SEVENTH LORD'S DAY.
Question 22. What is then necessary for a Christian to believe?
Answer. All things promised us in the gospel, which the articles of our catholic undoubted christian faith, briefly teach us.
Having spoken of faith, it now follows next in order that we speak of the object of faith, or enquire what is the sum of those things which we are to believe. Faith, in general, embraces the entire Word of God, and assents most fully to it, as is evident from the definition which we have given of it. Justifying faith, however, has particular respect to the promises of the gospel, or the preaching of grace through Christ. The gospel is, therefore, properly the object of justifying faith. It is for this reason, properly called the doctrine of those things which are to be believed, as the law is properly the doctrine of those things which are to be done.
Human traditions, the ordinances of popes, and the decrees of councils, are therefore excluded from being the object of faith, for faith cannot rely upon any thing but the Word of God, as an immoveable foundation. The decrees of men, however, are uncertain, inasmuch as every man is deceitful and false. God alone is true, and his word is truth. As it is, therefore, not proper for Christians to frame or construct for themselves the matter or contents of faith, so it is not proper for them to embrace what has been conceived and delivered by others. Christians must receive and believe the gospel alone, as it is said: "Repent and believe the gospel." "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." (Mark 1:15. 1 Cor. 2:5.) The sum and substance of the gospel, or of those things which are to be believed, is the Apostles' creed, which we here subjoin.
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