Friday, April 3, 2009

Relieved of insane confidence in our own powers

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

Chapter 7 - The law was given, not to restrain the folk of the old covenant under itself, but to foster hope of salvation in Christ until his coming

Sections 6-9 - [FIRST USE OF THE LAW]
The law shows the righteousness of God, and as a mirror discloses our sinfulness, leading us to implore divine help
Section 6 - The severity of the law takes away from us all self-deception
Without the law we are over-confident and proud of our own righteousness.
The law bursts this delusion.

Section 7 - The punitive function of the law does not diminish its worth
"The law is like a mirror." [James 1:23-25]
Without grace to obey, the law increases sin: we know our sin clearly and still don't stop.
Rom 3:20; 5:20; 2 Cor 3:7; Rom 4:15.
It is our sin, not the law, that is to blame for this.
God gives grace apart from the law, to attain the blessing set forth in the law.
He "never tires in repeatedly benefiting us and in heaping new gifts upon us."

Section 8 - The punitive function of the law in its work upon believers and unbelievers
Unbelievers are left with no excuse - Rom 3:19.
Believers receive mercy even here - Rom 11:32.
They are driven to depend completely on God.

Section 9 - The law by accusing moves us to seek grace

Section 10-11 - [SECOND USE OF THE LAW]
The law restrains malefactors/unbelievers
Section 10 - The law as protection of the community from unjust men
It does this by fear of punishment.
This doesn't result in true righteousness: they are still sinning inside.
1 Tim 1:9-10.

Section 11 - The law a deterrent to those not yet regenerate
Gal 3:24. Besides condemning unbelievers, the law also preserves through restraint those not yet regenerate.

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