Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Our puny capacity

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 6 - The Christian Life
God saves us to conform our lives to the righteousness He gives us in Christ. I now intend to set forth "a pattern for the conduct of life." This is important, as we love righteousness and holiness. God calls us to it - Lev 19:2; 1 Peter 1:15-16. It is the essence of our union with Christ (HIS righteousness, that it, not ours). It is the reason we were saved - Isa 35:8; Ps 116:19; 122:2-9; 15:1-2). We don't seek virtue in accordance with nature, but with Christ (2 Cor 5:18; Heb 1:3). Since God has cleansed and adopted us, we live like it - Mal 1:6; Eph 5:1; 1 John 3:1; Eph 5:26; Heb 10:10; 1 Cor 6:11; 1 Pet 1:15, 19; Eph 5:23-33; 1 Cor 6:15; John 15:3-6; Col 3:1ff; 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16; 1 Peter 5:4; 1 Thess 5:23.
The gospel "is a doctrine not of the tongue but of life." Christians in name only may talk about and master the gospel in their minds but it doesn't possess their whole soul, moving them to put off the old man - Eph 4:22, 24.
No Christian can claim perfection, but "this ought to be desired, and we must strive toward it." The goal is complete integrity and following the whole Word, not just parts we choose. We may progress at an excruciatingly slow pace, but we can "proceed according to the measure of [our] puny capacity" in holiness.

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