2.申 6:4; 林前 8:4, 6; 提前 2:5
6.西 1:15; 提前 6:16
8.王上 8:27; 耶 23:24
9.创17:1; 太 19:26; 启 1:8
11.罗 3:25, 26; 罗 9:14; 启 16:5,7
We all believe with the heart and confess with the mouth that there is only one God, who is a simple and spiritual Being; He is eternal, incomprehensible, invisible, immutable, infinite, almighty, perfectly wise, just, good, and the overflowing fountain of all good.
2.诗 19:7, 8; 林前 1:18-21
We know Him by two means: First, by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe; which is before our eyes as a most beautiful book, wherein all creatures, great and small, are as so many letters leading us to perceive clearly the invisible qualities of God namely His eternal power and deity, as the apostle Paul says in Rom_1:20. All these things are sufficient to convict men and leave them without excuse. Second, He makes Himself more clearly and fully known to us by His holy and divine Word as far as is necessary for us in this life, to His glory and our salvation.
1.出 34:27; 诗 102:18; 启 1:11,19
We confess that this Word of God did not come by the impulse of man, but that men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God, as the apostle Peter says. Thereafter, in His special care for us and our salvation, God commanded His servants, the prophets and apostles, to commit His revealed word to writing and He Himself wrote with His own finger the two tables of the law. Therefore we call such writings holy and divine Scriptures.
We believe that the Holy Scriptures consist of two parts, namely, the Old and the New Testament, which are canonical, against which nothing can be alleged. These books are listed in the Church of God as follows.
The books of the Old Testament: the five books of Moses, namely, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 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, and Malachi.
The books of the New Testament: the four gospels, namely, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; the Acts of the Apostles; the thirteen letters of the apostle Paul, namely, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon; the letter to the Hebrews; the seven other letters, namely, James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2 and 3 John, Jude; and the Revelation to the apostle John.
2.提后 3:16, 17.
3.林前 12:3; 约壹 4:6, 约壹 5:7.
4.申 18:21, 22; 王上 22:28; 耶 28:9; 结 33:33
We receive all these books, and these only, as holy and canonical, for the regulation, foundation, and confirmation of our faith. We believe without any doubt all things contained in them, not so much because the Church receives and approves them as such, but especially because the Holy Spirit witnesses in our hearts that they are from God, and also because they contain the evidence thereof in themselves; for, even the blind are able to perceive that the things foretold in them are being fulfilled.
We distinguish these holy books from the apocryphal, namely, 3 and 4 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, additions to Esther, the Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men in the Furnace, Susannah, Bel and the Dragon, the Prayer of Manasseh, and 1 and 2 Maccabees. The Church may read and take instruction from these so far as they agree with the canonical books. They are, however, far from having such power and authority that we may confirm from their testimony any point of faith or of the Christian religion; much less may they be used to detract from the authority of the holy books.
1.提后 3:16, 17; 彼前 1:10-12
3.申 4:2, 箴30:6; 徒26:22; 林前4:6; 启22:18, 19.
4.诗 19:7; 约15:15; 徒18:28; 徒20:27; 罗15:4.
5.可7:7-9; 徒4:19; 西2:8; 约壹2:19.
6.申 4:5, 6; 赛8:20; 林前3:11; 弗4:4-6; 帖后 2:2; 提后 3:14, 15.
We believe that this Holy Scripture fully contains the will of God and that all that man must believe in order to be saved is sufficiently taught therein. The whole manner of worship which God requires of us is written in it at length. It is therefore unlawful for any one, even for an apostle, to teach otherwise than we are now taught in Holy Scripture: yes, even if it be an angel from heaven, as the apostle Paul says. Since it is forbidden to add to or take away anything from the Word of God, it is evident that the doctrine thereof is most perfect and complete in all respects.
We may not consider any writings of men, however holy these men may have been, of equal value with the divine Scriptures; nor ought we to consider custom, or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times and persons, or councils, decrees or statutes, as of equal value with the truth of God, since the truth is above all; for all men are of themselves liars, and lighter than a breath. We therefore reject with all our heart whatever does not agree with this infallible rule, as the apostles have taught us: Test the spirits to see whether they are of God. Likewise: If any one comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting.
2.太3:16, 17; 太28:19
4.箴8:22-31; 约1:14; 约5:17-26; 林前1:24; 西1:15-20; 来1:3; 启19:13
6.弥5:2; 约1:1, 2
According to this truth and this Word of God, we believe in one only God, who is one single essence, in which are three persons, really, truly, and eternally distinct according to their incommunicable properties; namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is the cause, origin, and beginning of all things visible and invisible. The Son is the Word, the wisdom, and the image of the Father. The Holy Spirit is the eternal power and might who proceeds from the Father and the Son. Nevertheless, God is not by this distinction divided into three, since the Holy Scriptures teach us that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each has His personal existence, distinguished by Their properties; but in such a way that these three persons are but one only God.
It is therefore evident that the Father is not the Son, nor the Son the Father, and likewise the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son. Nevertheless, these persons thus distinguished are not divided, nor intermixed; for the Father has not assumed our flesh and blood, neither has the Holy Spirit, but the Son only. The Father has never been without His Son, or without His Holy Spirit. For They are all three co-eternal and co-essential. There is neither first nor last; for They are all three one, in truth, in power, in goodness, and in mercy.
虽然此教义远超越众人的理解力，然而，我们在今生因着神的话而相信此教义，并且盼望将来在天上能有完全的知识，享受其福益。此外，我们必须注意到三个位格在我们身上执行不同的职份和工作。圣父藉着祂的大能，被称为我们的创造主；圣子藉其宝血，被称为我们的救赎主；圣礼藉着住在我们心中，被称为我们的安慰者。从使徒时代直到如今，三位一体的教义一直为真教会所持守，用以对抗犹太教、伊斯兰教，以及反驳假基督徒和异端份子，如马吉安，摩尼，帕克西亚，撒伯流，撒摩撒他的保罗和亚流等人，这些人都已被教会的正统教父们定为异端。因此，在这教义上，我们乐意接受《使徒信经》 、《尼西亚信经》和《亚他拿修信经》 ；以及其他与此不相违悖，且受到教父们一致认可的信经。
1. 约14:16; 约15:26; 徒2:32, 33; 罗8:9; 加4:6; 多3:4-6; 彼前 1:2; 约壹4:13, 14; 约壹5:1-12; 犹20, 21; 启1:4, 5.
2. 太 3:16.
All this we know both from the testimonies of Holy Scripture and from the respective works of the three Persons, and especially those we perceive in ourselves. The testimonies of Scripture which lead us to believe this Holy Trinity are written in many places of the Old Testament. It is not necessary to mention them all; it is sufficient to select some with discretion.
In the book of Genesis God says: Let Us make man in our image after our likeness …. So God created man in His own image …; male and female He created them. Also: Behold, the man has become like one of Us. From God‘s saying, Let Us make man in Our image, it appears that there are more divine persons than one; and when He says, God created, He indicates that there is one God. It is true, He does not say how many persons there are, but what seems to be somewhat obscure in the Old Testament is very plain in the New Testament. For when our Lord was baptized in the river Jordan, the voice of the Father was heard, who said, This is My beloved Son; the Son was seen in the water, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form as a dove. For the baptism of all believers Christ prescribed this formula: Baptize all nations into the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. In the gospel according to Luke the angel Gabriel thus addressed Mary, the mother of our Lord: The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. Likewise: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. In all these places we are fully taught that there are three persons in one only divine essence.
Although this doctrine far surpasses all human understanding, nevertheless in this life we believe it on the ground of the Word of God, and we expect to enjoy its perfect knowledge and fruit hereafter in heaven.
Moreover, we must observe the distinct offices and works of these three Persons towards us. The Father is called our Creator by His power; the Son is our Saviour and Redeemer by His blood; the Holy Spirit is our Sanctifier by His dwelling in our hearts. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity has always been maintained and preserved in the true Church since the time of the apostles to this very day, over against Jews, Muslims, and against false Christians and heretics such as Marcion, Mani, Praxeas, Sabellius, Paul of Samosata, Arius, and such like, who have been justly condemned by the orthodox fathers. In this doctrine, therefore, we willingly receive the three creeds, of the Apostles, of Nicea, and of Athanasius; likewise that which in accordance with them is agreed upon by the early fathers.
1. 太17:5; 约1:14, 18; 约3:16; 约14:1-14; 约20:17, 31; 罗1:4; 加4:4; 来1:2; 约壹5:5, 9-12.
2. 约5:18, 23; 约10:30; 约14:9; 约20:28; 罗9:5; 腓 2:6; 西1:15; 多2:13; 来1:3; 启5:13.
3. 约8:58; 约17:5; 来13:8.
7. 林前8:6; 西1:16.
We believe that Jesus Christ according to His divine nature is the only begotten Son of God, begotten from eternity, not made, nor created – for then He would be a creature – but of the same essence with the Father, equally-eternal, who reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of His nature, and is equal to Him in all things. He is the Son of God, not only from the time that He assumed our nature but from all eternity, as these testimonies, when compared with each other, teach us: Moses says that God created the world; the apostle John says that all things were made by the Word which he calls God. The letter to the Hebrews says that God made the world through His Son; likewise the apostle Paul says that God created all things through Jesus Christ.
Therefore it must necessarily follow that He who is called God, the Word, the Son, and Jesus Christ, did exist at that time when all things were created by Him. Therefore He could say, Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am, and He prayed, Glorify Thou Me in Thy own presence with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was made. And so He is true, eternal God, the Almighty, whom we invoke, worship, and serve.
1. 约 14:15-26; 约 15:26; 罗8:9.
2. 创1:2; 太28:19; 徒5:3, 4; 林前 2:10; 林前 3:16; 林前 6:11; 约壹 5:7.
We believe and confess also that the Holy Spirit from eternity proceeds from the Father and the Son. He is neither made, created, nor begotten, but He can only be said to proceed from both. In order He is the third Person of the Holy Trinity, of one and the same essence, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son, true and eternal God, as the Holy Scriptures teach us.
1.创1:1; 创2:3; 赛40:26; 耶 32:17; 西1:15, 16; 提前 4:3; 来11:3; 启4:11.
2.诗103:20, 21; 太4:11; 来1:14.
3.约 8:44; 彼后 2:4; 犹6.
4.创3:1-5; 彼前 5:8.
5.弗6:12; 启12:4, 13-17; 启20:7-9.
6.太8:29; 太25:41; 启20:10.
We believe that the Father through the Word, that is, through His Son, has created out of nothing heaven and earth and all creatures, when it seemed good to Him, and that He has given to every creature its being, shape, and form, and to each its specific task and function to serve its Creator. We believe that He also continues to sustain and govern them according to His eternal providence and by His infinite power in order to serve man, to the end that man may serve his God.
He also created the angels good, to be His messengers and to serve His elect. Some of these have fallen from the exalted position in which God created them into everlasting perdition, but the others have by the grace of God remained steadfast and continued in their first state. The devils and evil spirits are so depraved that they are enemies of God and of all that is good. With all their might, they lie in wait like murderers to ruin the Church and all its members and to destroy everything by their wicked devices. They are therefore by their own wickedness sentenced to eternal damnation and daily expect their horrible torments.
Therefore we detest and reject the error of the Sadducees, who deny that there are any spirits and angels; and also the error of the Manichees, who say that the devils were not created, but have their origin of themselves, and that without having become corrupted, they are wicked by their own nature.
1.约 5:17; 来1:3.
2.诗115:3; 箴16:1, 9, 33; 箴21:1; 弗1:11, 12; 雅4:13-15.
4.伯1:21; 赛10:5; 赛45:7; 摩3:6; 徒2:23; 徒4:27, 28.
5.王上22:19-23; 罗1:28; 帖后2:11.
6.申29:29; 林前 4:6.
7.创45:8; 创50:20; 撒下16:10; 罗8:28, 38, 39.
We believe that this good God, after He had created all things, did not abandon them or give them up to fortune or chance, but that according to His holy will He so rules and governs them that in this world nothing happens without His direction. Yet God is not the Author of the sins which are committed nor can He be charged with them. For His power and goodness are so great and beyond understanding that He ordains and executes His work in the most excellent and just manner, even when devils and wicked men act unjustly. And as to His actions surpassing human understanding, we will not curiously inquire farther than our capacity allows us. But with the greatest humility and reverence we adore the just judgments of God, which are hidden from us, and we content ourselves that we are pupils of Christ, who have only to learn those things which He teaches us in His Word, without transgressing these limits.
This doctrine gives us unspeakable consolation, for we learn thereby that nothing can happen to us by chance, but only by the direction of our gracious heavenly Father. He watches over us with fatherly care, keeping all creatures so under His power that not one hair of our head – for they are all numbered – nor one sparrow can fall to the ground without the will of our Father. In this we trust, because we know that He holds in check the devil and all our enemies so that they cannot hurt us without His permission and will.
We therefore reject the damnable error of the Epicureans, who say that God does not concern Himself with anything but leaves all things to chance.
1.创2:7; 创3:19; 传12:7.
2.创1:26, 27; 弗4:24; 西3:10.
4.创2:17; 弗2:1; 弗4:18.
5.诗94:11; 罗3:10; 罗8:6.
We believe that God created man of dust from the ground and He made and formed him after His own image and likeness, good, righteous, and holy. His will could conform to the will of God in every respect. But, when man was in this high position, he did not appreciate it nor did he value his excellency. He gave ear to the words of the devil and wilfully subjected himself to sin and consequently to death and the curse. For he transgressed the commandment of life which he had received; by his sin he broke away from God, who was his true life; he corrupted his whole nature. By all this he made himself liable to physical and spiritual death.
Since man became wicked and perverse, corrupt in all his ways, he has lost all his excellent gifts which he had once received from God. He has nothing left but some small traces, which are sufficient to make man inexcusable. For whatever light is in us has changed into darkness, as Scripture teaches us, The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it; where the apostle John calls mankind darkness.
Therefore we reject all teaching contrary to this concerning the free will of man, since man is but a slave to sin and no one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven. For who dares to boast that he of himself can do any good, when Christ says: No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him* Who will glory in his own will, when he understands that the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God* Who can speak of his knowledge, since the unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God* In short, who dares to claim anything, when he realizes that we are not competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but that our competence is from God* Therefore what the apostle says must justly remain sure and firm: God is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure. For there is no understanding nor will conformable to the understanding and will of God unless Christ has brought it about; as He teaches us: Apart from Me you can do nothing.
我们相信由于亚当的悖逆，原罪已遍布全人类 1 。它是一种人性的全然败坏 2 和遗传的罪恶，它还具有遗传性，因而所有人都受其污染，甚至母腹中的婴孩 3 也不例外。它是人各样罪恶的根源。因此，在神的眼中，原罪是如此邪恶和可憎的，足以使全人类被定罪 4 。原罪即使藉着洗礼也不能根除或终止 5 ，因为罪是从悲惨的源头而不断涌出的。尽管如此，原罪并不因为归算给神的儿女，而使他们被定罪，反而是藉着祂的恩典与怜悯赦免了他们 6 。这并不意味着信徒可以安逸于他们的罪恶之中，而是这种败坏的意识可以使他们时常叹息，急切渴求脱离这取死的身体。就此而言，我们拒绝伯拉纠派的错谬，他们说罪仅仅是模仿而来的。
3.伯14:4; 诗51:5; 约3:6.
We believe that, when the entire offspring of Adam plunged into perdition and ruin by the transgression of the first man, God manifested Himself to be as He is: merciful and just. Merciful, in rescuing and saving from this perdition those whom in His eternal and unchangeable counsel He has elected in Jesus Christ our Lord by His pure goodness, without any consideration of their works. Just, in leaving the others in the fall and perdition into which they have plunged themselves.
2.玛1:2, 3; 罗 9:11-13; 提后 1:9; 多3:4, 5.
3.约6:37, 44; 约10:29; 约17:2, 9, 12; 约18:9.
4.约15:16, 19; 罗8:29; 弗1:4, 5.
5.撒上12:22; 诗65:4; 徒13:48; 罗9:16; 罗11:5; 多1:1.
We believe that, when the entire offspring of Adam plunged into perdition and ruin by the transgression of the first man, God manifested Himself to be as He is: merciful and just. Merciful, in rescuing and saving from this perdition those whom in His eternal and unchangeable counsel He has elected in Jesus Christ our Lord by His pure goodness, without any consideration of their works. Just, in leaving the others in the fall and perdition into which they have plunged themselves.
3.创22:18; 赛7:14; 约1:14; 约5:46; 约7:42; 徒13:32, 33; 罗1:2, 3; 加3:16; 提后2:8; 来7:14.
We believe that, when He saw that man had thus plunged himself into physical and spiritual death and made himself completely miserable, our gracious God in His marvellous wisdom and goodness set out to seek man when he trembling fled from Him. He comforted him with the promise that He would give him His Son, born of woman, to bruise the head of the serpent and to make man blessed.
1.创26:4; 撒下7:12-16; 诗132:11; 路1:55; 徒13:23.
3.提前2:5; 提前3:16; 来2:14.
4.林后5:21; 来7:26; 彼前2:22.
We confess, therefore, that God has fulfilled the promise He made to the fathers by the mouth of His holy prophets when, at the time appointed by Him, He sent into the world His own only-begotten and eternal son, who took the form of a servant and was born in the likeness of men. He truly assumed a real human nature with all its infirmities, without sin, for He was conceived in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit and not by the act of a man. He not only assumed human nature as to the body, but also a true human soul, in order that He might be a real man. For since the soul was lost as well as the body, it was necessary that He should assume both to save both.
Contrary to the heresy of the Anabaptists, who deny that Christ assumed human flesh of His mother, we therefore confess that Christ partook of the flesh and blood of the children.
He is a fruit of the loins of David;born of the seed of David according to the flesh;a fruit of the womb of the virgin Mary;born of woman;a branch of David;a shoot from the stump of Jesse;sprung from the tribe of Judah;descended from the Jews according to the flesh;of the seed of Abraham, since the Son was concerned with the descendants of Abraham. Therefore He had to be made like His brethren in every respect, yet without sin.In this way He is in truth our Immanuel, that is, God with us.
我们相信，因着圣灵感孕，圣子的位格与祂的人性是不可分离，联合在一起的 1。因此，并不是有两位圣子，圣子也不具有两个位格，乃是神人两性联合一个位格中。这二性各有其独特的属性：祂的神性总是非受造，无生之始，无命之终，充满天地 2；祂的人性并未失去其特性，有生之始，仍属受造，是有限的，具有真实肉体的一切属性 3。藉着复活，祂虽然拥有了不朽的人性，但祂并未改变其人性的真实性 4，因为我们的救赎和复活要取决于祂肉身真实性的成全 5。
因而，祂的神人二性是如此紧密地联合于一个位格之中，以至于此二性都没有因基督的受死而分离开。因此，当祂死时交付在父神手里的，是从祂身体分离出来的真实的人的灵魂 6。其间，祂的神性始终与人性联合在一起，甚至在祂躺在坟墓里的时候也不例外 7。祂的神性始终在祂里面，正如在孩童时期，其神性虽暂时没有显明出来，但也一直在祂里面一样。
1.约1:14; 约10:30; 罗9:5; 腓2:6, 7.
4.太26:11; 路24:39; 约20:25; 徒1:3, 11; 徒3:21; 来2:9.
5.林前 15:21; 腓3:21.
We believe that by this conception the person of the Son of God is inseparably united and joined with the human nature, so that there are not two sons of God, nor two persons, but two natures united in one single person. Each nature retains its own distinct properties: 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; it has beginning of days and remains created. It is finite and retains all the properties of a true body. Even though, by His resurrection, He has given immortality to His human nature, He has not changed its reality, since our salvation and resurrection also depend on the reality of His body.
However, these two natures are so closely united in one person that they were not even separated by His death. Therefore, what He, when dying, committed into the hands of His Father was a real human spirit that departed from His body. Meanwhile His divinity always remained united with His human nature, even when He was lying in the grave. And the divine nature always remained in Him just as it was in Him when He was a little child, even though it did not manifest itself as such for a little while.
For this reason we profess 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 according to the infirmity of His flesh.
We believe that God, who is perfectly merciful and just, sent His Son to assume that nature in which disobedience had been committed, to make satisfaction in that same nature; and to bear the punishment of sin by His most bitter passion and death. God therefore manifested His justice against His Son when He laid our iniquity on Him, and poured out His goodness and mercy on us, who were guilty and worthy of damnation. Out of a most perfect love He gave His Son to die for us and He raised Him for our justification that through Him we might obtain immortality and life eternal.
因此，我们应当用保罗的话说：“我们不知道别的，只知道耶稣基督并他钉十字架”。 我们“也将万事当作有损的，因我以认识我主基督耶稣为至宝” （腓3:8）。因祂所受的鞭伤，我们便得了安慰，藉着基督一次献上为祭，信徒就永远得以完全10，并不需要去寻求或发明与神和好的其他途径。这也就是为什么天使称祂为耶稣，即救赎主的缘故，因祂要将祂的百姓从他们的罪里拯救出来11。
1.诗 110:4; 来 7:15-17.
2.路24:25-27; 罗3:21; 林前15:3.
3.罗4:25; 罗5:8-9; 罗8:32; 加3:13; 西2:14; 来 2:9, 17; 来 9:11-15.
4.徒2:23; 腓2:8; 提前1:15; 来 9:22; 彼前1:18-19; 约壹1:7; 启7:14.
10.来7:26-28; 来 9:24-28.
We believe that Jesus Christ was confirmed by an oath to be a High Priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek. He presented Himself in our place before His Father, appeasing God‘s wrath by His full satisfaction, offering Himself on the tree of the cross, where He poured out His precious blood to purge away our sins, as the prophets had foretold. For it is written, Upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole and with His stripes we are healed. Like a lamb He was led to the slaughter. He was numbered with the transgressors, and condemned as a criminal by Pontius Pilate, though he had first declared Him innocent. He restored what He had not stolen. He died as the righteous for the unrighteous. He suffered in body and soul, feeling the horrible punishment caused by our sins, and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground. Finally, He exclaimed, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me* All this He endured for the forgiveness of our sins.
Therefore we justly say, with Paul, that we know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. We count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus our Lord. We find comfort in His wounds and have no need to seek or invent any other means of reconciliation with God than this only sacrifice, once offered, by which the believers are perfected for all times. This is also the reason why the angel of God called Him Jesus, that is, Saviour, because He would save His people from their sins.
1.约16:14; 林前2:12; 弗1:17-18.
2.约14:6; 徒4:12; 加2:21.
3.诗32:1; 太1:21; 路1:77; 徒13:38, 39; 罗8:1.
4.罗3:19-4:8; 罗10:4-11; 加2:16; 腓3:9; 多3:5.
6.耶23:6; 太20:28; 罗8:33; 林前1:30-31; 林后5:21; 约壹4:10.
We believe that, in order that we may obtain the true knowledge of this great mystery, the Holy Spirit kindles in our hearts a true faith. This faith embraces Jesus Christ with all His merits, makes Him our own, and does not seek anything besides Him. For it must necessarily follow, either that all we need for our salvation is not in Jesus Christ or, if it is all in Him, that one who has Jesus Christ through faith, has complete salvation. It is, therefore, a terrible blasphemy to assert that Christ is not sufficient, but that something else is needed besides Him; for the conclusion would then be that Christ is only half a Saviour.
Therefore we rightly say with Paul that we are justified by faith alone, or by faith apart from works of law. Meanwhile, strictly speaking, we do not mean that faith as such justifies us, for faith is only the instrument by which we embrace Christ our righteousness; He imputes to us all His merits and as many holy works as He has done for us and in our place. Therefore Jesus Christ is our righteousness, and faith is the instrument that keeps us with Him in the communion of all His benefits. When those benefits have become ours, they are more than sufficient to acquit us of our sins.
2. 林后5:18, 19; 弗2:8; 提前2:6.
3. 诗115:1; 启7:10-12.
4. 林前4:4; 雅2:10.
5. 徒4:12; 来 10:20.
7. 创3:7; 番3:11; 来 4:16; 约壹4:17-19.
8. 路16:15; 腓3:4-9.
We believe that our blessedness lies in the forgiveness of our sins for Jesus Christ‘s sake and that there our righteousness before God consists, as David and teach us. They pronounce a blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works. The apostle also says that we are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.
Therefore we always hold to this firm foundation. We give all the glory to God, humble ourselves before Him, and acknowledge ourselves to be what we are. We do not claim anything for ourselves or our merits, but rely and rest on the only obedience of Jesus Christ crucified; His obedience is ours when we believe in Him.
This is sufficient to cover all our iniquities and to give us confidence in drawing near to God, freeing our conscience of fear, terror, and dread, so that we do not follow the example of our first father, Adam, who trembling tried to hide and covered himself with fig leaves. For indeed, if we had to appear before God, relying – be it ever so little – on ourselves or some other creature, (woe be to us!) we would be consumed. Therefore everyone must say with David, O Lord, enter not into judgment with Thy servant, for no man living is righteous before Thee.
1.徒16:14; 罗10:17; 林前12:3.
2.结 36:26, 27; 约1:12, 13; 约3:5; 弗2:4-6; 多3:5; 彼前1:23.
3.约5:24; 约8:36; 罗6:4-6; 约壹3:9.
5.约15:5; 罗14:23; 提前1:5; 来 11:4, 6.
6.罗4:5. 7.太7:17. 8.林前1:30-31; 林前4:7; 弗2:10.
9.罗2:6, 7; 林前3:14; 约贰8; 启2:23.
12.哈 2:4; 太11:28; 罗10:11.
We believe that this true faith, worked in man by the hearing of God‘s Word and by the operation of the Holy Spirit, regenerates him and makes him a new man. It makes him live a new life and frees him from the slavery of sin. Therefore it is not true that this justifying faith makes man indifferent to living a good and holy life. On the contrary, without it no one would ever do anything out of love for God, but only out of self-love or fear of being condemned. It is therefore impossible for this holy faith to be inactive in man, for we do not speak of an empty faith but of what Scripture calls faith working through love. This faith induces man to apply himself to those works which God has commanded in His Word. These works, proceeding from the good root of faith, are good and acceptable in the sight of God, since they are all sanctified by His grace.
Nevertheless, they do not count toward our justification. For through faith in Christ we are justified, even before we do any good works. Otherwise they could not be good any more than the fruit of a tree can be good unless the tree itself is good.
Therefore we do good works, but not for merit. For what could we merit* We are indebted to God, rather than He to us, for the good works we do, since it is He who is at work in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Let us keep in mind what is written: So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.” Meanwhile we do not deny that God rewards good works, but it is by His grace that He crowns His gifts.
Furthermore, although we do good works, we do not base our salvation on them. We cannot do a single work that is not defiled by our flesh and does not deserve punishment. Even if we could show one good work, the remembrance of one sin is enough to make God reject it. We would then always be in doubt, tossed to and fro without any certainty, and our poor consciences would be constantly tormented, if they did not rely on the merit of the death and passion of our Saviour.
1.太27:51; 罗10:4; 来 9:9-10.
2.太5:17; 加3:24; 西2:17.
3.罗13:8-10; 罗15:4; 彼后1:19; 彼后3:2.
We believe that the ceremonies and symbols of the law have ceased with the coming of Christ, and that all shadows have been fulfilled, so that the use of them ought to be abolished among Christians. Yet their truth and substance remain for us in Jesus Christ, in whom they have been fulfilled.
In the meantime we still use the testimonies taken from the law and the prophets, both to confirm us in the doctrine of the gospel and to order our life in all honour, according to God‘s will and to His glory.
4.太11:28; 约15:13; 弗3:19; 约壹4:10.
6.太3:17; 约11:42; 弗1:6.
8.耶17:5, 7; 徒4:12.
10.约10:9; 弗2:18; 来9:24.
We believe that we have no access to God except through the only Mediator and Advocate Jesus Christ the righteous. For this purpose He became man, uniting together the divine and human nature, that we men might not be barred from but have access to the divine majesty. This Mediator, however, whom the Father has ordained between Himself and us, should not frighten us by His greatness, so that we look for another according to our fancy.
There is no creature in heaven or on earth who loves us more than Jesus Christ. Though He was in the form of God, He emptied Himself, taking the form of man and of a servant for us, and was made like His brethren in every respect. If, therefore, we had to look for another intercessor, could we find one who loves us more than He who laid down His life for us, even while we were His enemies* If we had to look for one who has authority and power, who has more than He who is seated at the right hand of the Father and who has all authority in heaven and on earth* Moreover, who will be heard more readily than God‘s own well-beloved Son*
Therefore it was pure lack of trust which introduced the custom of dishonouring the saints rather than honouring them, doing what they themselves never did nor required. On the contrary, they constantly rejected such honour according to their duty, as appears from their writings. Here one ought not to bring in our unworthiness, for it is not a question of offering our prayers on the basis of our own worthiness, but only on the basis of the excellence and worthiness of Jesus Christ, whose righteousness is ours by faith.
Therefore with good reason, to take away from us this foolish fear or rather distrust, the author of Hebrews says to us that Jesus Christ was made like His brethren in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered and been tempted, He is able to help those who are tempted. Further, to encourage us more to go to Him, he says: Since then we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
The same letter says: Therefore brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus . . . let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, etc. Also, Christ holds His priesthood permanently, because He continues forever. Consequently He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. What more is needed* Christ Himself says: I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me. Why should we look for another advocate* It has pleased God to give us His Son as our Advocate. Let us then not leave Him for another, or even look for another, without ever finding one. For when God gave Him to us, He knew very well that we were sinners.
In conclusion, according to the command of Christ, we call upon the heavenly Father through Christ our only Mediator, as we are taught in the Lord‘s prayer. We rest assured that we shall obtain all we ask of the Father in His Name.
1.创22:18; 赛49:6; 弗2:17-19.
2.诗111:1; 约10:14, 16; 弗4:3-6; 来12:22, 23.
4.珥 2:32; 徒2:21.
5.撒下7:16; 诗89:36; 诗110:4; 太28:18, 20; 路1:32.
6.赛1:9; 彼前3:20; 启11:7.
9.太23:8; 约4:21-23; 罗10:12-13.
10.诗119:63; 徒4:32; 弗4:4.
We believe and profess one catholic or universal Church, which is a holy congregation and assembly of the true Christian believers, who expect their entire salvation in Jesus Christ, are washed by His blood, and are sanctified and sealed by the Holy Spirit.
This Church has existed from the beginning of the world and will be to the end, for Christ is an eternal King who cannot be without subjects. This holy Church is preserved by God against the fury of the whole world, although for a while it may look very small and as extinct in the eyes of man. Thus during the perilous reign of Ahab, the Lord kept for Himself seven thousand persons who had not bowed their knees to Baal.
Moreover, this holy Church is not confined or limited to one particular place or to certain persons, but is spread and dispersed throughout the entire world. However, it is joined and united with heart and will, in one and the same Spirit, by the power of faith.
我们相信，既然此圣教会是得救之人的聚集，并且在她之外无救恩 1，那么就没有人可以将自己置身于教会之外而孤立地生活，无论他的身份或地位如何。相反，每一位信徒都必须加入教会并与之联合 2，维护教会的合一。他们必须顺服于教会的教导和纪律 3，背负耶稣基督的轭 4，并且基督的众肢体 5应当按着神所赐给他们的恩赐，服事弟兄姊妹，彼此造就 6。
为了更有效地遵守这一切，所有的信徒有责任依照神的话语，从那些不属于教会的人中分别为圣 7，同时加入神所设立的教会 8。即使有执政者掌权者法令的反对，或是受到由此而来的死亡和肉体刑罚，他们也应当加入神的教会 9。
1.太16:18, 19; 徒2:47; 加4:26; 弗5:25-27; 来2:11-12; 来12:23.
2.代下30:8; 约17:21; 西3:15.
5.林前12:7, 27; 弗4:16.
7.民16:23-26; 赛52:11-12; 徒2:40; 罗16:17; 启18:4.
8.诗122:1; 赛2:3; 来10:25.
We believe, since this holy assembly and congregation is the assembly of the redeemed and there is no salvation outside of it, that no one ought to withdraw from it, content to be by himself, no matter what his state or quality may be. But all and everyone are obliged to join it and unite with it, maintaining the unity of the Church. They must submit themselves to its instruction and discipline, bend their necks under the yoke of Jesus Christ, and serve the edification of the brothers and sisters, according to the talents which God has given them as members of the same body.
To observe this more effectively, it is the duty of all believers, according to the Word of God, to separate from those who do not belong to the Church and to join this assembly wherever God has established it. They should do so even though the rulers and edicts of princes were against it, and death or physical punishment might follow.
All therefore who draw away from the Church or fail to join it act contrary to the ordinance of God.
我们相信，我们应该按神的话语，勤勉并非常谨慎地分辨什么是真教会。因为在当今世界，所有的宗派都声称他们自己是真教会 1。我们在此谈论的并非是那些假冒伪善者，他们在教会中和信徒混在一起，尽管他们表面上是在教会中，但他们其实是不属于教会的 2。我们在此所说的是，真教会及其交通必须与一切自称为教会却不属于真教会的各宗派分别出来。
真教会可以藉着以下的标记来辨别：她传讲纯正的福音 3；她维持圣礼的纯全施行，正如基督所设立的 4；她为纠正错谬，惩罚罪恶而执行教会纪律 5。简而言之，教会是按照神纯全的话语来治理的 6，弃绝一切与之相违背的错谬 7，并且承认耶稣基督是教会惟一的元首 8。凭此标志，真教会必定能够被人识别出来，并且我们无权从真教会中脱离。
那些属于教会的信徒可以藉着基督徒的标记被识别出来。他们信靠基督是惟一的救赎主 9，逃离罪恶并寻求公义 10，不偏左右地爱真神和他们的邻舍 11，把肉体和邪情私欲同钉十字架 12。尽管他们里面还存在很大的软弱，但是，他们会藉着圣灵，在一生的年日里与软弱争战 13。他们因主耶稣基督的宝血、受苦、受死与顺服不断向神呼求，藉着信心，在基督里面他们的罪恶已得到赦免 14。
假教会擅敢专权并且她的规章凌驾于神的话语之上，并不想要服在基督的轭下 15。她亦不按基督所吩咐的去施行圣礼，反而是随己意增添或删减神的话语。这种教会依靠人过于依靠基督，逼迫那些按着神的话语过圣洁生活的人，并且逼迫那些谴责假教会罪恶、贪婪、拜偶像的人 16。
5.太18:15-17; 林前5:4, 5, 13; 帖后3:6, 14; 多3:10.
6.约8:47; 约17:20; 徒17:11; 弗2:20; 西1:23; 提前6:3.
7.帖前5:21; 提前6:20; 启2:6.
8.约10:14; 弗5:23; 西1:18.
14.罗7:24, 25; 约壹1:7-9.
15.徒4:17, 18; 提后4:3, 4; 约贰9.
We believe that we ought to discern diligently and very carefully from the Word of God what is the true Church, for all sects which are in the world today claim for themselves the name of Church. We are not speaking here of the hypocrites, who are mixed in the Church along with the good and yet are not part of the Church, although they are outwardly in it. We are speaking of the body and the communion of the true Church which must be distinguished from all sects that call themselves the Church.
The true Church is to be recognized by the following marks: It practises the pure preaching of the gospel. It maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them. It exercises Church discipline for correcting and punishing sins. In short, it governs itself according to the pure Word of God, rejecting all things contrary to it and regarding Jesus Christ as the only Head. Hereby the true Church can certainly be known and no one has the right to separate from it.
Those who are of the Church may be recognized by the marks of Christians. They believe in Jesus Christ the only Saviour, flee from sin and pursue righteousness, love the true God and their neighbour without turning to the right or left, and crucify their flesh and its works. Although great weakness remains in them, they fight against it by the Spirit all the days of their life. They appeal constantly to the blood, suffering, death, and obedience of Jesus Christ, in whom they have forgiveness of their sins through faith in Him.
The false church assigns more authority to itself and its ordinances than to the Word of God. It does not want to submit itself to the yoke of Christ. It does not administer the sacraments as Christ commanded in His Word, but adds to them and subtracts from them as it pleases. It bases itself more on men than on Jesus Christ. It persecutes those who live holy lives according to the Word of God and who rebuke the false church for its sins, greed, and idolatries.
These two Churches are easily recognized and distinguished from each other.
1.徒20:28; 弗4:11, 12; 提前3:15; 来13:20-21.
2.路1:2; 路10:16; 约20:23; 罗10:14; 林前4:1; 林后5:19-20; 提后4:2.
We believe that this trueChurch must be governed according to the Spiritual order which our Lord hastaught us in His Word. There should be ministers or pastors to preach the Wordof God and to administer the sacraments; there should also be elders anddeacons who, together with the pastors, form the council of the Church. Bythese means they preserve the true religion; they see to it that the truedoctrine takes its course, that evil men are disciplined in a spiritual way andare restrained, and also that the poor and all the afflicted are helped andcomforted according to their need. By these means everything will be done welland in good order when faithful men are chosen in agreement with the rule thatthe apostle Paul gave to Timothy.
1.徒1:23, 24; 徒6:2, 3.
2.徒13:2; 林前12:28; 提前4:14; 提前5:22; 来5:4.
3.太23:8, 10; 弗1:22, 弗5:23.
4.林后 5:20; 彼前5:1-4.
5.帖前5:12, 13; 提前5:17; 来13:17
We believe that ministers ofGod‘s Word, elders, and deacons ought to be chosen to their offices by lawfulelection of the Church, with prayer and in good order, as stipulated by theWord of God. Therefore everyone shall take care not to intrude by impropermeans. He shall wait for the time that he is called by God so that he may havesure testimony and thus be certain that his call comes from the Lord. Ministersof the Word, in whatever place they are, have equal power and authority, for theyare all servants of Jesus Christ, the only universal Bishop and the only Headof the Church. In order that this holy ordinance of God may not be violated orrejected, we declare that everyone must hold the ministers of the Word and theelders of the Church in special esteem because of their work, and as much aspossible be at peace with them without grumbling or arguing.
2.赛29:13; 太15:9; 加5:1.
4.太16:19; 太18:15-18; 罗16:17; 林前5; 提前1:20.
We believe that, although it is useful and good for those who govern the Church to establish a certain order to maintain the body of the Church, they must at all times watch that they do not deviate from what Christ, our only Master, has commanded. Therefore we reject all human inventions and laws introduced into the worship of God which bind and compel the consciences in any way. We accept only what is proper to preserve and promote harmony and unity and to keep all in obedience to God. To that end, discipline and excommunication ought to be exercised in agreement with the Word of God.
1.创17:9-14; 出12; 罗4:11.
3.罗2:28, 29; 西 2:11-12.
We believe that our gracious God, mindful of our insensitivity and infirmity, has ordained sacraments to seal His promises to us and to be pledges of His good will and grace towards us. He did so 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 declares to us in His Word and what He does inwardly in our hearts. Thus He confirms to us the salvation which He imparts to us. Sacraments are visible signs and seals of something internal and invisible, by means of which God works in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore the signs are not void and meaningless so that they deceive us. For Jesus Christ is their truth; apart from Him they would be nothing. Moreover, we are satisfied with the number of sacraments which Christ our Master has instituted for us, namely, two: the sacrament of baptism and the holy supper of Jesus Christ.
4.徒22:16; 来9:14; 1 约1:7; 启1:5.
7.罗6:3; 彼前1:2; 彼前2:24.
12.创17:10-12; 太19:14; 徒2:39.
We believe and confess that Jesus Christ, who is the end of the law, has by His shed blood put an end to every other shedding of blood that one could or would make as an expiation or satisfaction for sins. He has abolished circumcision, which involved blood, and has instituted in its place the sacrament of baptism. By baptism we are received into the Church of God and set apart from all other peoples and false religions, to be entirely committed to Him whose mark and emblem we bear. This serves as a testimony to us that He will be our God and gracious Father for ever.
For that reason He has commanded all those who are His to be baptized with plain water, into the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. By this He signifies to us that as water washes away the dirt of the body when poured on us, and as water is seen on the body of the baptized when sprinkled on him, so the blood of Christ, by the Holy Spirit, does the same thing internally to the soul. It washes and cleanses our soul from sin and regenerates us from children of wrath into children of God. This is not brought about by the water as such but by the sprinkling of the precious blood of the Son of God, which is our Red Sea, through which we must pass to escape the tyranny of Pharaoh, that is, the devil, and enter into the spiritual land of Canaan.
Thus the ministers on their part give us the sacrament and what is visible, but our Lord gives us what is signified by the sacrament, namely, the invisible gifts and grace. He washes, purges, and cleanses our souls of all filth and unrighteousness, renews our hearts and fills them with all comfort, gives us true assurance of His fatherly goodness, clothes us with the new nature, and takes away the old nature with all its works.
We believe, therefore, that anyone who aspires to eternal life ought to be baptized only once. Baptism should never be repeated, for we cannot be born twice. Moreover, baptism benefits us not only when the water is on us and when we receive it, but throughout our whole life. For that reason we reject the error of the Anabaptists, who are not content with a single baptism received only once, and who also condemn the baptism of the little children of believers. We believe that these children ought to be baptized and sealed with the sign of the covenant, as infants were circumcised in Israel on the basis of the same promises which are now made to our children. Indeed, Christ shed His blood to wash the children of believers just as much as He shed it for adults. Therefore they ought to receive the sign and sacrament of what Christ has done for them, as the Lord commanded in the law that a lamb was to be offered shortly after children were born. This was a sacrament of the passion and death of Jesus Christ. Because baptism has the same meaning for our children as circumcision had for the people of Israel, Paul calls baptism the circumcision of Christ.
1.太26:26-28; 可14:22-24; 路22:19-20; 林前11:23-26.
13.路22:21, 22; 徒8:13, 21.
16.徒 2:46; 林前11:26.
We believe and confess that our Saviour Jesus Christ has instituted the sacrament of the holy supper to nourish and sustain those whom He has already regenerated and incorporated into His family, which is His Church.
Those who are born anew have a twofold life. One is physical and temporal, which they received in their first birth and it is common to all men. The other is spiritual and heavenly, which is given them in their second birth and is effected by the word of the gospel in the communion of the body of Christ. This life is not common to all but only to the elect of God.
For the support of the physical and earthly life God has ordained earthly and material bread. This bread is common to all just as life is common to all. For the support of the spiritual and heavenly life, which believers have, He has sent them a living bread which came down from heaven, namely, Jesus Christ, who nourishes and sustains the spiritual life of the believers when He is eaten by them, that is, spiritually appropriated and received by faith.
To represent to us the spiritual and heavenly bread, Christ has instituted earthly and visible bread as a sacrament of His body and wine as a sacrament of His blood. He testifies to us that as certainly as we take and hold the sacrament in our hands and eat and drink it with our mouths, by which our physical life is then sustained, so certainly do we receive by faith, as the hand and mouth of our soul, the true body and true blood of Christ, our only Saviour, in our souls for our spiritual life.
It is beyond any doubt that Jesus Christ did not commend His sacraments to us in vain. Therefore He works in us all that He represents to us by these holy signs. We do not understand the manner in which this is done, just as we do not comprehend the hidden activity of the Spirit of God. Yet we do not go wrong when we say that what we eat and drink is the true, natural body and the true blood of Christ. However, the manner in which we eat it is not by mouth but in the spirit by faith. In that way Jesus Christ always remains seated at the right hand of God His Father in heaven; yet He does not cease to communicate Himself to us by faith. This banquet is a spiritual table at which Christ makes us partakers of Himself with all His benefits and gives us the grace to enjoy both Himself and the merit of His suffering and death. He nourishes, strengthens, and comforts our poor, desolate souls by the eating of His flesh, and refreshes and renews them by the drinking of His blood.
Although the sacrament is joined together with that which is signified, the latter is not always received by all. The wicked certainly takes the sacrament to his condemnation, but he does not receive the truth of the sacrament. Thus Judas and Simon the sorcerer both received the sacrament, but they did not receive Christ, who is signified by it. He is communicated exclusively to the believers.
Finally, we receive this holy sacrament in the congregation of the people of God with humility and reverence as we together commemorate the death of Christ our Saviour with thanksgiving and we confess our faith and Christian religion. Therefore no one should come to this table without careful self-examination, lest by eating this bread and drinking from this cup, he eat and drink judgment upon himself. In short, we are moved by the use of this holy sacrament to a fervent love of God and our neighbours. Therefore we reject as desecrations all additions and damnable inventions which men have mixed with the sacraments. We declare that we should be content with the ordinance taught by Christ and His apostles and should speak about it as they have spoken.
1.箴8:15; 但2:21; 约19:11; 罗13:1.
3.申1:16; 申16:19; 士21:25; 诗82; 耶21:12; 耶22:3; 彼前2:13, 14.
4.诗2; 罗13:4; 提前2:1-4.
5.太17:27; 太22:21; 罗13:7; 多3:1; 彼前2:17.
We believe that, because of the depravity of mankind, our gracious God has ordained kings, princes, and civil officers. He wants the world to be governed by laws and policies, in order that the licentiousness of men be restrained and that everything be conducted among them in good order. For that purpose He has placed the sword in the hand of the government to punish wrongdoers and to protect those who do what is good. Their task of restraining and sustaining is not limited to the public order but includes the protection of the Church and its ministry in order that1 the kingdom of Christ may come, the Word of the gospel may be preached everywhere, and God may be honoured and served by everyone, as He requires in His Word.
Moreover, everyone – no matter of what quality, condition, or rank – ought to be subject to the civil officers, pay taxes, hold them in honour and respect, and obey them in all things which do not disagree with the Word of God. We ought to pray for them, that God may direct them in all their ways and that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.
For that reason we condemn the Anabaptists and other rebellious people, and in general all those who reject the authorities and civil officers, subvert justice, introduce a communion of goods, and confound the decency that God has established among men.
1.太24:36; 太25:13; 帖前5:1,2.
5.太25:31-46; 提后4:1; 彼前4:5.
11.太11:22; 太23:33; 罗2:5,6; 来10:27; 彼后2:9; 犹15；启14:7
12.路14:14; 帖后1:3-10; 约壹4:17
14.太13:41-42; 可9:48; 路16:22-28; 启21:8
18.但12:3; 太5:12; 太13:43; 林前2:9; 启21:9-22:5
Finally, we believe, according to the Word of God, that when the time, ordained by the Lord but unknown to all creatures, has come 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. He will declare Himself Judge of the living and the dead and set this old world afire in order to purge it. Then all people, men, women, and children, who ever lived, from the beginning of the world to the end, will appear in person before this great Judge. They will be summoned with the archangel‘s call and with the sound of the trumpet of God.
Those who will have died before that time will arise out of the earth, as their spirits are once again united with their own bodies in which they lived. Those who will then be still alive will not die as the others but will be changed in the twinkling of an eye from perishable to imperishable. Then the books will be opened and the dead will be judged according to what they have done in this world, whether good or evil. Indeed, all people will render account for every careless word they utter, which the world regards as mere jest and amusement. The secrets and hypocrisies of men will then be publicly uncovered in the sight of all. And so for good reason the thought of this judgment is horrible and dreadful to the wicked and evildoers but it is a great joy and comfort to the righteous and elect. For then their full redemption will be completed and they will receive the fruits of their labour and of the trouble they have suffered. Their innocence will be known to all and they will see the terrible vengeance that God will bring upon the wicked who persecuted, oppressed, and tormented them in this world.
The wicked will be convicted by the testimony of their own consciences and will become immortal, but only to be tormented in the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. On the other hand, the faithful and elect will be crowned with glory and honour. The Son of God will acknowledge their names before God His Father and His elect angels. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and their cause – at present condemned as heretical and evil by many judges and civil authorities – will be recognized as the cause of the Son of God. As a gracious reward, the Lord will cause them to possess such a glory as the heart of man could never conceive. Therefore we look forward to that great day with a great longing to enjoy to the full the promises of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!