Sunday, August 23, 2009

That they may become even more deaf

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

Chapter 24 - Election confirmed by God's Call
12-17 - How God deals with the reprobate
12. God blinds them to the truth, "deprives them of the capacity to hear His Word." If some believe from a multitude preached to, the real question/miracle is how they believed - 1 Cor 4:7 - not why the rest didn't.

13. God could "turn the will of evil men to good." But "He wills otherwise." The difference isn't in man's decision but God's. Acts 13:48; 16:14. God "sends His Word to many whose blindness He intends to increase." Ex 4:19, 21; Ezek 2:3; 12:2; Jer 1:10; 5:14; Isa 6:9-10; Acts 28:26-27; Rom 11:8; Matt 13:11. "However much obscurity there may be in the Word, there is still always enough light to convict the conscience of the wicked."

14. Why does God harden them? "To show His name in all the earth" - Rom 9:17. It is their own fault for rejecting God, but reason is also given why God doesn't lift them out of it - 1 Sam 2:25; John 12:37-38. Paul emphasizes God's positive call on the elect - 1 Cor 1:22, 24, 27-28. The impious accuse God of arbitrary punishment, but the wicked deserve everything they get from God. We have to "admit some ignorance where God's wisdom rises to its height."

15. What about Ezek 33:11? "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked..." This is said "to bring the hope of pardon to the penitent only."

16. What about 1 Tim 2:3-4? "God wills all men to be saved." This is in context of praying for kings and rulers, and means God excludes no class of men from perhaps receiving His mercy. 2 Peter 3:9: "God does not will that any should perish but that He should receive all to repentance." But conversion is in God's hands, we know from Ezek 36:26; 2 Tim 2:25; Jer 31:18-19.

17. "His mercy is extended to all, provided they seek after it and implore it. But only those whom He has illuminted do this." This makes everything depend on the presence or absence of faith. It appears God has a double will, but He is only taking on human characteristic of pleading for our conversion. You can't "measure divine justice by the standard of human justice." See Rom 9:20, 24.

No comments:

Post a Comment