Sunday, August 16, 2009

God not a watcher, but an Author

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 22 - Confirmation of Election from Scripture

Sections 1-6 - Election not from foreknowledge
1. Some "bring an action against" God [lawsuit], for choosing some and passing over others. But they need to explain how it is fair that God made them men instead of animals, which He could have done. Jesus is the prime example of election, as He was predestined to be our divine Savior from before His conception - Heb 1:2ff. This predestination was "before the creation of the world" for each of us, since we wouldn't have received any benefit from God any other way than by His free grace (not by our deserving it) - Eph 1:4-5; Col 1:12, 22.
2. We are elected to holiness, not because of it - Eph 1:4-5, 9
3. Our works [or faith] are not considered in God's election - 2 Tim 1:9; John 15:16; Rom 11:35.
4-5. Romans 9:11-13 also shows this, as does the example of Jacob and Esau.
6. You can't say Jacob only received the earthly blessing of the right of the firstborn, in this election. That right was an "earthly symbol to declare Jacob's spiritual election." So Jacob was chosen not for anything in him - Rom 9:15-16. That we are foreknown (Rom 11:2) doesn't mean God watched idly while we did the work of saving - see Acts 2:23; 1 Pet 1:19-20 for what foreknown really means. So Esau's rejection shows that "in the common adoption is included in His presence a special grace toward some... and that the common covenant does not prevent that small number from being set apart from the rank and file."

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