Monday, May 18, 2009

The least drop of faith

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 16 - Certainty of faith
Faith doesn't just know God is merciful to many, but embraces it for one's self - Rom 5:1.
A believer -
relies on God's promises,
sees God as well-disposed toward him in Christ,
expects salvation and forgiveness,
hopes well in the Lord,
glories in the inheritance of God's Kingdom, Eph 1:18
triumphs over Satan and death - Rom 8:38-39.

Section 17 - Faith in the struggle against temptation
If faith is confident certainty, we have to explain anxiety and disquiet in a believer's soul.
David illustrates this - Ps 42:5, 11:43:5; 31:22; 116:7.
But faith "raises itself upward" - Ps 92:12; 27:14.
Ahaz doesn't do this - Isa 7:2, 4.
"Believers... constantly rise up, although not without difficulty and trouble."

Section 18 - The conflict in the heart of the believer
...comes from imperfect faith.
Though distracted and agitated, "faith ultimately triumphs."

Section 19 - Even weak faith is real faith
We see His mercy clearly, but afar off, like the sun's small rays through a small window.

Section 20 - The weakness and strength of faith
We know in part - 1 Cor 13:9, 12.
But it is a genuine taste of God's glory - 2 Cor 3:18.
Our conscience and adversity weigh down our faith with doubt.

Section 21 - The Word of God as the shield of faith
Unbelief assails us from outside of us. Faith is our shield - Eph 6:16.
Shaken faith is like a fire, almost put out and buried under ashes, but still burning.
It is like a soldier forced to step back from the force of a spear on his shield. But the shield is not broken - Ps 23:4.
Faith gets the victory - 1 John 5:4.

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