Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Conversion not shared by God and man...

Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559) - John Calvin
Book 2 - God the Redeemer
Chapter 5 - Refuting objections that defend free will

Sections 6-11
Answers to arguments for free will based on interpretation of Scripture

Section 6 - Are God's precepts "the measure of our strength"?
"Either God is mocking us (they say) when He enjoins holiness...
or He requires only what is within our power."
The law does not show our power, but our weakness.
Gal 3:19; Rom 3:20; 7:7-8; 5:20.

Section 7 - The law itself points our way to grace
It shows our need for God's help.

Section 8 - The several kinds of commandments clearly show that without grace we can do nothing
The law calls us to (1) turn to God, (2) obey its commands, and (3) persevere in received grace.
1. When the law calls us to turn to Him, it also shows that God must do this for us (Deut 30:6; Ezek 11:19; 36:26).
2. When the law calls us to obey, it also shows obedience is a gift.
3. When the laws calls us to persevere, it also shows perseverance to be a gift.
Eph 4:30; 2 Thess 1:11; 2 Cor 8:16.

Section 9 - The work of conversion is not divided between God and man
The work of conversion is all God's.
Zech 1:3 says "Turn to Me, and I will turn to you."
This means He will favor us as we repent, not that our repentance merits God's favor.
The Spirit "disposes our hearts to obedience" (Jer 31:32-33).

Section 10 - Objection: Biblical promises suppose freedom of will
Examples: Amos 5:14; Isa 1:19-20; Jer 4:1; Deut 28:1; Lev 26:3.
Salvation promises are offered to elect and damned alike.
They "prick the consciences of the impious."
They "entice [believers] to love the precepts."

Section 11 - The reproofs in Scripture, they further object, lose their meaning if the will be not free
Examples: Num 14:43; Jer 7:13-14, 28-29; 19:15
"We are reproached for evils that it was not in our power to escape."
But the fault and guilt lies within man, not God.
1 John 5:18; John 17:15; Eph 6:13; 1 Pet 1:22; 1 John 3:9; 5:4.

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