Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Sum of All Piety

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

Chapter 15 - Boasting in Our Merit Destroys God Glory for Giving Righteousness, as Well as Our Assurance of Salvation
Sections 5-8 - Replacing Christ's merit with man's no good
5. The only foundation for our lives is in Christ being our righteousness. Jesus didn't come to have us fulfill our righteousness ourselves. Since Christ has all we need, "in us there is nothing." 1 Cor 1:30; Eph 1:4-5; Col 1:14, 20; Rom 8:17; Gal 4:5-7; Rom 5:9-10; John 10:28; Rom 11:19.
6. Those who are dead cannot bring forth life - 1 John 5:12; Rom 14:23; Matt 7:18; Luke 6:43; John 5:24. "As soon as you become engrafted into Christ thorugh faith, you are made a son of God... you obtain not the opportunity to gain merit but all the merits of Christ, for they are communicated to you."
7. Justfication by faith is "the sum of all piety." The schoolmen, following Aquinas, say merit comes from free will, even if God gives grace to make it possible. Even sober Lombard didn't follow Augustine, though quoting him alot. Eph 2:10 proves it. No good work comes from us, except by regeneration, which is completely from God. Thus, we can't "claim an ounce of good works for ourselves." We can still "cheer hearts" over good works that please God, though they are gifts of God.
8. Don't be drawn off of your sure foundation in Christ's righteousness! Phil 2:8; John 4:34; Luke 2:49; John 8:50; 7:16-18; 10:15; 15:13; Luke 6:27, 35; 23:34; 2 Cor 4:8-10; 2 Tim 2:11-12; Phil 3:10-11; Rom 8:29, 38-39, 28. Men aren't justified by works before God; they are reborn - 1 Pet 1:3 - as a new creation by God - 2 Cor 5:17 - and then are judged by Him, by their new fruits - Matt 7:20; 12:33; Luke 6:44.

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