Westminster Confession (1647) and London Baptist Confession (1689)

This column was made by Nate Wilson. Strikeout text is in the Westminster but not the London. Underlined text is in the London but not the Westminster. Important differences between the two are highlighted in yellow.  All other text is identical between the two documents. Bold text is also in the Belgic Confession as well as in the Westminster Confession and the London Baptist Confession.

The Belgic Confession (originally 1561, this text is from the French version of 1619)

This column was made by Brian Zachary to compare the Belgic Confession text to that of the Westminster and London Baptist confessional texts. Joel Beeke and Sinclair Ferguson’s book Reformed Confessions Harmonized was a helpful reference in this project. Text in bold was copied by the framers of the Westminster and London Baptist Confessions.

Chapter 1: Of The Holy Scripture

Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving Knowledge, Faith and Obedience;








Although the light of nature, and the works of creation






and providence,


do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God,




as to leave men inexcusable;



yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation;


therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that His will unto his Church;


and afterward for the better preserving, and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world,



to commit the same wholly unto writing;

which maketh the holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.





2. Under the name of holy Scripture, or the Word of God written,; are now contained all the Books of the Old and New Testament, which are these:,




Of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obad­iah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechar­iah, Malachi,.



Of the New Testament: The Gospels according to, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles, Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinth­ians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalon­ians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, to Titus, to Philemon, The Epistle to the,Hebrews, The Epistle of James, The First and Second, Epistles of Peter, The First, Second, and, Third Epistles of John, The Epistle of Jude, The Revelation,.


All which are given by the inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life.


3 The books commonly called Apocrypha,




not being of divine inspiration, are no part of the Canon (or rule) of the Scripture;, and therefore are of no authority into the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings.




4. The authority of the holy Scripture,


for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth


not upon the testimony of any man, or Church,;


but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the Author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.


5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church of God, to an high and reverent esteem of the holy Scripture; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, [and] the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the and many other incomparable excellencies, and [the] entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence it[self] to be the Word of God; yet, notwithstanding,; our full persuasion, and assurance of the infallible truth, and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.


6. The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture:or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture;




unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit,



or traditions of men.








Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God, to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word;, and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and the government of the Church, common to human actions and societies,;which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.

7. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for Salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

8. The Old Testament in Hebrew, (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which at the time of the writing of it was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as in all controversies of religion the Church is finally to appeal unto them. But because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have a right unto, and interest in, the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner, and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.

9. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture, is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture(which is not manifold, but one), it may must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.

10. The Supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Scripture delivered by the Spirit speaking in the, into which Scripture.  so delivered, our faith is finally resolved.

(From Article 2)





Second, he makes himself known to us more openly by his holy and divine Word, as much as we need in this life, for his glory and for the salvation of his own.


We know him by two means:


First, by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe,


since that universe is before our eyes like a beautiful book in which all creatures, great and small, are as letters to make us ponder the invisible things of God:


his eternal power and his divinity,



as the apostle Paul says in Romans 1:20.

All these things are enough to convict men and to


leave them without excuse.


(From Article 3) We confess that this Word of God was not sent nor delivered by the will of men, but that holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy Spirit, as Peter says.


Afterwards our God-- because of the special care he has for us and our salvation--








commanded his servants, the prophets and apostles,


to commit this revealed Word to writing.




He himself wrote with his own finger the two tables of the law. Therefore we call such writings holy and divine Scriptures.


(From Article 4) We include in the Holy Scripture the two volumes of the Old and New Testaments.


They are canonical books with which there can be no quarrel at all. In the church of God the list is as follows:

In the Old Testament, the five books of Moses-- Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; the books of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth; the two books of Samuel, and two of Kings; the two books of Chronicles, called Paralipomenon; the first book of Ezra; Nehemiah, Esther, Job; the Psalms of David; the three books of Solomon-- Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song; the four major prophets-- Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel; and then the other twelve minor prophets-- Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.


In the New Testament, the four gospels-- Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; the Acts of the Apostles; the fourteen letters of Paul-- to the Romans; the two letters to the Corinthians; to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians; the two letters to the Thessalonians; the two letters to Timothy; to Titus, Philemon, and to the Hebrews; the seven letters of the other apostles-- one of James; two of Peter; three of John; one of Jude; and the Revelation of the apostle John.


(From Article 5) We receive all these books and these only as holy and canonical, for the regulating, founding, and establishing of our faith.


(From Article 6) We distinguish between these holy books and the apocryphal ones, which are the third and fourth books of Esdras; the books of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Jesus Sirach, Baruch; what was added to the Story of Esther; the Song of the Three Children in the Furnace; the Story of Susannah; the Story of Bell and the Dragon; the Prayer of Manasseh; and the two books of Maccabees.

The church may certainly read these books and learn from them as far as they agree with the canonical books.


But they do not have such power and virtue that one could confirm from their testimony any point of faith or of the Christian religion. Much less can they detract from the authority of the other holy books.


(From Article 5) And we believe without a doubt all things contained in them


-- not so much because the church receives and approves them as such












but above all because the Holy Spirit testifies in our hearts that they are

from God, and also because they prove themselves to be from God. For even the blind themselves are able to see that the things predicted in them do happen.


(From Article 7) We believe that this Holy Scripture contains the will of God completely

and that everything one must believe to be saved is sufficiently taught in it.




For since the entire manner of service which God requires of us is described in it at great length, no one-- even an apostle or an angel from heaven, as Paul says-- ought to teach other than what the Holy Scriptures have already taught us. For since it is forbidden to add to or subtract from the Word of God, this plainly demonstrates that the teaching is perfect and complete in all respects.

Therefore we must not consider human writings-- no matter how holy their authors may have been-- equal to the divine writings; nor may we put custom, nor the majority, nor age, nor the passage of time or persons, nor councils, decrees, or official decisions above the truth of God, for truth is above everything else.

For all human beings are liars by nature and more vain than vanity itself.

Therefore we reject with all our hearts everything that does not agree with this infallible rule, as we are taught to do by the apostles when they say, "Test the spirits to see if they are of God," and also, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house."


Chapter 2 Of God and of the Holy Trinity

1. The Lord our God There is but one only

living, and true God, who;


 whose subsistence is in and of himself,


infinite in being, and perfection,


whose Essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself;


a most pure spirit,


invisible, without body, parts, or passions,


who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light, which no man can approach unto,


who is immutable,


immense, eternal,






every way infinite,


most wise,


most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable, and most righteous will, for his own glory, most loving, gracious, merciful, long- suffering,


abundant in goodness


and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin;, the rewarder of them that diligently seek him;,


and withal most just, and terrible in his judgments;, hating all sin;, and who will by no means clear the guilty.


2. God hath having all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself; and: is alone in, and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creature[s] which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them;, he is the alone foundationfountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom, are all things;, and he hath most sovereign dominion over themall creatures, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever himself pleaseth. In his sight all things are open and manifest;, his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature; so as nothing is to him contingent, or uncertain. He is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands. To him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience as Creatures they owe unto the Creator, and whatever he is further pleased to require of them.


3. In the unity of the Godhead In this divine and infinite Being

there are three Personssubsistences,




God the Father, God the Word (or Son) and God the Holy Spirit[Ghost],


of one substance, power, and eternity:, each having the whole Divine Essence, yet the Essence undivided,


the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding;,


the Son is eternally begotten of the Father;


the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son. ,

 all infinite, without beginning,


therefore but one God,


who is not to be divided in nature and Being;


but distinguished by several peculiar, relative properties, and personal relations;





































which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our Communion with God, and comfortable dependence on him.


(From Article 1)

We all believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that there is a single [and simple spiritual being,] whom we call God








spiritual being,

















completely wise,






good, and the overflowing source of all good.






















(From Article 8) In keeping with this truth and Word of God we believe in one God, in whom there are three persons,


really, truly, and eternally distinct according to their incommunicable properties


-- namely, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


who is one single essence,



The Father is the cause, origin, and source of all things, visible as well as invisible.


The Son is the Word, the Wisdom & image of the Father


The Holy Spirit is the eternal power and might, proceeding from the Father and the Son.



yet in such a way that these three persons are only one God.


Nevertheless, this distinction does not divide God into three,


since Scripture teaches us that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each has his own subsistence distinguished by characteristics

It is evident then that the Father is not the Son and that the Son is not the Father, and that likewise the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son.

Nevertheless, these persons, thus distinct, are neither divided nor fused or mixed together.

For the Father did not take on flesh, nor did the Spirit, but only the Son.

The Father was never without his Son, nor without his Holy Spirit, since all these are equal from eternity, in one and the same essence.

There is neither a first nor a last, for all three are one in truth and power, in goodness and mercy.


(From Article 9) All these things we know from the testimonies of Holy Scripture as well as from the effects of the persons, especially from those we feel within ourselves.

The testimonies of the Holy Scriptures, which teach us to believe in this Holy Trinity, are written in many places of the Old Testament, which need not be enumerated but only chosen with discretion.

In the book of Genesis God says, "Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness." So "God created man in his own image"-- indeed, "male and female he created them." "Behold, man has become like one of us."

It appears from this that there is a plurality of persons within the Deity, when he says, "Let us make man in our image"-- and afterwards he indicates the unity when he says, "God created."

It is true that he does not say here how many persons there are-- but what is somewhat obscure to us in the Old Testament is very clear in the New.

For when our Lord was baptized in the Jordan, the voice of the Father was heard saying, "This is my dear Son"; the Son was seen in the water; and the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove.

So, in the baptism of all believers this form was prescribed by Christ: "Baptize all people in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

In the Gospel according to Luke the angel Gabriel says to Mary, the mother of our Lord: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and therefore that holy one to be born of you shall be called the Son of God."

And in another place it says: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you."

"There are three who bear witness in heaven-- the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit-- and these three are one."

In all these passages we are fully taught that there are three persons in the one and only divine essence. And although this doctrine surpasses human understanding, we nevertheless believe it now, through the Word, waiting to know and enjoy it fully in heaven.

Furthermore, we must note the particular works and activities of these three persons in relation to us. The Father is called our Creator, by reason of his power. The Son is our Savior and Redeemer, by his blood. The Holy Spirit is our Sanctifier, by his living in our hearts.

This doctrine of the holy Trinity has always been maintained in the true church, from the time of the apostles until the present, against Jews, Muslims, and certain false Christians and heretics, such as Marcion, Mani, Praxeas, Sabellius, Paul of Samosata, Arius, and others like them, who were rightly condemned by the holy fathers.

And so, in this matter we willingly accept the three ecumenical creeds-- the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian-- as well as what the ancient fathers decided in agreement with them.

Chapter 3: Of God's Eternal Decree.

1. God did ordain hath Decreed in himself from all eternity by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin;, nor hath fellowship with any therein, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor yet is the liberty, or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established, in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power, & faithfulness in accomplishing his Decree.



2. Although God knows whatsoever may, or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions; yet hath he not decreed any thing because he foresaw it as future,or as that which would come to pass, upon such conditions.


3. By the decree of God, for the manifesta­tion of his glory, some men and angels are


predestinated or fore-ordained unto everlasting [Eternal] life,


through Jesus Christ;


and others foreordained to everlasting death,being left to act in their sin to their just condemnation.  


4. These angels and men, thus predestinated, and fore-ordained, are particularly, and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain, and definite, that it can not be either increased, or diminished.

5. Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ, unto everlasting glory,


out of his mere free grace and love alone,;

without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as a conditions or causes moving him thereunto;

and all to the praise of his glorious grace.


6. As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, fore-ordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ, by his Spirit working in due season;, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power through faith unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.


7. The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.


8. The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination, is to be handled with special prudence, and care,; that men attending to the will of God revealed in his Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election. So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God;, and of humility, diligence, and abundant consola­tion, to all that sincerely obey the gospel.










(From Article 16) We believe that-- all Adam's descendants having thus fallen into perdition and ruin by the sin of the first man-- God showed himself to be as he is: merciful and just.





He is merciful in withdrawing and saving from this perdition those whom he, in his eternal and unchangeable counsel,


has elected and chosen


in Jesus Christ our Lord


He is just in leaving the others in their ruin and fall into which they plunged themselves.












by his pure goodness, without any consideration of their works.

Chapter 4: Creation
1. It pleased God the Father,




and Holy GhostSpirit, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness,


in the beginning,


to create or make


of nothing


the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible,


in the space of six days, and all very good.


2. After God had made all other creatures,

he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, rendering them fit unto that life to God; for which they were Created; being made after the image of God, in endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it; and yet under a possibil­ity of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change.


3. Besides this the Law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.

(From Article 12)

We believe that the Father


by his Word-- that is to say, by his Son.





when it seemed good to him,




from nothing,


heaven and earth and all other creatures




He has given all creatures their being, form, and appearance, and their various functions for serving their Creator.










Even now he also sustains and governs them all, according to his eternal providence, and by his infinite power, that they may serve man, in order that man may serve God.

He has also created the angels good, that they might be his messengers and serve his elect.

Some of them have fallen from the excellence in which God created them into eternal perdition; and the others have persisted and remained in their orginal state, by the grace of God.

The devils and evil spirits are so corrupt that they are enemies of God and of everything good. They lie in wait for the church and every member of it like thieves, with all their power, to destroy and spoil everything by their deceptions.

So then, by their own wickedness they are condemned to everlasting damnation, daily awaiting their torments.

For that reason we detest the error of the Sadducees, who deny that there are spirits and angels, and also the error of the Manicheans, who say that the devils originated by themselves, being evil by nature, without having been corrupted.

Chapter 5: Of Divine Providence

1. God, the great good Creator of all things,

in his infinite power, and wisdom,


doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern

all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least,

by his most wise and holy providence, and to the end for the which they were Created;

according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness, and mercy.


2. Although in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immutably and infallibly,;

so that there is not any thing, befalls any by chance, or without his Providence;

yet, by the same providence, he ordereth them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.

3. God, in his ordinary providence, maketh use of means,; yet is free to work, without, above, and against them, at his pleasure.


4. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his providence,


that it his determinate Council extendeth itself even to the first Fall, and all other sins sinful actions both of angels and men, and that not by a bare permission, but such as hath joined with it a ) which also he most wise and powerful bounding wisely and powerfully boundeth, and otherwise ordering and governing of themordereth, and governeth, in a manifold dispensation, to his ownmost holy ends;:


yet so, as the sinfulness thereof of their acts proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God; who being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be, the author or approver of sin.


5. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God, doth oftentimes, leave for a season his own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption[s] of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption, and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close, and constant dependence for their support, upon himself,; and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends. So that whatsoever befalls any of his elect is by his appointment, for his glory, and their good.


6. As for those wicked and ungodly men, whom God, as a righteous judge, for former sins, doth blind and harden; from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts; but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had;, and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption[s] makes occasion of sin; and withal gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan;, whereby it comes to pass, that they harden themselves, even under those means which God useth for the softening of others.





7. As the providence of God doth, in general, reach to all creatures, so, after a most special manner, it taketh care of his Church, and disposeth of all things to the good thereof.







(From Article 13)

We believe that this good God, after he created all things,


did not abandon them to chance or fortune

but leads and governs them


according to his holy will,






in such a way that nothing happens in this world without his orderly arrangement.









His power and goodness are so great and incomprehensible that he arranges and does his work very well and justly


even when the devils and wicked men act unjustly.







God is not the author of, nor can he be charged with, the sin that occurs.






















We do not wish to inquire with undue curiosity into what he does that surpasses human understanding and is beyond our ability to comprehend. But in all humility and reverence we adore the just judgments of God, which are hidden from us, being content to be Christ's disciples, so as to learn only what he shows us in his Word, without going beyond those limits.


This doctrine gives us unspeakable comfort since it teaches us that nothing can happen to us by chance but only by the arrangement of our gracious heavenly Father. He watches over us with fatherly care, keeping all creatures under his control, so that not one of the hairs on our heads (for they are all numbered) nor even a little bird can fall to the ground without the will of our Father.

In this thought we rest, knowing that he holds in check the devils and all our enemies, who cannot hurt us without his permission and will.

For that reason we reject the damnable error of the Epicureans, who say that God involves himself in nothing and leaves everything to chance.

Chapter 6: Of the Fall of Man, Of Sin, and of the Punishment thereof  

Our first parents, being seduced by the subtlety and temptations of Satan, sinned


1. Although God created Man


upright, and perfect,



and gave him a righteous law, which had been unto life had he kept it, and threatened death upon the breach thereof; yet he did not long abide in this honor; Satan using the subtlety of the serpent to seduce Eve, then by her seducing Adam, who without any compulsion,


did willfully transgress the Law of their Creation,

and the command given unto them,

in eating the forbidden fruit.


This their sin; which God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it, to his own glory.







2. By this sin they, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God,


and so became we in them, whereby death came upon all; all becoming dead in sin, and wholly defiled, in all the faculties, and parts, of soul, and body. 


3. They being the root, and by Gods appointment, standing in the room, and stead 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 original ordinary generation, being now conceived in Sin, and by nature children of wrath, the servants of Sin, unless the Lord Jesus set them free.

4. 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.







5. This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated;: and although it be through Christ pardoned, and mortified, yet both itself, and all the first motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.


6. 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 other miseries spiritual, temporal, and eternal.

(From Article 14)



We believe that God created man from the dust of the earth and made and formed him in his image and likeness--


good, just, and holy;

able by his own will to conform in all things to the will of God. But when he was in honor he did not understand it and did not recognize his excellence.






But he subjected himself willingly to sin and consequently to death and the curse, lending his ear to the word of the devil.  For he transgressed the commandment of life, which he had received,




having corrupted his entire nature.

So he made himself guilty and subject to physical and spiritual death, having become wicked, perverse, and corrupt in all his ways. He lost all his excellent gifts which he had received from God, and he retained none of them except for small traces which are enough to make him inexcusable.


and by his sin he separated himself from God, who was his true life,


(From Article 15)

It is a corruption of all nature





an inherited depravity which even infects small infants in their mother's womb, and the root which produces in man every sort of sin.



We believe that by the disobedience of Adam original sin has been spread through the whole human race.


It is therefore so vile and enormous in God's sight that it is enough to condemn the human race, and it is not abolished or wholly uprooted even by baptism, seeing that sin constantly boils forth as though from a contaminated spring.


(From Article 14) Moreover, all the light in us is turned to darkness, as the Scripture teaches us: "The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness did not receive it." Here John calls men "darkness."

Therefore we reject everything taught to the contrary concerning man's free will, since man is nothing but the slave of sin and cannot do a thing unless it is "given him from heaven."

For who can boast of being able to do anything good by himself, since Christ says, "No one can come to me unless my Father who sent me draws him"?

Who can glory in his own will when he understands that "the mind of the flesh is enmity against God"?  Who can speak of his own knowledge in view of the fact that "the natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit of God"?

In short, who can produce a single thought, since he knows that we are "not able to think a thing" about ourselves, by ourselves, but that "our ability is from God"?


And therefore, what the apostle says ought rightly to stand fixed and firm: "God works within us both to will and to do according to his good pleasure."

For there is no understanding nor will conforming to God's understanding and will apart from Christ's involvement, as he teaches us when he says, "Without me you can do nothing."


(From Article 14)

Nevertheless, it is not imputed to God's children for their condemnation but is forgiven by his grace and mercy



--not to put them to sleep but so that the awareness of this corruption might often make believers groan as they long to be set free from the "body of this death."




Therefore we reject the error of the Pelagians who say that this sin is nothing else than a matter of imitation.

Chapter 7: Of God's Covenant  with Man.

1. 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 attained the reward of Life, but by some voluntary condescension on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express, by way of covenant.

2. 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.

2/3. Moreover Man by his fall having madebrought himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace: under the curse of the Law by his fall, it pleased the Lord to make a Covenant of Grace wherein he freely offered[eth] 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.

This Covenant is revealed in the Gospel;






first of all to Adam in the promise of Salvation by the seed of the woman,


and afterwards by farther steps, until the full discovery thereof was completed in the new Testament; and it is founded in that Eternal Covenant transaction, that was between the Father and the Son, about the Redemption of the Elect; and it is alone by the Grace of this Covenant, that all of the posterity of fallen Adam, that ever were saved, did obtain life and a blessed immortality; Man being now utterly incapable of acceptance with God upon those terms, on which Adam stood in his state of innocence.

4. This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in the 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.

5. 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 fore-signifying 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.

6. Under the gospel, when Christ the sub­stance was exhibited, the ordinances in which this covenant is dispensed, are the preach­ing of the Word, and the administra­tion of the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper; which, though fewer in number, and administered with more simpli­c­ity and less outward glory, yet in them it is held forth in more fullness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy, to all nations, both Jews and Gentiles; and is called the New Test­ament. There are not, therefore, two coven­ants of grace differing in substance, but one and the same under various dispensations.


















(From Article 17) We believe that our good God, by his marvelous wisdom and goodness, seeing that man had plunged himself in this manner into both physical and spiritual death and made himself completely miserable, set out to find him, though man, trembling all over, was fleeing from him. 


And he comforted him, promising to give him his Son, "born of a woman," to crush the head of the serpent, and to make him blessed.


Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator

It pleased God, in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only-begotten Son, according to the Covenant made between them both, to be the Mediator between God and men man, the prophet, priest, and king; the head and Savior of the his Church, the heir of all things, and judge of the world; unto whom he did, from all eternity, give a people to be his seed, and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.


2. The Son of God, the second Person in the Holy Trinity, being very and eternal God, the brightness of the Fathers glory, of one substance, and equal with the Father, him: who made the World, who upholdeth and governeth all things he hath made:


did, when the fullness of time was come,

take uponunto him man's nature, with all the essential properties, and common infirmities thereof;, yet without sin:




being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of the Holy Spirit coming down upon her substance., and the power of the most High overshadowing her, and so was made of a Woman, of the Tribe of Judah, of the Seed of Abraham, and David according to the Scriptures:













So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion.



Which person is very God, and very man,

yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.










3. The Lord Jesus in his human nature thus united to the divine, in the Person of the Son, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit, above measure; having in him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,; in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell: to the end that being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth, he might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a Mediator and Surety.


Which office he took not untoupon himself, but was thereunto called by his Father; who also put all power and judgment into his hand, and gave him commandment to execute the same.

4. 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,




and underwent the punishment due to us,


which we should have born and suffered, being made Sin and a Curse for us:


enduring most grievous torments immediatelysorrows in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his body; was crucified, and died; was buried, and remained under the power of death,in the state of the dead; 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.




5. 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;God, procured


and purchased not only  reconciliation,


but and purchased an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto him.
























 6. Although the work price of redemption was not actually wrought paid by Christ, till after his incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefits thereof were communicated into 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 thebeginning foundation of the world, being yesterday and today the same and for ever.

7.  Christ, in the work of mediation, acteth according to both natures;, by each nature doing that which is proper to itself; yet by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature, is sometimes, in Scripture, attributed to the person denominated by the other nature.

8. To all those for whom Christ hath purchased obtained eternal redemption, he doth certainly, and effectually apply, and communicate the same; making intercession for them, and uniting them to himself by his spirit, revealing unto them, in and by the Word, the mysteriesmystery of salvation; effectuallypersuading them by his Spirit to believe, and obey; and governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit; overcoming all their enemies by his almighty power, and wisdom,; in such manner, and ways as are most consonant to his wonderful, and unsearchable dispensation. ; and all of free, and absolute Grace, without any condition foreseen in them, to procure it.


9. This office of Mediator between God and Man, is proper only to Christ,


who is the Prophet, Priest, and King of the Church of God;


and may not be either in whole, or any part thereof transferred from him to any other.






























































10. This number and order of Offices is necessary; for in respect of our ignorance, we stand in need of his prophetical Office; 


and in respect of our alienation from God, and imperfection of the best of our services, we need his Priestly office, to reconcile us, and present us acceptable unto God:













and in respect to our averseness, and utter inability to return to God, and for our rescue, and security from our spiritual adversaries, we need his Kingly office, to convince, subdue, draw, uphold, deliver, and preserve us to his Heavenly Kingdom.









 (From Article 18) So then we confess that God fulfilled the promise which he had made to the early fathers by the mouth of his holy prophets when he sent his only and eternal Son into the world…


at the time set by him. The Son took the "form of a servant" and was made in the "likeness of man," truly assuming a real human nature, with all its weaknesses, except for sin;


(From Article 26) He therefore was made man, uniting together the divine and human natures, so that we human beings might have access to the divine Majesty. Otherwise we would have no access.


(From Article 18) being conceived in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit,



without male participation. And he not only assumed human nature as far as the body is concerned but also a real human soul, in order that he might be a real human being. For since the soul had been lost as well as the body he had to assume them both to save them both together.

Therefore we confess, against the heresy of the Anabaptists who deny that Christ assumed human flesh from his mother, that he "shared the very flesh and blood of children"; that he is "fruit of the loins of David" according to the flesh; "born of the seed of David" according to the flesh; "fruit of the womb of the virgin Mary"; "born of a woman"; "the seed of David"; "a shoot from the root of Jesse"; "the offspring of Judah," having descended from the Jews according to the flesh; "from the seed of Abraham"-- for he "assumed Abraham's seed" and was "made like his brothers except for sin." In this way he is truly our Immanuel-- that is: "God with us."


(From Article 19)

We believe that by being thus conceived the person of the Son has been inseparably united and joined together with human nature, in such a way that there are not two Sons of God, nor two persons, but two natures united in a single person, with each nature retaining its own distinct properties.


These are the reasons why we confess him to be


true God and true man-- true God in order to conquer death by his power, and true man that he might die for us in the weakness of his flesh.

Thus his divine nature has always remained uncreated, without beginning of days or end of life, filling heaven and earth.

His human nature has not lost its properties but contin­ues to have those of a creature-- it has a beginning of days; it is of a finite nature and retains all that belongs to a real body. And even though he, by his resurrection, gave it immortality, that nonetheless did not change the reality of his human nature; for our salvation and resur­rection depend also on the reality of his body.

But these two natures are so united together in one person that they are not even separated by his death.

So then, what he committed to his Father when he died was a real human spirit which left his body. But mean­while his divine nature remained united with his human nature even when he was lying in the grave; and his deity never ceased to be in him, just as it was in him when he was a little child, though for a while it did not show itself as such.


(From Article 26) Mediator and Intercessor


(From Article 20) 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


So God made known his justice toward his Son, who was charged with our sin,


by his most bitter passion and death.






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,







(From Article 21) 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





in order that by him we might have immortality and eternal life.


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" 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, and he suffered-- the "just for the unjust," 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." He cried, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"

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"; we consider all things as "dung for the excellence of the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." 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.


































(From Article 26) We believe that we have no access to God except through the one and only Mediator and Intercessor: Jesus Christ the Righteous.




But this Mediator, whom the Father has appointed between himself and us, ought not terrify us by his greatness, so that we have to look for another one, according to our fancy. For neither in heaven nor among the creatures on earth is there anyone who loves us more than Jesus Christ does.

Although he was "in the form of God," he nevertheless "emptied himself," taking the form of "a man" and "a servant" for us; and he made himself "completely like his brothers."

Suppose we had to find another intercessor. Who would love us more than he who gave his life for us, even though "we were his enemies"? And suppose we had to find one who has prestige and power. Who has as much of these as he who is seated "at the right hand of the Father," and who has all power "in heaven and on earth"? And who will be heard more readily than God's own dearly beloved Son?

So then, sheer unbelief has led to the practice of dishonoring the saints, instead of honoring them. That was something the saints never did nor asked for, but which in keeping with their duty, as appears from their writings, they consistently refused.

We should not plead here that we are unworthy-- for it is not a question of offering our prayers on the basis of our own dignity but only on the basis of the excellence and dignity of Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is ours by faith.

Since the apostle for good reason wants us to get rid of this foolish fear-- or rather, this unbelief-- he says to us that Jesus Christ was "made like his brothers in all things," that he might be a high priest who is merciful and faithful to purify the sins of the people. For since he suffered, being tempted, he is also able to help those who are tempted.

And further, to encourage us more to approach him he says, "Since we have a high priest, Jesus the Son of God, who has entered into heaven, we maintain our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to have compassion for our weaknesses, but one who was tempted in all things, just as we are, except for sin. Let us go then with confidence to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace, in order to be helped."

The same apostle says that we "have liberty to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus. Let us go, then, in the assurance of faith...."

Likewise, "Christ's priesthood is forever. By this he is able to save completely those who draw near to God through him who always lives to intercede for them."

What more do we need? For Christ himself declares: "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to my Father but by me." Why should we seek another intercessor?

Since it has pleased God to give us his Son as our Intercessor, let us not leave him for another-- or rather seek, without ever finding. For when God gave him to us he knew well that we were sinners.

Therefore, in following the command of Christ we call on the heavenly Father through Christ, our only Mediator, as we are taught by the Lord's Prayer, being assured that we shall obtain all we ask of the Father in his name.





[Since the apostle for good reason wants us to get rid of this foolish fear-- or rather, this unbelief-- he says to us that Jesus Christ was "made like his brothers in all things," that he might be a high priest who is merciful and faithful to purify the sins of the people. For since he suffered, being tempted, he is also able to help those who are tempted.

And further, to encourage us more to approach him he says, "Since we have a high priest, Jesus the Son of God, who has entered into heaven, we maintain our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to have compassion for our weaknesses, but one who was tempted in all things, just as we are, except for sin. Let us go then with confidence to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace, in order to be helped."

The same apostle says that we "have liberty to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus. Let us go, then, in the assurance of faith...."

Likewise, "Christ's priesthood is forever. By this he is able to save completely those who draw near to God through him who always lives to intercede for them."

What more do we need? For Christ himself declares: "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to my Father but by me." Why should we seek another intercessor?]

Chapter 9: Of Free Will God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty, and power of acting upon choice; that it is neither forced, nor by any absolute necessity of nature determined to do good or evil.

2. Man, in his state of innocence, had freedom, and power, to will, and to do that which iswas good, and well-pleasing to God; but yet mutablywas mutable, so that he might fall from it.









3. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good,








and dead in sin,


is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself,; or to prepare himself thereunto.

4. When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, he freeth him from his natural bondage under sin, and,


by his grace alone, enables him freely to will, and to do that which is spiritually good; yet so as that,







by reason of his remaining corruptions he doth not perfectly, nor only, will that which is good,; but doth also will that which is evil.

5. The will of man is made perfectly, and immutably free to good alone, in the state of glory only.





 (From Article 14) We believe that God created man from the dust of the earth and made and formed him in his image and likeness-- good, just, and holy; able by his own will to conform in all things to the will of God.



But when he was in honor he did not understand it and did not recognize his excellence. But he subjected himself willingly to sin and consequently to death and the curse, lending his ear to the word of the devil.

For he transgressed the commandment of life, which he had received, and by his sin he separated himself from God, who was his true life, having corrupted his entire nature.

So he made himself guilty and subject to physical and spiritual death, having become wicked, perverse, and corrupt in all his ways. He lost all his excellent gifts which he had received from God, and he retained none of them except for small traces which are enough to make him inexcusable.

Moreover, all the light in us is turned to darkness, as the Scripture teaches us: "The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness did not receive it." Here John calls men "darkness."

Therefore we reject everything taught to the contrary concerning man's free will, since man is nothing but the slave of sin and cannot do a thing unless it is "given him from heaven.”

Therefore we reject everything taught to the contrary concerning man's free will,


since man is nothing but the slave of sin


and cannot do a thing unless it is "given him from heaven."

For who can boast of being able to do anything good by himself, since Christ says, "No one can come to me unless my Father who sent me draws him"?

Who can glory in his own will when he understands that "the mind of the flesh is enmity against God"? Who can speak of his own knowledge in view of the fact that "the natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit of God"?

In short, who can produce a single thought, since he knows that we are "not able to think a thing" about ourselves, by ourselves, but that "our ability is from God"?

And therefore, what the apostle says ought rightly to stand fixed and firm: "God works within us both to will and to do according to his good pleasure."

For there is no understanding nor will conforming to God's understanding and will apart from Christ's involvement, as he teaches us when he says, "Without me you can do nothing."

Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling

 All Those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed, and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin, and death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ:; enlightening their minds, spiritually, and savingly, to understand the things of God,; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good;, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.

2. This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from any thing at all foreseen in man,


who is altogethernor from any power, or agency in the Creature, coworking with his special Grace, the Creature being wholly passive therein, being dead in sins and trespasses, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit,






















he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it; and that by no less power, than that which raised up Christ from the dead.

3. Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit,who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth. So also are all other elect persons,who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.

4. Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet not being effectually drawn by the Father, they never neither will, nor can truly come to Christ,; and therefore can not be saved: much less can men, that receive not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way whatsoever,; be they ever so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the law of that religion they do profess; and to assert and maintain that they may is without warrant of the Word of God. .















(From Article 14) Therefore we reject everything taught to the contrary concerning man's free will, since man is nothing but the slave of sin and cannot do a thing unless it is "given him from heaven.”

Therefore we reject everything taught to the contrary concerning man's free will, since man is nothing but the slave of sin and cannot do a thing unless it is "given him from heaven."

For who can boast of being able to do anything good by himself, since Christ says, "No one can come to me unless my Father who sent me draws him"?

Who can glory in his own will when he understands that "the mind of the flesh is enmity against God"? Who can speak of his own knowledge in view of the fact that "the natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit of God"?

In short, who can produce a single thought, since he knows that we are "not able to think a thing" about ourselves, by ourselves, but that "our ability is from God"?

And therefore, what the apostle says ought rightly to stand fixed and firm: "God works within us both to will and to do according to his good pleasure."

For there is no understanding nor will conforming to God's understanding and will apart from Christ's involvement, as he teaches us when he says, "Without me you can do nothing."

Chapter 11: Of Justification

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 any thing wrought in them, or done by them,

but for Christ’s sake alone;


not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their Righteousness; but by imputing theChrist’s active obedience unto the whole Law, and satisfaction of Christ unto thempassive obedience in his death, for their whole and sole Righteousness, they receiving,and resting on him, and his righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.









2. Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ, and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification; yet it is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.

3. Christ, by his obedience, and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus justified, and did by the sacrifice of himself, in the blood of his cross, undergoing in their stead, the penalty due unto them: make a proper, real, and full satisfaction of his Father'sto Gods 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 any thing 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.

4. 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 personally, until the Holy Spirit, doth, in due time, actually apply Christ unto them.

5. 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 in that condition, they have not usually the light of his countenance restored unto them, until they

humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith, and repentance.




6. 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.





(From Article 23) we are justified "freely"




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 Paul teach us when they declare that man blessed to whom God grants righteousness apart from works.








And the same apostle says that we are justified "freely" or "by grace" through redemption in Jesus Christ. 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 father, Adam, did, who trembled as he tried to cover himself with fig leaves.

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






[we are justified “freely” or "by grace"]






















Therefore everyone must say with David: "Lord, do not enter into judgment with your servants, for before you no living person shall be justified."

Chapter 12: Of Adoption

1. All those that are justified, God vouchsafeth/ed, in, and for the sake of his only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption: by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God; have his name put upon them;, receive the Spirit of adoption; have access to the throne of grace with boldness, are enabled to cry,  Abba, Father;, are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by him as by a father; yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption, and inherit the promises, as heirs, of everlasting salvation.


Chapter 13: Of Sanctification

They who are united to Christ, effectually called,




and regenerated,


having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them,


are also further sanctified, really, and personally, through the same virtue of Christ's death and resurrection,


by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them;



the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed,


and the several lusts thereof, are more and more weakened, and mortified, and they more and more quickened, and strengthened, in all saving graces, to the practice of all true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.












2. This sanctification is throughout, in the whole man, yet imperfect in this life:; there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part, whence ariseth a continual, and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.

3. In which war, although the remaining corruption for a time may much prevail; yet,through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome:; and so the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. , pressing after an heavenly life, in Evangelical Obedience to all the commands which Christ as Head and King, in his Word hath prescribed to them.




(From Article 24) We believe that this true faith,   produced in man


regenerates him


and makes him a "new man," causing him to live the "new life"






by the hearing of God's Word and by the work of the Holy Spirit,


and freeing him from the slavery of sin.









Therefore, far from making people cold toward living in a pious and holy way, this justifying faith, quite to the contrary, so works within them that apart from it they will never do a thing out of love for God but only out of love for themselves and fear of being condemned. So then, it is impossible for this holy faith to be unfruitful in a human being, seeing that we do not speak of an empty faith but of what Scripture calls "faith working through love," which leads a man to do by himself the works that God has commanded in his Word.



















These works, proceeding from the good root of faith, are good and acceptable to God, since they are all sanctified by his grace. Yet they do not count toward our justification-- for by faith in Christ we are justified, even before we do good works. Otherwise they could not be good, any more than the fruit of a tree could be good if the tree is not good in the first place. So then, we do good works, but nor for merit-- for what would we merit? Rather, we are indebted to God for the good works we do, and not he to us, since it is he who "works in us both to will and do according to his good pleasure" -- thus keeping in mind what is written: "When you have done all that is commanded you, then you shall say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have done what it was our duty to do.' "Yet we do not wish to deny that God rewards good works-- but it is by his grace that he crowns his gifts. Moreover, although we do good works we do not base our salvation on them; for we cannot do any work that is not defiled by our flesh and also worthy of punishment. And even if we could point to one, memory of a single sin is enough for God to reject that work. So we would always be in doubt, tossed back and forth without any certainty, and our poor consciences would be tormented constantly if they did not rest on the merit of the suffering and death of our Savior.

Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith

The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls,




is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts;


and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word; by which also, and by the administration of the sacramentsBaptism, the Lords Supper, Prayer and other Means appointed of God, it is increased, and strengthened.





2. By this faith, a Christian believeth to be true, whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God himself speaking; and also apprehendeth an excellency therein, above all other Writings; and all things in the world: as it bears forth the Glory of God in his Attributes, the excellency of Christ in his Nature and Offices; and the Power and Fullness of the Holy Spirit in his Workings, and Operations; and so is enabled to cast his Soul upon the truth thus believed; and also acteth differently, upon that which each particular, passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God, for this life, and that which is to come.


But the principle acts of saving faith are, have immediate relation to Christ,


accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ him alone,



for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.

3. This faith although it is different in degrees, and may be weak, or strong; yet it is in the least degree of it, different in the kind, or nature of it (as is all other saving Grace) from the Faith, and common grace of temporary believers; and therefore though it may be often and many waystimes assailed, and weakened, but ; yet it 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.





(From Article 22) We believe that for us to acquire the true knowledge of this great mystery


the Holy Spirit kindles in our hearts









And faith is the instrument that keeps us in communion with him and with all his benefits. When those benefits are made ours they are more than enough to absolve us of our sins.






















a true faith that embraces Jesus Christ, with all his merits, and makes him its own, and no longer looks for anything apart from him.

















For it must necessarily follow that either all that is required for our salvation is not in Christ or, if all is in him, then he who has Christ by faith has his salvation entirely.

Therefore, to say that Christ is not enough but that something else is needed as well is a most enormous blasphemy against God-- for it then would follow that Jesus Christ is only half a Savior. And therefore we justly say with Paul that we are justified "by faith alone" or by faith "apart from works."

However, we do not mean, properly speaking, that it is faith itself that justifies us-- for faith is only the instrument by which we embrace Christ, our righteousness.

But Jesus Christ is our righteousness in making available to us all his merits and all the holy works he has done for us and in our place.

Chapter 15: Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation

Repentance unto life is an evangelical grace, the doctrine whereof is to bepreached/ing by every minister of the gospel, as well as that of faith in Christ.

1. Such of the Elect as are converted at riper years, having sometimes lived in the state of nature, and therein served divers lusts and pleasures, God in their Effectual Callinggiveth them Repentance unto Life.

II. By it a sinner, out of the sight and sense, not only of the danger, but also of the filthiness and odiousness of his sins, as contrary to the holy nature and righteous law of God, and upon the apprehension of his mercy in Christ to such as are penitent, so grieves for, and hates his sins, as to turn from them all unto God, purposing and endeavoring to walk with him in all the ways of his commandments.

2. Whereas there is none that doth good, and sinneth not; and the best of men may through the power, and deceitfulness of their corruption dwelling in them, with the prevalency of temptation, fall into great sins, and provocations; God hath in the Covenant of Grace, mercifully provided that Believers so sinning, and falling, be renewed through Repentance unto Salvation.

III. Although repentance be not to be rested in as any satisfaction for sin, or any cause of the pardon thereof, which is the act of God's free grace in Christ; yet is it of such necessity to all sinners, that none may expect pardon without it.

3. This saving Repentance is an evangelical Grace, whereby a person being by the Holy Spirit made sensible of the manifold evils of his sin, doth, by Faith in Christ, humble himself for it, with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self abhorrency; praying for pardon, and strength of grace, with a purpose and endeavour by supplies of the Spirit, to walk before God unto all well pleasing in all things.

IV. As there is no sin so small but it deserves damnation; so there is no sin so great that it can bring damnation upon those who truly repent.

4. As Repentance is to be continued through the whole course of our lives, upon the account of the body of death, and the motions thereof; so it is every mans duty, to repent of his particular known sins, particularly.

V. Men ought not to content themselves with a general repentance, but it is every man's duty to endeavor to repent of his particular sins, particularly.

5. Such is the provision which God hath made through Christ in the Covenant of Grace, for the preservation of Believers unto Salvation, that although there is no sin so small, but it deserves damnation; yet there is no sin so great, that it shall bring damnation on them that repent; which makes the constant preaching of Repentance necessary.

VI. As every man is bound to make private confession of his sins to God, praying for the pardon thereof, upon which, and the forsaking of them, he shall find mercy: so he that scandalizeth his brother, or the Church of Christ, ought to be willing, by a private or public confession and sorrow for his sin, to declare his repentance to those that are offended; who are thereupon to be reconciled to him, and in love to receive him.


Chapter 16: Of Good Works

Good works are only such as God hath commanded in his holy Word, and not such as,without the warrant thereof, are devised by men, out of blind zeal, or upon any pretense of good intentions.

2. These good works,






done in obedience to God's commandments,



are the fruits, and evidences of a true, and lively faith:


and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end,eternal life.








3. Their ability to do good works, is not at all of themselves,; but wholly from the Spirit of Christ.


And that they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces they have already received, there is requirednecessary an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit,


to work in them to will, and to do, of his good pleasure;


yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty, unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.


4. 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.


5. We can not, by our best works, merit pardon of sin, or eternal life, at the hand of God, because 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 can not endure the severity of God's judgment.







6. Yet 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.

7. Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use, both to themselves and others; yet,because they proceed not from a heart purified by faith, nor are done in a right manner,according to the Word; nor to a right end, the glory of God; they are therefore sinful and can not please God, ; nor make a man meet to receive grace from God. And yet their neglect of them is more sinful, and displeasing unto God.








(From Article 24) So then, it is impossible for this holy faith to be unfruitful in a human being, seeing that we do not speak of an empty faith but of what Scripture calls "faith working through love,"


which leads a man to do by himself the works that God has commanded in his Word.


These works, proceeding from the good root of faith,











are good and acceptable to God, since they are all sanctified by his grace. Yet they do not count toward our justification-- for by faith in Christ we are justified, even before we do good works. Otherwise they could not be good, any more than the fruit of a tree could be good if the tree is not good in the first place.


So then, we do good works, but nor for merit-- for what would we merit? Rather, we are indebted to God for the good works we do, and not he to us, since it is he who







"works in us both to will and do according to his good pleasure" --








thus keeping in mind what is written: "When you have done all that is commanded you, then you shall say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have done what it was our duty to do.' "




Moreover, although we do good works we do not base our salvation on them;












for we cannot do any work that is not defiled by our flesh and also worthy of punishment.


And even if we could point to one, memory of a single sin is enough for God to reject that work.

So we would always be in doubt, tossed back and forth without any certainty, and our poor consciences would be tormented constantly if they did not rest on the merit of the suffering and death of our Savior.








Yet we do not wish to deny that God rewards good works-- but it is by his grace that he crowns his gifts.

Chapter 17: Of the Perseverance of the Saints Those whom God hath accepted in his the beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his Elect unto, can neither totally nor finally fallaway from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved, seeing the gifts and callings of God are without Repentance, (whence he still begets and nourisheth in them Faith, Repentance, Love, Joy, Hope, and all the graces of the Spirit unto immortality) and though many storms and floods arise and beat against them, yet they shall never be able to take them off that foundation and rock which by faith they are fastened upon: notwithstanding through unbelief and the temptations of Satan the sensible sight of the light and love of God, may for a time be clouded, and obscured from them, yet he is still the same and they shall be sure to be kept by the power of God unto Salvation, where they shall enjoy their purchased possession, they being engraved upon the palm of his hands, and their names having been written in the book of life from all Eternity.

2. 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; and Union with him, the oath of God, the abiding of thehis 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.

3. Nevertheless And though they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalancy of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their perseverance, 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 ofhave their graces and comforts; impaired have their hearts hardened, and theirconsciences wounded; hurt and prevalancy, and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves. : yet they shall renew their repentance and be preserved through faith in Christ Jesus to the end.


Chapter 18: Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation

Although hypocrites temporary Believers, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes, and carnal presumptions, of being in the favor of God, and estate of salvation, which hope of theirs shall perish; yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavoring to walk in all good consciencebefore him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in a the state of grace,and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God: which hope shall never make them ashamed.

2. This certainty is not a bare conjectural, and probable persuasion, grounded upon a fallible hope; but an infallible assurance of faith, founded upon the divine truth ofpromises of salvation, the Blood and Righteousness of Christ revealed in the Gospel; and also upon the inward evidence of those graces of the Spirit unto which thesepromises are made, and on the testimony of the Spirit of adoption, witnessing with ourspirits that we are the children of God; which Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance, whereby we are sealed to the day of redemptionand as a fruit thereof keeping the heart both humble and holy.

3. This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a truebeliever may wait long and conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it:;yet, being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation, in the right use of ordinary means, attain thereunto. And therefore it is the duty of everyone to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure, that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in theHoly Ghost/Spirit, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance: so far is it from inclining men to looseness.

4. True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as, by negligence in preserving of it;, by falling into somespecial sin, which woundeth the conscience, and grieveth the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation;, by God's withdrawing the light of his countenance and suffering even such as fear him to walk in darkness and to have no light:; yet are they neverutterly destitute of that the seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ, and the brethren, that sincerity of heart and conscience of duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may in due time be revived,: and by the which, in themeantime, they are supportedpreserved from utter despair.


Chapter 19: Of the Law of God

God gave to Adam a law, as a covenant of works,universal obedience, written in his Heart, and a particular precept of not eating the Fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; 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.

2. This law, Law that was first written in the heart of man after his the 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 commandmentscontaining our duty toward God, and the other six our duty to man.

3. Besides this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people ofIsrael, 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 being appointed only to the time of reformation, are now by Jesus Christ the true Messiah and only Law-giver who was furnished with power from the Father, for that end,






under the New Testamentand taken away.


4. To them also, as a body politic, he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the state of that people, not obliging any other, now, further than now by virtue of that institution their general equity may require.

5. only, being of moral use. The moral Law doth forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof;, and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator; who gave it.:Neither doth Christ in the gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen, this obligation.



6. Although true believers be not under the law as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified or condemned; yet it is of great use to them, as well as to others: in that, as arule 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.and unallayed Rigor thereof. The promises of it, in like manner, show them God's approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may expect upon the performance thereof; al,though 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.

7. Neither are the aforementioned 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.





























(From Article 25) We believe that the ceremonies and symbols of the law have ended with the coming of Christ, and that all foreshadowings have come to an end, so that the use of them ought to be abolished among Christians. Yet the truth and substance of these things remain for us in Jesus Christ, in whom they have been





















Nevertheless, we continue to use the witnesses drawn from the law and prophets















to confirm us in the gospel



and to regulate our lives with full integrity for the glory of God, according to his will.


LBC Chapter 20: The Covenant of Works being broken by Sin, and made unprofitable unto Life; God was pleased to give forth the promise of Christ, the Seed of the Woman, as the means of calling the Elect, and begetting in them Faith and Repentance; in this Promise, the Gospel, as to the substance of it, was revealed, and therein Effectual, for the Conversion and Salvation of Sinners.

2. This Promise of Christ, and Salvation by him, is revealed only by the Word of God; neither do the Works of Creation, or Providence, with the light of Nature, make discovery of Christ, or of Grace by him; so much as in a general, or obscure way; much less that men destitute of the Revelation of him by the Promise, or Gospel; should be enabled thereby, to attain saving Faith, or Repentance.

3. The Revelation of the Gospel unto Sinners, made in divers times, and by sundry parts; with the addition of Promises, and Precepts for the Obedience required therein, as to the Nations, and Persons, to whom it is granted, is merely of the Sovereign Will and good Pleasure of God; not being annexed by virtue of any Promise, to the due improvement of men’s natural abilities, by virtue of Common light received, without it; which none ever did make, or can so do: And therefore in all Ages the preaching of the Gospel hath been granted unto persons and Nations, as to the extent, or straightening of it, in great variety, according to the Council of the Will of God.

4. Although the Gospel be the only outward means, of revealing Christ, and saving Grace; and is, as such, abundantly sufficient thereunto; yet that men who are dead in Trespasses, may be born again, Quickened or Regenerated; there is moreover necessary, an effectual, insuperable work of the Holy Spirit, upon the whole Soul, for the producing in them a new spiritual Life; without which no other means will effect their Conversion unto God.


WC 20 / LBC 21: Of Christian Liberty and the Liberty of Conscience

The Liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel consists intheir freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the curseRigour andcurse of the moral law; and in their being delivered from this present evil world, bondageto Satan, and dominion of sin, from the evil of afflictions, the Fear, and 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 a slavish fear, but a childlike love, anda willing mind.

All which were common also to believers under the law for the substance of them; 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 thefree Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of.

2. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his Word, or beside it in matters of faith or worship.not contained in it. So that to believe such doctrines, or toobey such commandments 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 destroyliberty of conscience, and reason also.

3. They who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, do practice any sin, or cherish any sinfullust, as they do thereby pervert the main design of the Grace of the Gospel, to their own Destruction; so they wholly destroy the end of Christian liberty; which is, that, being delivered out of the hands of all our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.

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 pretence 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.


WC 21 / LBC 22 Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day The light of nature showeth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereigntyover all; is just, good, and doeth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, andwith all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations, and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations or any other way, not prescribed in the holy Scriptures.

2. Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost;Spirit, and to him alone: not to angels, saints, or any other creatures: and since the Fall, not without a Mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone.

3. Prayer with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious natural worship, is by Godrequired of all men; and. But that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son, by the help of the his holy Spirit according to his will,with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and, if vocal when with others, in a known tongue.

4. Prayer is to be made for things lawful, and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter; but not for the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death.

5. The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear; the sound preaching, and conscionablehearing of the Word of God,, in obedience unto God with understanding, faith, and reverence; teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual songs,singing with grace in the our heart to the Lord; as, also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments Baptism, and the Lords Supper instituted by Christ;are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God to be performed in obedience to him, with understanding, faith, reverence, and godly fear;: besides moreover religious oaths, and vows, solemn humiliation with fastings, and thanksgivings upon special occasion; which are, in their several times and seasons, ought to be used in an holy and religious manner.

6. Neither prayer, nor any other part of religious worship, is now, under the gospel,either tied unto, or made more acceptable toby, any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed; but God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth; as in private families daily, and in secret each one by himself, so more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly , nor willfully, to be neglected, or forsaken, when God, by his Word or providence, calleth thereunto.

7. As it is of the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time by Gods appointment, be set apart for the worship of God; so, in  by his Word, by  in a positive,-moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men, in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him, which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and,from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week, which in Scripture is called the Lord's Day, and is to be continued to the end of the world as theChristian Sabbath; the observation of the last day of the week being abolished.

8. The Sabbath is to be then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day, from their own works, words, and thoughts, about their worldly employments, and recreations;, but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.


WC 22 / LBC 23 Of Lawful Oaths and Vows A lawful oath is a part of religious worship, wherein upon just occasion, the person swearing in Truth, Righteousness, and Judgment, solemnly calleth God to witness what he asserteth or promiseth sweareth; and to judge him according to the truth or falsehood of what he sweareth thereof.

2. The name of God only is that by which men ought to swear; and therein it is to be used, with all holy fear and reverence, therefore to swear vainly or rashly by that glorious, and dreadful name; or to swear at all by any other thing, is sinful, and to be abhorred. Yet, as, in matters of weight and moment for confirmation of truth, and ending all strife, an oath is warranted by the Word of God, under the New Testament, as well as under the Old,; so a lawful oath, being imposed, by lawful authority, in such matters,ought to be taken.

3. Whosoever taketh an oath warranted by the Word of God, ought duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act; and therein to avouch nothing, but what he is fully persuaded is knoweth to be the truth. Neither may any man bind himself by oath to any thing but what is good and just, and what he believeth so to be, and what he is able and resolved to perform. Yet it is a sin to refuse an oath touching any thing ; for that is good and just, being imposed by lawful authority rash, false, and vain Oaths the Lord is provoked, and for them this Land mourns.

4. An oath is to be taken in the plain, and common sense of the words,; without equivocation, or mental reservation. It can not oblige to sin; but in any thing not sinful, being taken, it binds to performance, although to a man's own hurt: nor is it to be violated, although made to heretics or infidels.

5. A vow is of the like nature with a promissory oath, and ought to be made with the like religious care, and to be performed with the like faithfulness.

6. It A Vow which is not to be made to any creature, but to God alone: and that it may be accepted, it is to be made voluntarily, out of faith and conscience of duty, in way of thankfulness for mercy received, or for obtaining of what we want; whereby we more strictly bind ourselves to necessary duties, or to other things, so far and so long as they may fitly conduce thereunto.

VII. No man may vow to do any thing forbidden in the Word of God, or what would hinder any duty therein commanded, or which is not in his own power, and for the performance of which he hath no promise or ability from God.

 is to be made and performed with all Religious care, and faithfulness: But Popish In which respects, monastical vows of perpetual single life, professed poverty, and regular obedience, are so far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are superstitious, and sinful snares, in which no Christian may entangle himself.


WC 23 / LBC 24 Of the Civil Magistrate

1. God, the Supreme Lord, and King of all the world,


hath ordained civil magistrates to be under him, over the people,


for his own glory, and the public good;






and to this end, hath armed them with the power of the sword,


for the defense and encouragement of them that are do good,


and for the punishment of evil-doers.


2. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate when called thereunto; in the managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, justice, and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each Kingdom, and commonwealth, so, for that end, they may lawfully, now under the New Testament, wage war upon just and necessary occasions.

III. The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven:





yet he hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed. For the better effecting whereof, he hath power to call synods, to be present at them, and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God.















IV. 3. It is the duty of the people we ought to make supplications and prayers for Civil Magistrates Kings, and all that are in Authority, that under them we may live a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty being set up by God, for the ends aforesaid; ,


to honor  their persons,


to pay them tribute and other dues,


to obey


and to be subjection to their authority,



in all their lawful things  commanded/s, by them, ought to be yielded by us, in the Lord;


not only for wrath but for conscience' sake. Infidelity, or difference in religion, doth not make void the magistrate's just and legal authority, nor free the people from their obedience to him: from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted; much less hath the Pope any power or jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and least of all to deprive them of their dominions or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretense whatsoever.


(From Article 36) We believe that…our good God



has ordained kings, princes, and civil officers.



[because of the depravity of the human race]

He wants the world to be governed by laws and policies so that human lawlessness may be restrained and that everything may be conducted in good order among human beings.


For that purpose he has placed the sword in the hands of the government,


 and protect the good.



to punish evil people
















They should do this while completely refraining from every tendency toward exercising absolute authority, and while functioning in the sphere entrusted to them, with the means belonging to them.













And being called in this manner to contribute to the advancement of a society that is pleasing to God, the civil rulers have the task, subject to God's law, of removing every obstacle to the preaching of the gospel and to every aspect of divine worship.

And the government's task is not limited to caring for and watching over the public domain but extends also to

upholding the sacred ministry, with a view to removing and destroying all idolatry and false worship of the Antichrist; to promoting the kingdom of Jesus Christ; and to furthering the preaching of the gospel everywhere; to the end that God may be honored and served by everyone, as he requires in his Word.


praying for them that the Lord may be willing to lead them in all their ways and that we may live a peaceful and quiet life in all piety and decency.






and hold its representatives in honor and respect,


and pay taxes,


and obey them


Moreover everyone, regardless of status, condition, or rank, must be subject to the government,


in all things that are not in conflict with God's Word,















And on this matter we denounce the Anabaptists, other anarchists, and in general all those who want to reject the authorities and civil officers and to subvert justice by introducing common ownership of goods and corrupting the moral order that God has established among human beings.

WC 24 / LBC 25 Of Marriage and Divorce  1. Marriage is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than onehusband at the same time.

2. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife; for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed; and for preventing of uncleanness.

3. It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry who are able with judgment to give their consent. Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord. And, therefore, such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, Papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked, in their life, or maintain damnable heresies.

4. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity, or affinity forbidden in the Word; nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful, by any law of man, or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together, as man and wife. The man may not marry any of his wife's kindred nearer in blood than he may of his own, nor the woman of her husband's kindred nearer in blood than of her own.

V. Adultery or fornication, committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, giveth just occasion to the innocent party to dissolve that contract. In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce, and after the divorce to marry another, as if the offending party were dead.

VI. Although the corruption of man be such as is apt to study arguments, unduly to put asunder those whom God hath joined together in marriage; yet nothing but adultery, or such willful desertion as can no way be remedied by the Church or civil magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage; wherein a public and orderly course of proceeding is to be observed; and the persons concerned in it, not left to their own wills and discretion in their own case.



WC 25 / LBC 26 Of the Church

1. The


catholic or universal Church,


which is (with respect to the internal work of the Spirit, and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect,






that have been, are, or shall be gathered


into one, under Christ the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.


2. The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those persons throughout the world that


professing the true religionfaith of the Gospel,








and obedience unto God by Christ, according unto it; not destroying their own profession by any Errors averting the foundation, or unholiness of conversation, are and may be called visible Saints; and of such ought all particular Congregations to be constituted and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God,


out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.


III. Unto this catholic and visible Church, Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world; and doth by his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise, make them effectual thereunto.

IV. This catholic Church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less, visible. And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them.

V.3. The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture, and error; and some have so degenerated as to become apparently no Churches of Christ, but Synagogues of Satan; nevertheless,



















there shall be always Christ hath had, and ever shall have a Church on earth, to worship God according to his willKingdome in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in him, and make profession of his Name.







VI. 4. There is no other head of the Church is but the Lord Jesus Christ:


in whom by the appointment of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order, or Government of the Church, is invested in a supreme & sovereign manner, nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof;, but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God. ; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.

5. In the execution of this power wherewith he is so entrusted, the Lord Jesus calleth out of the World unto himself, through the Ministry of his word, by his Spirit, those that are given unto him by his Father; that they may walk before him in all the ways of obedience, which he prescribeth to them in his Word.


Those thus called he commandeth to walk together in particular societies, or Churches,


for their mutual edification; and the due performance of that public worship, which he requireth of them in the World.





6. The Members of these Churches are Saints by calling,


visibly manifesting and evidencing (in and by their profession and walking) their obedience unto that call of Christ;












and do willingly consent to walk together according to the appointment of Christ, giving up themselves, to the Lord & one to another by the will of God,




in professed subjection to the Ordinances of the Gospel.



7. To each of these Churches thus gathered, according to his mind, declared in his word, he hath given all that power and authority, which is any way needful, for their carrying on that order in worship, and discipline, which he hath instituted for them to observe; with commands, and rules, for the due and right exerting, and executing of that power.









8. A particular Church gathered, and completely Organized, according to the mind of Christ, consists of Officers, and Members; And the Officers appointed by Christ to be chosen and set apart by the Church (so called and gathered) for the peculiar Administration of Ordinances, and Execution of Power, or Duty, which he entrusts them with, or calls them to, to be continued to the end of the World are Bishops or Elders and Deacons.
















9. The way appointed by Christ for the Calling of any person, fitted, and gifted by the Holy Spirit, unto the Office of Bishop, or Elder, in a Church, is, that he be chosen thereunto by the common suffrage of the Church it self; and Solemnly set apart by Fasting and Prayer, with imposition of hands of the Eldership of the Church, if there be any before Constituted therein; And of a Deacon that he be chosen by the like suffrage, and set apart by Prayer, and the like Imposition of hands.




















10. The work of Pastors being constantly to attend the Service of Christ, in his Churches, in the Ministry of the Word, and Prayer, with watching for their Souls, as they that must give an account to him; it is incumbent on the Churches to whom they Minister, not only to give them all due respect, but also to communicate to them of all their good things according to their ability, so as they may have a comfortable supply, without being themselves entangled in Secular Affairs; and may also be capable of exercising Hospitality toward others; and this is required by the Law of Nature, and by the Express order of our Lord Jesus, who hath ordained that they that preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel.

11. Although it be incumbent on the Bishops or Pastors of the Churches to be instant in Preaching the Word, by way of Office; yet the work of Preaching the Word, is not so peculiarly confined to them; but that others also gifted, and fitted by the Holy Spirit for it, and approved, and called by the Church, may and ought to perform it.


12. As all Believers are bound to join themselves to particular Churches, when and where they have opportunity so to do;




So all that are admitted unto the privileges of a Church, are also under the Censures and Government thereof, according to the Rule of Christ.

13. No Church-members upon any offence taken by them, having performed their Duty required of them towards the person they are offended at, ought to disturb any Church order, or absent themselves from the Assemblies of the Church, or Administration of any Ordinances, upon the account of such offence at any of their fellow-members; but to wait upon Christ, in the further proceeding of the Church.

14. As each Church, and all the Members of it are bound to pray continually, for the good and prosperity of all the Churches of Christ, in all places; and upon all occasions to further it (every one within the bounds of their places, and callings, in the Exercise of their Gifts and Graces) so the Churches (when planted by the providence of God so as they may enjoy opportunity and advantage for it) ought to hold communion amongst themselves for their peace, increase of love, and mutual edification.

15. In cases of difficulties or differences, either in point of Doctrine, or Administration; wherein either the Churches in general are concerned, or any one Church in their peace, union, and edification; or any member, or members, of any Church are injured, in or by any proceedings in censures not agreeable to truth, and order: it is according to the mind of Christ, that many Churches holding communion together, do by their messengers meet to consider, and give their advice, in or about that matter in difference, to be reported to all the Churches concerned; howbeit these messengers assembled are not entrusted with any Church-power properly so called; or with any jurisdiction over the Churches themselves, to exercise any censures either over any Churches, or Persons: or to impose their determination on the Churches, or Officers.

(From Article 27) We believe and confess one single



catholic or universal church






a holy congregation and gathering of true Christian believers, awaiting their entire salvation in Jesus Christ being washed by his blood, and sanctified and sealed by the Holy Spirit.


[a holy…gathering]






(From Article 29) The true church can be recognized if it has the following marks:





The church engages in the pure preaching of the gospel;


it makes use of the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them; it practices church discipline for correcting faults. In short, it governs itself according to the pure Word of God, rejecting all things contrary to it and holding Jesus Christ as the only Head. By these marks one can be assured of recognizing the true church-- and no one ought to be separated from it.











(From Article 28) We believe that...there is no salvation apart from [this holy assembly],






















We believe that we ought to discern diligently and very carefully, by the Word of God, what is the true church-- for all sects in the world today claim for themselves the name of "the church."

We are not speaking here of the company of hypocrites who are mixed among the good in the church and who nonetheless are not part of it, even though they are physically there. But we are speaking of distinguishing the body and fellowship of the true church from all sects that call themselves "the church."

(From Article 27) And this holy church is preserved by God against the rage of the whole world, even though for a time it may appear very small in the eyes of men-- as though it were snuffed out. For example, during the very dangerous time of Ahab the Lord preserved for himself seven thousand men who did not bend their knees to Baal.


This church has existed from the beginning of the world and will last until the end, as appears from the fact that Christ is eternal King who cannot be without subjects.



And so this holy church is not confined, bound, or limited to a certain place or certain persons. But it is spread and dispersed throughout the entire world, though still joined and united in heart and will, in one and the same Spirit, by the power of faith.


(From Article 29) [{The Church is} holding Jesus Christ as the only Head.]





















(From Article 28) But all people are obliged to join and unite with it,






(From Article 29) As for those who can belong to the church,





we can recognize them by the distinguishing marks of Christians:


 namely by faith, and by their fleeing from sin and pursuing righteousness, once they have received the one and only Savior, Jesus Christ. They love the true God and their neighbors, without turning to the right or left, and they crucify the flesh and its works.

Though great weakness remains in them, they fight against it by the Spirit all the days of their lives, appealing constantly to the blood, suffering, death, and obedience of the Lord Jesus, in whom they have forgiveness of their sins, through faith in him.


(From Article 28) and by serving to build up one another, according to the gifts God has given them as members of each other in the same body.





keeping the unity of the church by submitting to its instruction and discipline, by bending their necks under the yoke of Jesus Christ,










And to preserve this unity more effectively, it is the duty of all believers, according to God's Word, to separate themselves from those who do not belong to the church, in order to join this assembly wherever God has established it, even if civil authorities and royal decrees forbid and death and physical punishment result.

And so, all who withdraw from the church or do not join it act contrary to God's ordinance.













(from Article 30) We believe that this true church ought to be governed according to the spiritual order that our Lord has taught us in his Word. There should be ministers or pastors to preach the Word of God and adminster the sacraments. There should also be elders and deacons, along with the pastors, to make up the council of the church. By this means true religion is preserved; true doctrine is able to take its course; and evil men are corrected spiritually and held in check, so that also the poor and all the afflicted may be helped and comforted according to their need. By this means everything will be done well and in good order in the church, when such persons are elected who are faithful and are chosen according to the rule that Paul gave to Timothy.













(from Article 31)

We believe that ministers of the Word of God, elders, and deacons ought to be chosen to their offices by a legitimate election of the church, with prayer in the name of the Lord, and in good order, as the Word of God teaches. So everyone must be careful not to push himself forward improperly, but he must wait for God's call, so that he may be assured of his calling and be certain that he is chosen by the Lord. As for the ministers of the Word, they all have the same power and authority, no matter where they may be, since they are all servants of Jesus Christ, the only universal bishop, and the only head of the church. Moreover, to keep God's holy order from being violated or despised, we say that everyone ought, as much as possible, to hold the ministers of the Word and elders of the church in special esteem, because of the work they do, and be at peace with them, without grumbling, quarreling, or fighting.



























(From Article 28) We believe that since this holy assembly and congregation is the gathering of those who are saved and there is no salvation apart from it, no one ought to withdraw from it, content to be by himself, regardless of his status or condition.

















































(From Article 29) As for the false church, it assigns more authority to itself and its ordinances than to the Word of God; it does not want to subject itself to the yoke of Christ; it does not administer the sacraments as Christ commanded in his Word; it rather adds to them or subtracts from them as it pleases; it bases itself on men, more than on Jesus Christ; it persecutes those who live holy lives according to the Word of God and who rebuke it for its faults, greed, and idolatry.

These two churches [true and false] are easy to recognize and thus to distinguish from each other.

WC 26 / LBC 27 Of the Communion of the Saints. 1. All saints that are united to Jesus Christ their head, by his Spirit, and by faith, have fellowship with him in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory; and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other's gifts, and graces, and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, in an orderly way, as to conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man.

2. Saints by profession, are bound to maintain an holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God, and in performing such other spiritual services, as tend to their mutual edification; as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities, and necessities. Which communion, according to the rule of the Gospel, though especially to be exercised by them, in the relations wherein they stand, whether in families, or Churches; yet as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended unto all the household of faith, even all those who, in every place, call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

III. This communion which the saints have with Christ, doth not make them in any wise partakers of the substance of the Godhead, or to be equal with Christ in any respect: either of which to affirm, is impious and blasphemous. Nor doth; nevertheless their communion one with another as saints, doth not take away or infringe, the title or propertypropriety, which each man hath in his goods and possessions.


WC 27 / LBC 28 Of the Sacraments. Baptism and the Lord's Supper.  






are holy signs and




seals of the covenant of grace,




ordinances of positive, and sovereign immediately instituted/ion; by God appointed by the Lord Jesus the only Law-giver,,



to represent





Christ and his benefits, and to confirm our interest in him:


 as also to put a visible difference between those that belong unto the to be continued in his Church, to the end and the rest of the world; and solemnly to engage them to the service of God in Christ, according to his Word.


II. There is in every sacrament a spiritual relation, or sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified; whence it comes to pass that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other.


III. The grace which is exhibited in or by the sacraments, rightly used, is not conferred by any power in them; neither doth the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the piety or intention of him that doth administer it,


but upon the work of the Spirit,


and the word of institution, which contains, together with a precept authorizing the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy receivers.







IV./2. There be only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the gospels, that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord:


 neither or which may be dispensed These holy appointments are to be administered by any but a minister of the Word, lawfully ordained those only, who are qualified and thereunto called according to the commission of Christ.

V. The sacraments of the Old Testament, in regard of the spiritual things thereby signified and exhibited, were, for substance, the same with those of the New.

(from Article 33)


We believe that our good God, mindful of our crudeness and weakness, has ordained




For they are visible signs


and seals of something internal and invisible,


for us to seal his promises in us,


to pledge his good will and grace toward us, and also to nourish and sustain our faith.





He has added these to the Word of the gospel


to represent


better to our external senses both what he enables us to understand by his Word and what he does inwardly in our hearts, confirming in us the salvation he imparts to us.
























by means of which God works in us through the power of the Holy Spirit.





So they are not empty and hollow signs to fool and deceive us, for their truth is Jesus Christ, without whom they would be nothing. Moreover, we are satisfied with the number of sacraments that Christ our Master has ordained for us.


There are only two: the sacrament of baptism and the Holy Supper of Jesus Christ.


WC 28 / LBC 29 Of Baptism








1. Baptism is a sacrament an Ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ,


not only for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church,



but also to be unto him the party Baptized, a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his being ingrafting/ed into Christ/him, of regeneration ,fellowship with him, in his death, and resurrection;









of remission of sins;












and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ,


to live and walk in newness of life:


 which sacrament is, by Christ's own appointment, to be continued in his Church until the end of the world.

II./3. The outward element to be used in the sacrament this ordinance is water, where-with/in





the party is to be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost Spirit,


by a minister of the gospel, lawfully called thereunto.


III./4. Immersion, or Dipping of the person into the water is not necessary to the due administration of this ordinance; but baptism is rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person.

IV./2. Not only those that do actually profess repentance towards God, faith in and obedience unto our Lord Jesus Christ,


but also the infants of one or both believing parents are to be baptized.














the only proper subjects of this ordinance.

V. Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it as that no person can be regenerated or saved without it, or that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated.

VI. The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered; yet, notwithstanding, by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is not only offered, but really exhibited and conferred by the Holy Ghost, to such (whether of age or infants) as that grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God's own will, in his appointed time.


VII. The sacrament of Baptism is but once to be administered to any person.

(From Article 34) We believe and confess that Jesus Christ, in whom the law is fulfilled, has by his shed blood put an end to every other shedding of blood, which anyone might do or wish to do in order to atone or satisfy for sins.

Having abolished circumcision, which was done with blood, he established in its place the sacrament of baptism.





By it we are received into God's church and set apart from all other people and alien religions, that we may be dedicated entirely to him, bearing his mark and sign.







but our Lord gives what the sacrament signifies-- namely the invisible gifts and graces; washing, purifying, and cleansing our souls of all filth and unrighteousness; renewing our hearts and filling them with all comfort; giving us true assurance of his fatherly goodness; clothing us with the "new man" and stripping off the "old," with all its works.


In this way he signifies to us that just as water washes away the dirt of the body when it is poured on us and also is seen on the body of the baptized when it is sprinkled on him, so too the blood of Christ does the same thing internally, in the soul, by the Holy Spirit. It washes and cleanses it from its sins and transforms us from being the children of wrath into the children of God. This does not happen by the physical water but by the sprinkling of the precious blood of the Son of God, who is our Red Sea, through which we must pass to escape the tyranny of Pharoah, who is the devil,


It also witnesses to us that he will be our God forever, since he is our gracious Father.



and to enter the spiritual land of Canaan.








Therefore he has commanded that all those who belong to him


be baptized with pure water in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.



So ministers, as far as their work is concerned, give us the sacrament and what is visible,











We believe our children ought to be baptized and sealed with the sign of the covenant, as little children were circumcised in Israel on the basis of the same promises made to our children.

And truly, Christ has shed his blood no less for washing the little children of believers than he did for adults.

Therefore they ought to receive the sign and sacrament of what Christ has done for them, just as the Lord commanded in the law that by offering a lamb for them the sacrament of the suffering and death of Christ would be granted them shortly after their birth. This was the sacrament of Jesus Christ.

Furthermore, baptism does for our children what circumcision did for the Jewish people. That is why Paul calls baptism the "circumcision of Christ.



















For this reason we believe that anyone who aspires to reach eternal life ought to be baptized only once without ever repeating it-- for we cannot be born twice.


Yet this baptism is profitable not only when the water is on us and when we receive it but throughout our entire lives. For that reason we detest the error of the Anabaptists who are not content with a single baptism once received and also condemn the baptism of the children of believers.

WC 29 / LBC 30 Of the Lord's Supper


1. Our Lord Jesus,


in the was instituted by him, the same night wherein he was betrayed,


instituted the sacrament of his body and blood, called the Lord's Supper,


to be observed in his Churches unto the end of the world,


for the perpetual remembrance of, and showing forth the sacrifice of himself in his death,


confirmation of the sealing faith of believers in all the benefits thereof unto true believers,


their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him,


their further engagement in, and to, all duties which they owe unto him;


and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him,


and with each other, as members of his mystical body.



2. In this sacrament ordinance Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all, for remission of sins of the quick or dead, but only a commemoration/memorial of that one offering up of himself, by himself, upon the cross, once for all; and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same; so that the Popish sacrifice of the Mass (as they call it,) is most abominable, injurious to Christ's one own only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect. 

3. The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to declare his word of institution to the people, to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to an holy use, and to take and break the bread, to take the cup, and (they communicating also themselves) to give both to the communicants; but to none who are not then present in the congregation.

4. Private masses, or receiving this sacrament by a priest, or any other, alone; as likewise the denial of the cup to the people; worshipping the elements, the lifting them up, or carrying them about for adoration, and the reserving them for any pretended religious use, are all contrary to the nature of this sacrament Ordinance, and to the institution of Christ.

5. The outward elements in this sacramentOrdinance, duly set apart to the uses ordained by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that truly, yet sacramentally onlyalthough in terms used figuratively,


they are sometimes called by the name of the things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ; albeit, in substance, and nature, they still remain truly, and only, bread and wine, as they were before.

6. That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the substance of Christ's body and blood (commonly called transubstantiation) by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant, not to Scripture alone, but even to common- sense and reason; overthroweth the nature of the sacrament; ordinance, and hath been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries.

7. Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this sacrament Ordinance, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally, and corporally, but spiritually, receive, and feed upon Christ crucified,











































and all the benefits of his death:








the body and blood of Christ, being then not corporally,or carnally in, with, or under the bread and wine; yet as really, but spiritually, present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.




8. Although ignorant and wicked men receive the outward elements in this sacrament,


yet they receive not the thing signified thereby;





but by their yea whosoever shall receive unworthy/ily coming thereunto are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord eating and drinking judgment to themselves, to their own damnation.


Wherefore all ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion with him, Christ; so are they unworthy of the Lord's table, and can not, without great sin against Christ him, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries, or be admitted thereunto.

(From Article 35) We believe and confess that


Our Savior Jesus Christ has





ordained and instituted the sacrament of the Holy Supper





 in a holy remembrance of the death of Christ our Savior,



and as we thus confess our faith and Christian religion.




to nourish and sustain those who are already born again and ingrafted into his family: his church.





He is communicated only to believers.



Finally, with humility and reverence we receive the holy sacrament in the gathering of God's people, as we engage together, with thanksgiving,






























































Now those who are born again have two lives in them. The one is physical and temporal-- they have it from the moment of their first birth, and it is common to all. The other is spiritual and heavenly, and is given them in their second birth; it comes through the Word of the gospel in the communion of the body of Christ; and this life is common to God's elect only.

Thus, to support the physical and earthly life God has prescribed for us an appropriate earthly and material bread, which is as common to all as life itself also is. But to maintain the spiritual and heavenly life that belongs to believers he has sent a living bread that came down from heaven: namely Jesus Christ, who nourishes and maintains the spiritual life of believers when eaten-- that is, when appropriated and received spiritually by faith.

To represent to us this spiritual and heavenly bread Christ has instituted an earthly and visible bread as the sacrament of his body and wine as the sacrament of his blood. He did this to testify to us that just as truly as we take and hold the sacraments in our hands and eat and drink it in our mouths, by which our life is then sustained, so truly we receive into our souls, for our spiritual life, the true body and true blood of Christ, our only Savior. We receive these by faith, which is the hand and mouth of our souls.

Now it is certain that Jesus Christ did not prescribe his sacraments for us in vain, since he works in us all he represents by these holy signs, although the manner in which he does it goes beyond our understanding and is incomprehensible to us, just as the operation of God's Spirit is hidden and incomprehensible.


Yet we do not go wrong when we say that what is eaten is Christ's own natural body and what is drunk is his own blood-- but the manner in which we eat it is not by the mouth but by the Spirit, through faith.

In that way Jesus Christ remains always seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven-- but he never refrains on that account to communicate himself to us through faith.


This banquet is a spiritual table at which Christ communicates himself to us with all his benefits. At that table he makes us enjoy himself as much as the merits of his suffering and death, as he nourishes, strengthens, and comforts our poor, desolate souls by the eating of his flesh, and relieves and renews them by the drinking of his blood.


[Yet we do not go wrong when we say that what is eaten is Christ's own natural body and what is drunk is his own blood-- but the manner in which we eat it is not by the mouth but by the Spirit, through faith.]



Moreover, though the sacraments and thing signified are joined together, not all receive both of them.


The wicked person certainly takes the sacrament, to his condemnation,



but does not receive the truth of the sacrament,


just as Judas and Simon the Sorcerer both indeed received the sacrament, but not Christ, who was signified by it.


[The wicked person certainly takes the sacrament, to his condemnation,]












 Therefore no one should come to this table without examining himself carefully, lest "by eating this bread and drinking this cup he eat and drink to his own judgment." In short, by the use of this holy sacrament we are moved to a fervent love of God and our neighbors. Therefore we reject as desecrations of the sacraments all the muddled ideas and damnable inventions that men have added and mixed in with them. And we say that we should be content with the procedure that Christ and the apostles have taught us and speak of these things as they have spoken of them.

WC 30 Of Church Censures

The Lord Jesus, as king and head of his Church, hath therein appointed a government in the hand of Church officers,

distinct from the civil magistrate.





II. To these officers the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven are committed, by virtue whereof they have power respectively to retain and remit sins, to shut that kingdom against the impenitent, both by the word and censures; and to open it unto penitent sinners, by the ministry of the gospel, and by absolution from censures, as occasion: shall require.

III. Church censures are necessary for the reclaiming and gaining of offending brethren; for deterring of others from like offenses; for purging out of that leaven which might infect the whole lump; for vindicating the honor of Christ, and the holy profession of the gospel; and for preventing the wrath of God, which might justly fall upon the Church, if they should suffer his covenant, and the seals thereof, to be profaned by notorious and obstinate offenders.








IV. For the better attaining of these ends, the officers of the Church are to proceed by admonition, suspension from the sacrament of the Lord's Supper for a season, and by excommunication from the Church, according to the nature of the crime, and demerit of the person.






(From Article 32) Therefore we reject all human innovations and all laws imposed on us, in our worship of God, which bind and force our consciences in any way.






















We also believe that although it is useful and good for those who govern the churches to establish and set up a certain order among themselves for maintaining the body of the church, they ought always to guard against deviating from what Christ, our only Master, has ordained for us.


So we accept only what is proper to maintain harmony and unity and to keep all in obedience to God. To that end excommunication, with all it involves, according to the Word of God, is required.


WC 31 Of Synods and Councils

1. For the better government and further edification of the Church, there ought to be such assemblies as are commonly called synods or councils.

II. As magistrates may lawfully call a synod of ministers and other fit persons to consult and advise with about matters of religion; so, if magistrates be open enemies of the Church, the ministers of Christ, of themselves, by virtue of their office, or they, with other fit persons, upon delegation from their churches, may meet together in such assemblies.

III. It belongeth to synods and councils, ministerially, to determine controversies of faith, and cases of conscience; to set down rules and directions for the better ordering of the public worship of God, and government of his Church; to receive complaints in cases of maladministration, and authoritatively to determine the same: which decrees and determinations, if consonant to the Word of God, are to be received with reverence and submission, not only for their agreement with the Word, but also for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordinance of God, appointed thereunto in his Word.

IV. All synods or councils since the apostles' times, whether general or particular, may err, and many have erred; therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith or practice, but to be used as a help in both.

V. Synods and councils are to handle or conclude nothing but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or by way of advice for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.












































WC 32 / LBC 31 Of the State of Man After Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead.

The bodies of men, after death, return to dust, and see corruption; but their souls (which neither die nor sleep), having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous, being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens,paradise where they are with Christ, and behold the face of God, in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked, are cast into hell,; where they remain in torments and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day. Besides these two places for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.


2. At the last day, such of the Saints as are found alive


shall not die sleep


but be changed:



and all the dead


shall be raised up


with the self- same bodies, and none other,; although with different qualities,


which shall be united again to their souls forever.

3. The bodies of the unjust shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonor; the bodies of the just, by his Spirit, unto honor, and be made conformable to his own glorious body.





















(From Article 37) And as for those who are still alive,



they will not die like the others


but will be changed "in the twinkling of an eye" from "corruptible to incorruptible."


For all those who died before that time


will be raised from the earth,


their spirits being joined and united with their own bodies in which they lived.

WC 33 / LBC 32 Of the Last Judgment



1. God hath appointed a day,







wherein he will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ,;



to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father. Inwhich day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged;


but likewise all persons, that have lived upon the earth, shall appear before the tribunal of Christ,



to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds; and to receive




according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.
















2. The end of God's appointing this day, is for the manifestation of the glory of his mercy in the eternal salvation of the elect; and of his justice in the Eternal damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient.


For then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fullness of joy and refreshing which shall come from Glory, with everlasting reward, in the presence of the Lord:











but the wicked, who know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, and punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.





3. As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a day of judgment, both to deter all men from sin, and for the greater consolation of the godly, in their adversity: so will he have that day unknown to men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, because they know not at what hour, the Lord will come; and may ever be prepared to say,





Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen.

(From Article 37) Finally we believe, according to God's Word,


that when the time appointed by the Lord is come (which is unknown to all creatures)


and the number of the elect is complete, our Lord Jesus Christ will come from heaven, bodily and visibly, as he ascended, with great glory and majesty,


to declare himself the judge of the living and the dead.


He will burn this old world, in fire and flame, in order to cleanse it.





Then all human creatures will appear in person before the great judge-- men, women, and children, who have lived from the beginning until the end of the world.

They will be summoned there by the voice of the archangel and by the sound of the divine trumpet.



Then "the books" (that is, the consciences) will be opened, and the dead will be judged


according to the things they did in the world, whether good or evil.


Indeed, all people will give account of all the idle words they have spoken, which the world regards as only playing games. And then the secrets and hypocrisies of men will be publicly uncovered in the sight of all. Therefore, with good reason the thought of this judgment is horrible and dreadful to wicked and evil people. But it is very pleasant and a great comfort to the righteous and elect, since their total redemption will then be accomplished. They will then receive the fruits of their labor and of the trouble they have suffered; their innocence will be openly recognized by all; and they will see the terrible vengeance that God will bring on the evil ones who tyrannized, oppressed, and tormented them in this world.













The faithful and elect will be crowned with glory and honor. The Son of God will "confess their names" before God his Father and the holy and elect angels; all tears will be "wiped from their eyes"; and their cause-- at present condemned as heretical and evil by many judges and civil officers-- will be acknowledged as the "cause of the Son of God."

And as a gracious reward the Lord will make them possess a glory such as the heart of man could never imagine.







The evil ones will be convicted by the witness of their own consciences, and shall be made immortal--but only to be tormented in the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.











So we look forward to that great day with longing in order to enjoy fully the promises of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.


Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus (Rev 22:20.)


For commentary on the differences between the Westminster and London Baptist Confessions, please see



Conflation of the Belgic, Westminster, and the London Baptist Confessions

By Nate Wilson

I made this document by copying all the words and phrases which were exactly the same between these three great reformed confessions, as well as those where clearly synonymous words and phrases occurred, then strung them together as best I could, adding connecting words only when necessary. Note that although the Belgic was the first to be written, I followed the order of subject material presented in the Westminster Confession as well as the words used by the Westminster when synonymous words were used in the Belgic. I kept phrases held in common between the Belgic and Westminster not found in the London (such as creation ex nihilo) and marked these with a strikethrough. I also kept phrases held in common between the Belgic and London Baptist (such as the avoidance of double predestination) and marked these with underlining. I thought it was interesting that the London Baptist more often followed the text of the Belgic than the Westminster did.


Creation leaves men inexcusable, but God is also revealed in Holy Scripture, the Word of God committed unto writing in the Old and New Testament, which are these: Of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obad­iah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechar­iah, Malachi, Of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts of the Apostles, Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinth­ians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalon­ians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon to the Hebrews, The Epistle of James, The First and Second, Epistles of Peter, The First, Second, and, Third Epistles of John, of Jude, The Revelation. Nothing is to be added, nor traditions of men. (The Apocrypha books are no part of the Canon.) These are the rule of faith, the whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for salvation. Their authority is to be believed not upon the Church but upon God, evidencing it[self] to be of God; the Holy Spirit, bearing witness in our hearts.


The doctrine of the Trinity is: There is only one God infinite, pure, spirit, invisible, immutable, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, abundant in goodness, just. In the unity of God there are three Persons distinguished by peculiar properties: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, of one substance (Essence) . The Father is of none, the Son is of the Father, and the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father and the Son, yet one God not to be divided.


God, in His eternal, unchangeable counsel predestinated (fore-ordained) ­some through Jesus Christ to life/salvation, out of his mere grace without any foresight of good works; others He left to their condemnation.


The Father and Son created of nothing the world and all things and made all creatures­.


God the good Creator of all things doth direct and govern by his holy will. In relation to the decree of God all things come to pass - not any thing, befalls any without his Providence. The power and the unsearchable and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in his providence even to sinful actions of angels and men. God is not nor can be the author of sin. The providence of God reaches to all creatures and takes care of his Church.


God created Man upright and perfect. Man did willfully transgress the command given unto them. By this sin they fell from God and became wholly defiled, being made subject to death, and the corrupted nature was conveyed to their posterity. From this original corruption we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to  good. From this root proceed all transgressions, although it be through Christ pardoned.


God condescended with the (covenants) promise of the seed of the woman­­­­­­­­­­­, his Son. When the fullness of time was come the Son took man's nature and its infirmities – yet without sin, being conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Thus two distinct natures were inseparably joined together in one person, which is very God and very man, to be a Mediator.


He was made Sin for us and underwent the punishment and most painful sufferings and death,, satisfying the justice of God, and procured for us an everlasting inheritance, thus Christ is Mediator between God and Man.


Of Free Will: At creation, Man could will and do that which was good and well-pleasing to God, but lost all by sinning. Now he is not able, being in bondage under sin. It is God who enables him to will and to do good.