Belgic Confession, Article 21: The Atonement

Article 21: The Atonement

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 Father's wrath
with full satisfaction
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 punishment that made us whole"
was placed on the Son of God
and that "by his bruises we are healed."
He was "like a lamb that is led to the slaughter";
he was "numbered with the transgressors"46
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,47
and he suffered—
"the righteous for the unrighteous,"48
in both his body and his soul—
in such a way that
when he sensed the horrible punishment
required by our sins
"his sweat became like great drops of blood
falling down on the ground."49
He cried, "My God, my God,
why have you forsaken me?"50

And he endured all this
for the forgiveness of our sins.

Therefore we rightly say with Paul that
we know nothing "except Jesus Christ and him crucified";51
we "regard everything as loss
because of the surpassing value
of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord."52
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.53

46 Isa. 53:4-12
47 Ps. 69:4
48 1 Pet. 3:18
49 Luke 22:44
50 Matt. 27:46
51 1 Cor. 2:2
52 Phil. 3:8
53 Matt. 1:21