Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Justification of Sinners

The Belgic Confession of Faith

Article 23: The Justification of Sinners

We believe that our blessedness lies in the forgiveness of our sins because of Jesus Christ, and that in it our righteousness before God is contained, as David and Saint Paul teach us when they declare that man blessed to whom God grants righteousness apart from works.54

And the same apostle says that we are” justified by God's grace as a gift, through redemption that is in Jesus Christ.”55 And therefore we cling to this foundation, which is firm forever, giving all glory to God, humbling ourselves, and recognizing ourselves as we are; not claiming a thing for ourselves or our merits and leaning and resting on the sole obedience of Christ crucified, which is ours when we believe in him.

That is enough to cover all our sins and to make us confident, freeing the conscience from the fear, dread, and terror of God's approach, without doing what our first parents did, who trembled as they tried to cover themselves with fig leaves.

In fact, if we had to appear before God relying—no matter how little—on ourselves or some other creature, then we would be swallowed up.

Therefore everyone must say with David: “Lord, do not enter into judgment with your servants, for no one living is righteous before you.” 56

54. Ps. 32:1; Rom. 4:6
55. Rom. 3:24
56. Ps. 143:2

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