Monday, July 6, 2009

A Righteousness so Steadfast

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ

Chapter 13 - Two things, on Justification
1. Justification vindicates God.
2. Justification puts our consciences at rest.

1. Rom 3:25-26 - God demonstrates His righteousness, His justice. We have nothing to commend us. See Rom 3:19; Ezek 20:43-44. "So long as man has anything to say in his own defense, he detracts somewhat from God's glory." See Jer 9:23-24.
2. Isa 45:24-25 teaches this: if we boast in ourselves in any way, we rob God of honor. Also Eph 2:8-9; 1 Pet 2:9.
3. No man will ever be fully assured that he has satisfied God's law - Prov 20:9; Rom 4:14. Faith is a restful assurance, and man can never have that in himself - 1 Cor 2:5. We must have a "righteousness so steadfast" it will "support our soul in the judgment of God."
4. Besides robbing God of honor, depending on our own works also voids God's offered promise of mercy - Rom 4:14; Ps 119:76. He quotes Augustine and Bernard saying the same thing, "lest you suppose we are saying something new."
5. Only faith in God's grace to justify us (Rom 5:1), from the Spirit (Rom 5:5), can give peace of conscience (Rom 8:35, 39) and joy in prayer (Ps 23:1, 4; Gal 4:6; Rom 8:15; Eph 3:12). "Faith is... bringing nothing of ours to the recovering of God's favor but receiving from Christ that which we lack."

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