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Belief in God Biblical doctrines

The Final Resurrection

Today is Good Friday which is still recognized in the post-Christian West as a memorial and celebration of the Easter Friday that Jesus Christ willingly gave His life on the Cross, as the Passover Lamb, to vicariously pay our penalty, owed to God the Father, for our sins. He gave His life so that those who accept His once-only-forever-never-to-be-repeated sacrifice, by trusting in Him, as Lord and Saviour, might be redeemed to the Father, whose justice is served, who then cannot even see our sin. We are washed clean in the blood of the Lamb. This covenant was sealed and perfected in Christ’s resurrection, which is celebrated on Sunday.

The following is a summary of what John Calvin wrote on the matter.

by John Calvin (abridged)1,2

calvin3-686x3502. None of the ancient philosophers, except Plato, acknowledge the chief good of man to consist in his union with God. But of the nature of this union, Plato had not the smallest idea. We know what is the only and perfect happiness even in this earthly pilgrimage; but it daily inflames our hearts with increasing desires after it, till we shall be with its full fruition—the resurrection.

3. Let the importance of the object sharpen our pursuit. Paul argues, that if there be no resurrection of the dead, the whole Gospel is vain and fallacious; for we should be “of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:13-19). To this subject, the most important of all, let us give attention never to be wearied by the length of time.

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Belief in God Biblical doctrines

Predestination: Did God choose to save some?

by John Calvin (abridged)1,2

Eternal Election, Or God’s Predestination of Some to Salvation, and of Others to Destruction

1. The Gospel not being equally preached to all, and among those to whom it is preached not always finding the same reception, this leads us to inquire into the doctrine of God’s eternal election. In the opinion of many, this is a perplexing subject; for they consider nothing more unreasonable, than that of the common mass of mankind, some should be predestinated to salvation and others to destruction. On our part, we shall never understand fully our salvation as flowing from the fountain of God’s free mercy, until we know His eternal election. The knowledge of God’s eternal election is productive of the most delightful benefit; but ignorance of this principle detracts from the Divine glory, and diminishes real humility. According to Paul, what is so necessary to be known, can never be known, unless God, without regard to works, chooses those whom He has decreed. “At this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (Romans 11:5, 6).

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Belief in God Biblical doctrines Christianity

On Christian Liberty

by John Calvin (abridged)1,2

1. Christian Liberty is an appendix to justification. But there are some who, under pretext of this liberty, cast off all obedience to God, and precipitate themselves into the most unbridled licentiousness [state of indulging in excessive freedom]. Others despise this liberty, supposing it to be subversive of all moderation and morality. In spite of such difficulties arising from this doctrine, we must exert to understand it, in order to obtain internal peace of mind.

2. Christian liberty consists of three parts. The first part is, when seeking justification before God, we should be delivered from the righteousness of the law. Dismissing all thought of our own works to attain justification, let us turn our eyes solely on Christ.

While we are delivered from the claims of the law, before the tribunal of God through justification in Christ; the law, however, remains useful to believers. It continues to instruct, exhort and stimulate us to duty and holiness.

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Belief in God Church History the Reformation

Did John Calvin have a man executed for heresy?

You may have read or heard that John Calvin was involved in the execution of man for heresy in the Biblical republic he help found in Geneva, Switzerland. The man was Michael Servetus (1511–1553) and he was executed for heresy. But how culpable was Calvin really?

calvin3-686x350
Iohannes Calvinus (John Calvin) 1509 – 1564

John Calvin was one of the Reformers and was very zealous to break any influence of the Papacy and the Church of Rome. He believed that the fledgling church could only function when there is good government and that that should be along the lines of God’s principles, the Law. The period in history when this incident occurred was after he had returned to Geneva in 1541.

So that you may decide yourself what is the truth I have excerpted the following from a book “A Glimpse of the Life and Works of John Calvin” by Timothy Tow1 (my emphases added).

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Belief in God Biblical doctrines

By faith alone, resting on the mercy of God

Justification by Faith. The Name and Thing Defined

by John Calvin (abridged)1,2

1. Justification by faith has been discussed before this, but slightly, because it was necessary first to understand that the faith, by which alone we attain justification, is not unattended by good works. The subject of justification must now be fully discussed, with the recollection that it is the principal hinge by which religion is supported.

2. First let us explain the meaning of these expressions: To be justified in the sight of God, to be justified by faith or by works. To be justified in the sight of God means that a person is accepted, on account of his righteousness, before the Divine judgment; for iniquity is abominable to God, and no sinner can find favour in His sight. Thus he must be said to be justified by works, whose life shows such purity and holiness, as to deserve the character of righteousness before God. On the other hand, he will be justified by faith, who, being excluded from the righteousness of works, receives by faith the righteousness of Christ. Invested in Christ, he now appears in the sight of God, not as a sinner but as a righteous man. Thus we simply explain, that justification is God receiving us in His favour, esteeming us as righteous persons. This consists of the remission of sins and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ.

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Belief in God

What does biblical repentance mean?

On Repentance

by John Calvin (abridged)1,2

1. Though we have shown how faith possesses Christ, and how by means of faith we enjoy His benefits, yet the subject would still be left in obscurity, unless we describe the effects which we experience. Faith must lead us to repentance.

2. The argument, that repentance rather goes before faith, is based on the preaching of Christ and John the Baptist, wherein they first exhort the people to repentance; and that the Apostles were commanded thus to preach (Acts 20:21).

Yet, when we speak of faith as the origin of repentance, we dream not of any space of time which it employs in producing it. Those who prescribe to their young converts certain days, to work out repentance before they could be admitted to the communion of evangelical grace, have erred. Anabaptists and Jesuits prescribe such a period for repentance which a Christian ought to extend throughout his whole life. These people also err in regarding repentance, merely as a product of terrors of conscience, without first having tasted a knowledge of grace. We say that a man cannot devote himself to repentance, unless he knows himself to be of God; and no man can know he is of God, until he has first received His grace.

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Belief in God

On faith of believers and apostates

Faith Defined, And Its Properties Described

by John Calvin (abridged)1,2

1. A great part of the world, when they hear the word faith, conceive it to be nothing more than a common assent to the evangelical history. And even those, who say God is the object of faith, tend to mislead miserable souls through their vain speculations. It is true, that faith relates to the one God; but there must be added a knowledge of Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. God Himself would be altogether concealed from us, if we were not illuminated by the brightness of Christ. Paul, when he speaks of faith in God, does not contradict his frequent inculcation of faith in Christ; and Peter most suitably connects them together, when he says, “by Him [we] do believe in God” (1 Peter 1:21).

2. The evil of concealing Christ must be attributed to the schoolmen [philosophers, theologians]. These schoolmen have not only concealed Christ, but fabricated the notion of implicit faith, that is, a blind faith of submitting their understanding to the Church. Implicit faith breeds ignorance and eradicates knowledge. But true faith is based on knowledge and understanding, yea, even explicit knowledge of the Divine goodness (Romans 10:10).

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Belief in God

By the water and the blood and the fire

What is Declared Concerning Christ Rendered to Us by the Secret Operation of the Spirit

by John Calvin (abridged)1,2

1. What Christ has received from His Father is nothing to us, till we are united to Him. Though it is true that we obtain this by faith, we see that the communication of Christ, offered in the Gospel, is not embraced by all. This leads us to inquire into the secret energy of the Holy Spirit, by which we are introduced to the enjoyment of Christ and all His benefits.

In 1 John 5:6,

This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. (KJVER)

it is declared that Christ came by water and blood that the Spirit may testify concerning Him. It is the Spirit that seals the ablution [cleansing] and sacrifice of Christ. For which reason Peter also says, that believers are “elect . . . through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:2). This passage suggests to us, that our souls are purified by the secret ablution of the Spirit, that the effusion of that sacred blood may not be in vain. For the same reason also Paul, when speaking of purification and justification, says, we enjoy both “in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). The sum of all is this—that the Holy Spirit is the bond by which Christ efficaciously unites us to Himself.