Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Faith in the heart by the Spirit

Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559) - John Calvin
Book 3 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 2 - Faith: Its Definition Set Forth, & Properties Explained

Sections 33-37 - Faith revealed in our hearts by the Spirit
Section 33 - The Word becomes efficacious for our faith through the Holy Spirit
Thus, faith is more than our understanding; confidence and assurance, too.
2 Tim 1:14; Gal 3:2; John 6:65.

Section 34 - Only the Holy Spirit leads us to Christ
Without Him, in our own understanding, we are lost.
Matt 16:17; 1 Cor 2:14; Rom 11:34; John 6:44.
The Spirit must open our minds to the truth.
1 Cor 2:10, 16; John 6:45; Luke 24:45; John 16:13.

Section 35 - Without the Spirit man is incapable of faith
2 Cor 4:13; 2 Thess 1:11; 1 Cor 2:4-5; John 6:44, 65.
Scripture "denies that man himself initiates faith."
How do 2 hear the Gospel, but only 1 receives it? It is a mystery.
"Christ, when He illumines us into faith by the power of His Spirit, at the same time so engrafts us into His body that we become partakers of every good."

Section 36 - Faith as a matter of the heart
True faith doesn't just "flit about in the top of the brain" but penetrates the heart.
But "the heart's distrust is greater than the mind's blindness;"
so the Spirit has to seal the heart with assurance, too.
Eph 1:13-14; 2 Cor 1:21-22; 5:5.

Section 37 - Doubt cannot smother faith
"The minds of the godly are rarely at peace,"
But Scripture calls us to faith and peace, which overcomes our doubts.
Ps 46:2-3; 3:5; Isa 30:15; Ps 37:7; Heb 10:36.

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