might, proceeding from the Father and the Son.[5]

Nevertheless, God is not by this distinction divided into three, since the Holy Scriptures teach us that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have each His personality, distinguished by Their properties; but in such wise that these three persons are but one only God. Hence, then, it is evident that the Father is not the Son, nor the Son the Father, and likewise the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son. Nevertheless, these persons thus distinguished are not divided, nor intermixed; for the Father has not assumed the flesh, nor has has the Holy Spirit, but the Son only. The Father has never been without His Son,[6] or without His Holy Spirit. For They are all three, co-eternal and co-essential. There is neither first nor last; for They are all three one, in truth, in power, in goodness, and in mercy.

[1] 1 Cor. 8:4-6 [2] Mt. 3:16,17; Mt. 28:19 [3] Eph. 3:14,15 [4] Prov. 8:22-31; Jn. 1:14; Jn. 5:17-26; 1 Cor. 1:24; Col. 1:15-20; Heb. 1:3; Rev. 19:13 [5] Jn. 15:26 [6] Mic. 5:2; Jn. 1:1-2

Article 9: The Proof Of The Foregoing Article Of The Trinity of Persons In One God

All this we know as well from the testimonies of Holy Writ[1] as from their operations, and chiefly by those we feel in ourselves. The testimonies of the Holy Scriptures that teach us to believe this Holy Trinity are written in many places of the Old Testament, which are not so necessary to enumerate as to choose them out with discretion and judgment.

In Genesis, chap. 1:26, 27, God says: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, etc. And God created man in His own image, male and female he created them. And Gen. 3:22, Behold, the man is become as one of us. From this saying, Let us make man in our image, it appears that there are more persons than one in the Godhead; and when He says, God created, He signifies the unity. It is true, He does not say how many persons there are, but that which appears to us somewhat obscure in the Old Testament is very plain in the New. For when our Lord was baptized in Jordan, the voice of the Father was heard, saying, This is my beloved Son; the Son was seen in the water, and the Holy Spirit appeared in the shape of a dove.[2]

This form is also instituted by Christ in the baptism of all believers: Make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. [Mat. 28:19] In the gospel of Luke the angel Gabriel thus addressed Mary, the mother of our Lord: The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten shall be called the Son of God. Likewise: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. [2 Corinthians 13:17] And (A.V.): There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

In all these places we are fully taught that there are three persons in one only divine essence. And though this doctrine far surpasses all human understanding, nevertheless we now believe it by means of the Word of God, but expect hereafter to enjoy the perfect knowledge and benefit thereof in heaven.

Moreover, we must observe the particular offices and operations of these three persons toward us. The Father is called our Creator, by His power; the Son is our Savior and Redeemer, by His blood; the Holy Spirit is our Sanctifier, by His dwelling in our hearts.

This doctrine of the Holy Trinity has always been maintained and affirmed by the true Church since the time of the apostles to this very day against the Jews, Mohammedans, and some false Christians and heretics, as Marcion, Manes, Praxeas, Sabellius, Samosatenus, Arius, as such like, who have been justly condemned by the orthodox fathers. Therefore, in this point, we do willingly receive the three creeds, namely, that of the Apostles, of Nicea, and of Athanasius; likewise that which, conformable thereunto, is agreed upon by the ancient fathers.

[1] Jn. 14:16; Jn. 15:26; Acts 2:32,33; Rom. 8:9; Gal. 4:6; Tit. 3:4-6; 1 Pet. 1:2; 1 Jn. 4:13,14; 1 Jn. 5:1-12; Jude 20,21; Rev. 1:4,5 [2] Mt. 3:16

Article 10: Jesus Christ Is True And Eternal God

We believe that Jesus Christ according to His divine nature is the only begotten Son of God[1], begotten from eternity, not made, nor created (for then He would be a creature), but co-essential and co-eternal with the Father, the very image of His substance and the effulgence of His glory [Heb. 1:3], equal unto Him in all things.[2] He is the Son of God, not only from the time He assumed our nature but from all eternity [3], as these testimonies, when compared together, teach us. Moses says that God created the world[4]; and St. John says that all things were made by that Word which he calls God. [5] The apostle says that God made the world by His Son [6]; likewise, that God created all things by Jesus Christ.[7]

Therefore it must needs follow that He who is called God, the Word, the Son, and Jesus Christ, did exist at that time when all things were created by Him. Therefore the prophet Micah says: His goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. And the apostle: He hath neither beginning of days nor end of life. He therefore is that true, eternal, and Almighty God whom we invoke, worship and serve.

[1] Mt. 17:5; Jn. 1:14, 18; Jn. 3:16; Jn. 14:1-14; Jn. 20:17, 31; Rom. 1:4; Gal. 4:4; Heb. 1:2; 1 Jn. 5:5, 9-12 [2] Jn. 5:18, 23; Jn. 10:30; Jn. 14:9; Jn. 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Phil. 2:6; Col. 1:15; Tit. 2:13; Heb. 1:3; Rev. 5:13 [3] Jn. 8:58; Jn. 17:5; Heb. 13:8 [4] Gen. 1:1 [5] Jn. 1:1-3 [6] Heb. 1:2 [7] 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16

Article 11 – The Holy Spirit Is True and Eternal God

We believe and confess also that the Holy Spirit from eternity proceeds from the Father and the Son; and therefore  neither is made, created, nor begotten, but only proceeds from both[1]; who in order is the third Person of the Holy Trinity; of one and the same essence, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son; and therefore is the true and eternal God, as the Holy Scriptures teach us.[2]

[1] Jn. 14:15-26; Jn. 15:26; Rom. 8:9 [2] Gen. 1:2; Mt. 28:19; Acts 5:3,4; 1 Cor. 2:10; 1 Cor. 3:16; 1 Cor. 6:11; 1 Jn. 5:7

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