Monday, May 18, 2009

Fear and faith in the same mind

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 16-28 - Certainty of faith in relation to fear
Section 22 - Right fear
There is a fear that establishes faith, instead of shaking it - Phil 2:12.
God warns Gentiles against presumption that the Jews fell into - 1 Cor 10:1-12.
"It is one thing to restrain presumption.... It is another thing so to dishearten the conscience with fear that it cannot rest with full assurance in God's mercy."

Section 23 - "Fear and trembling"
In fear of You I will worship - Ps 5:7.
Blessed is the man who is always reverent - Prov 28:14.
"Nothing so moves us to repose our assurance and certainty of mind in the Lord as distrust of ourselves, and the anxiety occasioned by the awareness of our ruin."
Fear and faith can be active at the same time, just like laziness and worry can.
The impious can't rest because of God's judgment;
the pious fear God by trustingly submitting to His power.

Section 24 - The certainty of faith rests upon Christ's oneness with us
Many set hope and fear against each other, as though our conscience constantly wavers between either trusting Christ or ourselves. But Christ is united with us! His righteousness overwhelms our sin. Rom 8:10.

Section 25 - Bernard of Clairvaux on the two aspects of faith
Bernard agrees, as follows:
Our souls are sinful - Ps 73:22; Isa 64:6; Matt 6:23.
Before God, we are condemned (Isa 40:17); but "not within" Him (Rom 4:17).
We are vindicated, "by His dignifying us, not by our own dignity."

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