Thursday, August 20, 2009

Doing His Will with Our Wills

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

Chapter 23 - Refuting false accusations burdening election
10. 3rd objection: doesn't God show partiality, in election? The partiality Scripture speaks against decides based on something good or bad in the person - Deut 10:17; Acts 10:34; Rom 2:11; Gal 2:6; 3:28; James 2:5; Col 3:25; Eph 6:9. God decides based on His own will, as He is free to do.

11. Objectors say God should either condemn all, or forgive all, to be fair. But He can justly be fair to some and condemn them, while being merciful to others and forgiving them. "By not giving to all, He can manifest what all deserve" [Augustine]. Rom 9:21; 11:32, 35; Gal 3:22.

12. 4th objection: election will lead people to not care how they live, since God has fated them one way or the other. Some pigs do think this way. But election is revealed to us to "tremble at His judgment and esteem His mercy." We have been chosen to be holy - Eph 1:4. It's foolish to think one's virtuous life could be lost in God's reprobation, for the virtue flows from God's election.

13. 5th objection: election makes admonition meaningless. But Paul teaches election, and admonishes - 1 Thess 4:4, 7; Eph 2:10. "He harmonizes things which they pretend disagree."

14. Augustine quoted extensively, to show we must admonish, and teach election. "He does with the very wills of men what He wills.... As we know not who belongs to the number of the predestined or who does not belong, we ought to be so minded as to wish that all men be saved."

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