28 May, 2016

Belgic Confession, 12—“… and the others have, by the grace of God, remained steadfast …”

We believe that the Father, by the Word, that is, by his Son, hath created of nothing, the heaven, the earth, and all creatures, as it seemed good unto him, giving unto every creature its being, shape, form, and several offices to serve its Creator. That he doth also still uphold and govern them by his eternal providence, and infinite power, for the service of mankind, 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 which are fallen from that excellency, in which God created them, into everlasting perdition; and the others have, by the grace of God, remained steadfast and continued in their primitive state. The devils and evil spirits are so depraved, that they are enemies of God and every good thing, to the utmost of their power, as murderers, watching to ruin the Church and every member thereof, and by their wicked stratagems to destroy all; and are, therefore, by their own wickedness, adjudged to eternal damnation, daily expecting their horrible torments. Therefore we reject and abhor the error of the Sadducees, who deny the existence of spirits and angels: and also that of the Manichees, who assert that the devils have their origin of themselves, and that they are wicked of their own nature, without having been corrupted (Belg. Conf., 12).

“Those who oppose common grace claim that the grace of God is ‘only upon God’s elect church.’ But according to Article 12 of the Belgic Confession, it states that the grace of God is also upon angels! Surely therefore the scope of God’s grace is wider than the church, and therefore can also include individuals outside the church?”


Prof. David J. Engelsma

In the first volume of the commentary on the Belgic Confession that has already been published (see http://www.cprf.co.uk/bookstore/belgiccommentaryvol1.html) I call attention to the fact that God was gracious to the angels that stood and that this is the reason that they did not fall with the others.  This grace was a favor in Christ and was saving in nature in the sense that it kept the angels from perdition.  This is different from a grace outside of Christ, a grace that is non-saving and from a grace that fails to accomplish what it intends (as are the ideas of common grace).  Grace for the angels was effectual in preserving the angels who were the object of the grace.  Our objections to common grace are that it is a grace outside of Christ Jesus and a grace saving in nature (the well-meant offer) that fails to accomplish its purpose. (DJE, 18/09/2018)



More to come! (DV)

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