1) 32.–God’s holiness is manifested generally as perfect kindness and love and as perfect righteousness. Both rest upon a “certain benevolent and beneficent propension towards the creatures”, which is present in God (MASTRICHT II, xvii, 3). “The love of God is the essential property or essence of God, whereby delighting Himself in it He wishes it the good which He approves.” To be distinguished are the “general love of God”, the object of which is creation generally, so that “no one either of men or even of demons may say that he is not loved by God”; God hates the sin in the godless, but loves the nature created by Him-and the “special love of God, by which He peculiarly pursues the separate elect” (POLAN, II, 122). Herein is manifested the “goodness of God”, according to which God is in and for Himself “supremely good” and towards creation “beneficent” (RIISSEN III, 41). Since then God’s love for the creature is essentially a “love not due”, it appears as grace. “God’s’ grace is His virtue and perfection, by which He bestows and communicates Himself becomingly on and to the creature beyond all merit belonging to it” (HEIDEGGER III, 94). Over against the misery of the creature God’s love is manifested (I) as mercy. Etymologically misericordia is wretchedness of heart due to a sense of another’s wretchedness together with alacrity in succouring the wretched. Actually in God it is nothing but grace towards the wretched” (MASTRICHT II , xvii, 22); (2) as patience and long suffering. “Patientia Deiis His most benign will, by which He so controls His anger, that He either bears sinning creatures long and puts off punishment, awaiting their repentance, or He does not pour forth all His anger in one moment upon them, lest they should be reduced to naught”; and (3) as gentleness: “God’s clemency is His most benign will, by which mindful of His mercy in wrath He is propitious to us and spares us, although we have deserved otherwise, preferring our repentance and conversion to our death” (POLAN II, 24 and 25).

Heinrich Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1978), 95-96.

2) [Heppe:]Therefore the number of the elect has been fixed by God from eternity. His universal love and grace God of course shows to all His creatures. But His redeeming grace. is not universal but particular. It has only chosen those whom according to His unsearchable counsel God wished to elect, in order to make known to them the glory of His sin forgiving love, which rescues them from eternal death.

Heinrich Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1978), 172.

3) RIISSEN (VI, 18, 2): “The question is not of God’s general love and philanthropia, which He exercises towards all creatures, but of His special saving love, by which He has wiled to pity them unto salvation”.

Heinrich Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1978), 173.

[Biographical note: Loenard Riissen (ca. 1636-1700) or Ryssen: studied at Utrecht and received his doctorate in theology from that university in 1655. He served as pastor and enver occupied an academic post. He wrote a Synopsis theologiae elencticae (1671) but his best known work is his Summa theologiae, based on Turretin and also entitled Compendium theologiae didactio-elencticae. Richard Muller, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, first ed., 1:49.]

Nassau Confession:

Christ’s Majesty and Glory

Further, in regard to the majesty of the Lord Christ, our belief and confession is this: We apprehend and hold that He, according to the divine nature, is in all things equal to the Father in substance and essential properties, and is of one splendor, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

But in respect of the human nature, [He] is and remains a creature, and never becomes like God in substance or in properties or operation.

Notwithstanding, this human nature of Christ, in addition to its ever-enduring, essential properties, possesses a peculiarly wonderful, sublime, and great glory surpassing all rational creatures, and this is so both before and after glorification.

Inasmuch as the eternal and only-begotten Son of God has assumed and taken this human nature to Himself, indivisibly and indestructibly uniting it to His divine nature in one person, such glory occurs in no angel, nor among the saints belonging to the human race, nor will it occur in any angel or saint in eternity,

And precisely on this account alone is it properly said of this son of Mary, that the man Christ is the eternal, omnipotent, infinite, omnipresent, and omniscient Son of God; and that this person who is the Son of God and the son of Mary is to be worshiped and invoked by all rational creatures, angels, and men.

Not that this manhood of Christ in itself possesses these properties which pertain solely to eternal and actual deity; nor has the divine honor of invocation. Neither is it that only the divine nature of Christ (apart from the flesh) is now after the incarnation to be worshiped. Rather, the Son of God in the flesh (that is, in the human nature which He has assumed) is to be called upon with one and the same worship [latria], not with any divided but with one invocation, as a single person who is at the same time man and God, as the Council of Ephesus has quite excellently and well pronounced. The ancient teachers employ the likeness (however faint it be) of a king who receives homage in his purple and crown, not that such honor pertains to the purple clothing and to the crown in themselves, nor that the king shows himself to his suqjects uncovered and apart from the purple and the crown, but that the king makes himself known in purple and with the crown.

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Confession of the
Evangelical Church
in Germany:

9. Of the Office of Christ

XIX. Of the office of Christ we believe that He is our Saviour who reconciles us to God through His death, and He makes such a reconciliation known to us, and allows this to be known; also, that He claims His faithful ones for His own and preserves and protects them unto eternity. For it is written: “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15) “Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them: and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:19). “I give eternal life to My sheep, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand” ( John 10:28).

11. Of the Power of Christ’s Death

XXV. Of the power of Christ’s death, we believe that although Christ’s death is the atonement for the sins of the whole world, as is read in John, such reconciliation profits no one except those alone who believe on Him. For it is written: That whoever believes in Him shall not be lost, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). "Whoever does not believe, he will be condemned" (Mark 16:16)."The wrath of God abides on him" ( John 3:36). Namely, that which by nature abides in all men; as the verse says, "We are all by nature children of wrath" (Eph. 2:3).

“Confession of the Evangelical Church in Germany (1614)” in, Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation, ed., James T. Dennison, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books, 2010), 3: 63.

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Frederick III:

Therefore, we believe and confess with our mouth as well as with our heart that all the sacraments of both the Old and the New Testaments have been ordained and instituted by God Himself, having as their purpose that all of them would point us to (as by a finger) and signify the bloody sacrifice of Christ, once performed upon the cross. It is thus beyond doubt that all the patriarchs and believers of the Old Testament have only been comforted in believing when they slew their lambs and other cattle, considering the seed of the woman (the Lord Jesus Christ) as being slain who would make full payment for the sins of the entire world. We thus view the holy sacraments as Sacrae rei Symbola ("symbols of sacred things") and invisibilis gratiae visibilia signa ("visible signs of invisible grace"); that is, they are visible signs or seals of holy things, namely, the grace of God in Christ, by which we are assured and confirmed that all of this is promised to us in His Word by God Himself and His holy prophets and apostles. We therefore believe and hold for certain that God the Lord purposed to be mindful of the foolishness of the human race, knowing how difficult it would be for the children of men to believe the naked Word of God and the pre1aching of the holy gospel. It has therefore pleased Him to place things before our eyes with which we interact daily, so that in so doing we would be all the more acquainted with this, and our faith would thereby be stirred up and strengthened and we be all the more prepared to believe the preached Word. All of this can be easily explained and understood by making a comparison with worldly things. Upon receiving a letter or document from an emperor, king, or other great lord, even though this has been signed by such a dignitary himself, we will not be satisfied with it unless a seal is attached. However, when a seal is attached to such a letter, we will be satisfied and we then may say that such an emperor, king, etc., is addressing me in what he has written.

Frederick, “The Confession of Frederick III” in, Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation, ed., James T. Dennison, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books, 2010), 3:446-447.

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The Consensus of the Ministers of the Church of Bremen:

VII. Next, as regards the glory of office, the Son of God in the human nature He assumed and indeed through and by means of it, that is, through its cooperative sufferings and death, has accomplished the entire work of the redemption of mankind and manifested many visible miracles for the confirmation of His office. He has also made His flesh to participate in all His conquests, victories, and triumphs, and still does many works through this manhood of His, such as pertain to His office as head of His church (known as His spiritual body), and at the last day shall conduct a visible judgment of the living and the dead. . . . [654]

IX. And in this regard Christ’s death and sufferings, which are done in His human nature, are the one and only sufficient payment as a sin offering and ransom for the sins of the whole world, and His resurrection brings righteousness and eternal life to all believers.

X. Also in this regard, for reasons related previously from Cyril’s eleventh anathema, "the flesh of Christ is life-giving,” as the ancient teachers say. That is, the flesh of Christ is a life-giving flesh inasmuch as He has given His life for the world (John 6[:51]). Or as it is said in the schools, it is in respect of merit [respectu meriti] predicated of the person according to both natures, and imparted and applied to us, and by us appropriated through faith, by the power of the Holy Spirit.p655,

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