Friday, August 14, 2009

Throwing rocks at heaven

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ
Chapter 21 - Election: God has predestined some to salvation, others to destruction

Sections 5-7 - Definition and explanation
5. Some make foreknowledge of our actions the cause of God's election. But pitting election against foreknowledge, or vice versa, is absurd. Accusing God of unfairness is like"hurling the stones of their insults toward heaven... [they] will fall back on their own heads!" Predestination is God's decree based only on His will. He also chose Israel on this basis - Deut 7:7-8; 9:6; 23:5; Ex 32:9; 1 Sam 12:22. "Election remains inviolable, although its signs do not always appear."

6. But there is a more limited election, within Israel. Ishmael was in the covenant, and Esau, but they were cut off. Ps 78:67-68; Mal 1:2-3; Rom 9:13.

7. But election is only half-explained when talking about groups, until we talk about individuals. "God not only offers salvation but so assigns it that the certainty of its effect is not in suspense or doubt." "The spirit of regeneration... enable[s] them to persevere in the covenant to the very end." "The outward change, without the working of inner grace, which might have availed to keep them, is intermediate between the rejection of mankind and the election of a meager number of the godly." Rom 11:29; Gal 4:28.

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