As we near the end of Advent, I thought it might be nice to reflect upon some of the classic statements about in the Incarnation found in various Reformed confessions. There are some real gems here, so enjoy!

The Scots Confession (1560) 


The Incarnation of Christ Jesus 

When the fullness of time came God sent his Son, his eternal wisdom, the substance of his own glory, into this world, who took the nature of humanity from the substance of a woman, a virgin, by means of the Holy Ghost.  And so was born the “just seed of David”, the “Angel of the great counsel of God”, the very Messiah promised, whom we confess and acknowledge to be Emmanuel, true God and true man, who perfect natures united and joined in one person. So by our Confession we condemn the damnable and pestilent heresies of Arius, Marcion, Eutyches, Nestorius, and such others as did either deny the eternity of his Godhead, or the truth of his humanity, or confounded them, or else divided them. 


The Second Helvetic Confession (1561)


Of Jesus Christ, True God and Man, the Only Savior of the World. 

CHRIST IS TRUE GOD. We further believe and teach that the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, was predestinated or foreordained from eternity by the Father to be the Savior of the world. And we believe that he was born, not only when he assumed flesh of the Virgin Mary, and not only before the foundation of the world was laid, but by the Father before all eternity in an inexpressible manner. For Isaiah said: “Who can tell his generation?” (Ch. 53:8). And Micah says: “His origin is from of old, from ancient days” (Micah 5:2). And John said in the Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”, etc. (Ch. 1:1). Therefore, with respect to his divinity the Son is coequal and consubstantial with the Father; true God (Phil. 2:11), not only in name or by adoption or by any merit, but in substance and nature, as the apostle John has often said: “This is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20). Paul also says: “He appointed the Son the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding all things by his word and power” (Heb. 1:2f.). For in the Gospel the Lord himself said: “Father, glorify Thou me in Thy own presence with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was made” (John 17:5). And in another place in the Gospel it is written: “The Jews sought all the more to kill him because he…called God his Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18).


The Belgic Confession (1561)

Article XVIII

Of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ

We confess, therefore, that God did fulfill the promise which he made to the fathers by the mouth of his holy prophets when he sent into the world, at the time appointed by him, his own only-begotten and eternal Son, who took upon him the form of a servant, and became like unto men, really assuming the true human nature, with all its infirmities, sin excepted, being conceived in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, by the power of the Holy Ghost, without the means of man; and did not only assume human nature as to the body, but also a true human soul, that he might be a real man. For since the soul was lost as well as the body, it was necessary that he should take both upon him, to save both. Therefore we confess (in opposition to the heresy of the Anabaptists, who deny that Christ assumed human flesh of his mother) that Christ is become a partaker of the flesh and blood of the children; that he is a fruit of the loins of David after the flesh; made of the seed of David according to the flesh; fruit of the womb of the Virgin Mary; made of a woman; branch of David; a shoot of the root of Jesse; sprung from the tribe of Judah; descended from the Jews according to the flesh: of the seed of Abraham, since he took upon him the seed of Abraham, and became like unto his brethren in all things, sin excepted; so that in truth he is our IMMANUEL, that is to say, God with us. 

The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647)

Chapter VIII

Of Christ the Mediator

II. The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance, and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon him man’s nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin: being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man.

Or, to put it more lyrically:

“This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing.

Haste, haste to bring him laud, the Babe, the Son of Mary.”

—William Dix

2 thoughts on “Confessional thoughts on the Incarnation

  1. Pingback: Jesus Christ, the perfect and necessary Mediator « a pattern of sound words

  2. Pingback: The conception of the eternal Son | a pattern of sound words

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