16 January 2007

Motivation (30): Belgic Confession (1561)

Having listed several individual writers over 1600 years who have affirmed the basic idea that motivation in the life of the Christian is not fundamentally the fruit of the logically reasoned gratitude for past mercies, newly constituted present identity, or future benefits, but rather the fruit of a new inner relish for holiness divinely granted and sustained (through, but not on account of, these other 3 motivations), I close with a few citations from the confessions of the last 600 years which concur.

I begin with the Belgic Confession, drawn up in the Netherlands--the land of the tulips--in 1561.

Article 24: The Sanctification of Sinners

We believe that this true faith,
produced in man by the hearing of God’s Word
and by the work of the Holy Spirit,
regenerates him and makes him a 'new man,'
causing him to live the 'new life'
and freeing him from the slavery of sin.

far from making people cold
toward living in a pious and holy way,
this justifying faith,
quite to the contrary,
so works in 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.

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