On each Lord’s Day this year, we will reproduce devotional articles taken from The Belgic Confession. The Belgic Confession, written in 1561, owes its origin to the need for a clear and comprehensive statement of Reformed Theology during the time of the Spanish inquisition in the Lowlands. Guido de Brès, its primary author, was pleading for understanding and toleration from King Philip II of Spain who was determined to root out all Protestant factions in his jurisdiction. Hence, this confession takes pains to point out the continuity of Reformed Theology with that of the ancient Christian creeds.
The oldest of the doctrinal standards of the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America is the Confession of Faith, popularly known as the Belgic Confession, following the seventeenth-century Latin designation “Confessio Belgica.” “Belgica” referred to the whole of the Netherlands, both north and south, which today is divided into the Netherlands and Belgium. The confession’s chief author was Guido de Brès, a preacher of the Reformed churches of the Netherlands, who died a martyr to the faith in the year 1567.
During the sixteenth century the churches in this country were exposed to terrible persecution by the Roman Catholic government. To protest against this cruel oppression, and to prove to the persecutors that the adherents of the Reformed faith were not rebels, as was laid to their charge, but law-abiding citizens who professed the true Christian doctrine according to the Holy Scriptures, de Brès prepared this confession in the year 1561. In the following year a copy was sent to King Philip II, together with an address in which the petitioners declared that they were ready to obey the government in all lawful things, but that they would “offer their backs to stripes, their tongues to knives, their mouths to gags, and their whole bodies to the fire,” rather than deny the truth expressed in this confession.
Along with The Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dort, The Belgic Confession comprise what is collectively referred to as the Thee Forms of Unity. Article #10 of the Belgic Confession is as follows.
Article #10: The Deity of Christ.
We believe that Jesus Christ, according to his divine nature, is the only Son of God—eternally begotten, not made or created, for then he would be a creature.
He is one in essence with the Father; coeternal; the exact image of the person of the Father and the “reflection of God’s glory,”13 being like the Father in all things.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God not only from the time he assumed our nature
but from all eternity, as the following testimonies teach us when they are taken together.
Moses says that God created the world;14 and John says that all things were created through the Word,15 which he calls God.
The apostle says that God created the world through the Son.16 He also says that God created all things through Jesus Christ.17
And so it must follow that the one who is called God, the Word, the Son, and Jesus Christ already existed before creating all things. Therefore the prophet Micah says
that Christ’s origin is “from ancient days.”18 And the apostle says that the Son has “neither beginning of days nor end of life.”19
So then, he is the true eternal God, the Almighty, whom we invoke, worship,
Soli deo Gloria!