Thursday, January 5, 2017

God Made Favorable To Us - John Calvin

In his exposition on the Apostles' Creed, John Calvin lays emphasis on a gospel truth not often highlighted - that 'God has been made favorable to us' - rather than the reciprocal
truth of we made favorable to God. Calvin extends this marker by stating that 'Christ earned for us God's good will in which lies the principle guarantee and confidence of our life.' Is this a mere rhetorical flare by Calvin? Or is he underlining that God's acceptance of forgiven sinners is not that of a reluctant Judge, but of a loving Father. Believers, often burdened and discouraged by their less than victorious efforts in fighting sin, all too easily lose sight of God's sure and steadfast love sealed for them in the reconciliation that Christ has won. It is not just that we, by the blood of Christ, have been made minimally acceptable to God, slipping in the door of heaven as it were. But by the finished work of our savior Jesus Christ God himself has been made favorable to us! His is a willing and unhesitant embracing of blood-washed sinners for Christ's sake. And that they, now seeing God as their heavenly Father, would then likewise be so bold as to embrace him as his beloved sons and daughters. God was moved by his great love to offer up his own dear son Jesus Christ for us in order that we would not only be reconciled to him but that he would be reconciled to us! Amazing grace...
That is why, when it is a question of seeking reassurance of salvation, we must come to this redemption by which God has been made favorable to us, the opening which has been made for us in heaven, and the righteousness which has been obtained for us. For scripture does not teach anything more often than this: that by the power of His sacrifice, Christ earned for us God's good will in which lies the principal guarantee and confidence of our life; that the filth and stains of our sins (by which God's will is turned away and alienated from us) have been washed and cleansed by His blood, as the saying of St. John indicates, that His blood purifies us of all sins (1 Jn. 1:7). Here, then, is the summary of our redemption: that, being delivered from the bonds of sin by Christ's satisfaction, we are restored to righteousness and holiness and reconciled to God who does not hate anything in us except our sin.
John Calvin. Institutes of the Christian Religion: The First English Version of the 1541 French Edition 

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