Thursday, November 2, 2017

Comfort For The Sheep From Calvin: Despite Believer's Lack of Sufficient Good Works - "We Shall Not Cease To Be Acceptable To God"

Hey bro, get off the bike. His burden is light & yoke is easy
In light of the recent final salvation wars, it might be comforting to hear some encouragement from a Reformed theologian. And it comes from John Calvin who was not just a Reformed theologian, but a Reformed pastor, and a very good one! Calvin understood that real comfort for the believer, i.e. good news, needed to be preached to the sheep who daily felt the heavy weight of their struggles against sin.

In the sermon excerpt below, Calvin informs his congregation that not only believer's sins of commission (doing the things we shouldn't) have been imputed to Christ and therefore 'abolished by the obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ' but also our sins of omission, i.e. the good works we should have done but didn't! Calvin writes, 'If we do not yet do the good that we will, but the evil oftentimes pushes us, and there may be many failures, or perhaps we may be too slow to do good, let us look at what the Son of God suffered in order to make reparation for all our faults.'
"Let us recognize, then, the difference between the Head and the members. Let us learn that though by nature we are entirely given to evil, and although God may have regenerated us in part, still our flesh does not cease to chafe against God. However, by virtue of the obedience which we see in our Lord Jesus Christ, we do not cease to be acceptable to our God. 
"If we do not yet do the good that we will, but the evil oftentimes pushes us, and there may be many failures, or perhaps we may be too slow to do good, let us look at what the Son of God suffered in order to make reparation for all our faults. Let us notice how He fought in such a way that there was no contradiction in Him when our crimes and sins were imputed to Him, as was explained more at length this morning. Let us see, then, how our Lord Jesus has made satisfaction in everything and for everything, but we today, although having taken the trouble to obey God, are not able to succeed, but we always droop our wings, must constantly repeat this: that we know that we shall not cease to be acceptable to God and that our imperfections will always be abolished by the obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that they will not come into account before God. 
"Besides, may each one according to the measure of his faith and of the grace which he has received exert himself to fight until we come to the heavenly rest. Seeing our weaknesses are still so great, being convinced that we shall not even know how to have a single good thought, and that having stumbled we shall not be able to raise ourselves, unless God extended to us His hand and strengthened us each minute, may we be advised to pray that He may augment in us the graces of His Holy Spirit; as He has promised it to us, and offers to us Jesus Christ for our Head and Captain, in order that after we are able to arrive at the victory which He acquired for us, of which we already experience the fruit, we shall experience it in perfection. 
"Now we shall bow in humble reverence before the majesty of our God." 
John Calvin: The Second Sermon on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ 



  1. Let us not say that the death the Son of God SUFFERED is not enough to make reparation for all our omissions and commissions

    John Gill–now the persons called the “firstborn” are not the apostles only, who received the first fruits of the Spirit; nor the first converts among the Jews, who first trusted in Christ; but also the chosen of God, who are equally the sons of God, and those born of him; are equally loved by him, and equally united to Christ, and interested in him. They have the same privileges, honors, and dignity, and shall enjoy the same inheritance

    John Gill --I am as you are, and you are as I am with respect to things spiritual; we are both alike in Christ, chosen in him, and redeemed by him; are equally regenerated by his Spirit, and are all the children of God by faith in him, and no more servants; are all equally Christ’s free men, and have a right to the same privileges and immunities; and therefore be as I am, as free from from the bondage of it, since we are upon an equal foot, and upon the same foundation in Christ.