Friday, March 13, 2009

The unvarying corruption of our nature

Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559)
Book 2 - God the Redeemer

Chapter 3
Only Damnable Things Come from Man's Corrupt Nature

Sections 1-5
Our corruption requires total renewal of mind and will

Section 1 - the whole man is flesh
John 3:3, 6; Rom 8:6-7.
Our minds need renewal, too. Eph 4:17-18, 22-23.
Whatever we have from nature is fleshly corruption.
We need light, or remain in foolish vanity. Isa 60:2, 19; Ps 61:10.

Section 2 - Romans 3, as witness for man's corruption
This is not limited to the corruption of one generation, but all men.
We are sinful not only by custom, but by nature.

Section 3 - God's grace sometimes restrains where it does not cleanse
Some men seem quite upright, without God.
This is grace, restraining our unbridled lust for corruption as described in Romans 3.

Section 4 - Uprightness is God's gift; but man's nature remains corrupt
The outwardly noble are not as base as the wholly corrupt.
But they didn't cultivate it themselves; God gave it.
A Biblical example of this is Saul - 1 Sam 10:6.
But they still don't intend to glorify God, so remain guilty before God.
Isaiah 11:2; Psalm 111:10.

Section 5 - Man sins of necessity, but without compulsion
To will the good is the beginning of conversion, which is all of grace.
Jer 31:18.
Our corrupt nature drives our evil will; grace drives any good will.
Have to distinguish necessity from compulsion.
If they are the same, God deserves little praise for being good: He has to.
It is not that we have to sin, and thus aren't guilty.
We always want to sin and so ARE guilty.

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