Friday, August 21, 2009

No shaking of faith

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

Chapter 24 - Election confirmed by God's Call
6-11 - Perseverance
6. Jesus will protect and preserve us, if we hear His voice - John 6:37, 39; 17:6, 12; 10:3. But "call and faith are of little account unless perseverance be added; and this does not happen to all." See Matt 22:14; Cor 10:12; Rom 11:20-23. But if we are truly His, He will kiip us - Rom 8:38; Phil 1:6; Luke 22:32; 1 John 2:19

7. Those who leave Christ never clung to Him truly - 1 John 2:19. We can have a simple confidence. The warnings are given against presumptuous and vaunting confidence - 1 Cor 10:12; Rom 11:18ff. We must fear, "not that we may be dismayed and waver but that... our trust in Him may in no wise be diminished."

8. There are two kinds of call, a general one offered to all, to which some respond for a time - Matt 22:11-13 - and a special call to which the elect always respond with faith. Matt 22:14; Titus 3:5; Eph 1:13-14; 2 Cor 1:22.

9. Judas was not one of Christ's sheep, but only occupied the place of one - John 6:70; 13:18. This shouldn't lead us to think the same of ourselves: that we occupy the place of a believer today, but don't know about tomorrow, as Gregory puts it. "Predestination, rightly understood, brings no shaking of faith but rather its best confirmation." God consciously rejects those who were counted among His people, but who are not His - Ezek 13:9; Luke 10:20; Ps 69:28; Rev 3:5.

10. Before the elect are called, there is no difference in them from unbelievers, except that they are preserved from death - Eph 2:1-3, 12; 5:8-9; 1 Cor 6:9-10; 9:11.

11. The elect are "snatched from this gulf of destruction."

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