Monday, March 27, 2006

Calvin's Institutes, Chapter XXIV: Election

I was fortunate to recieve a fine copy of John Calvin's, Institutes of the Christian Religion, an intrigueing book written during an unusual period of history, by an unusual man, for unusual reasons, while the Christian religion was being misimplemented to war against itself. It seems, thus far in my reading, as though he is taking advantage of the state of the times, wherein it was fashionable and permissable for the major Christian power players that be, to disseminate to others the truth of the Bible, in whatever way it was that that truth appeared to themselves, expressing parts of that truth often in quite apparent and highly speculaive and highly subjective terms, relying on the complexity of their interpretations, the heartfeltness of their interpretations, and finally, the ever persuasive sword, to very tenaciously put forth a set of Christian beliefs intended to stand alone unto themselves, and serve their own personal experience.
I gravitated over to the chapter on election and, as I'm sure he would put it, I am going to 'cavil' my way through it, point by point, until he has made his point and I have made mine; for the sole purpose of then knowing what he believes, and what I believe, concerning the revealed word of God which we both share. I wish I had much more time than I do to put toward this, but I don't, so this will not go very fast; but it will lack nothing in the way of patience and ordinary standards of thoroughness, and hopefully lead to a greater understanding and comfort between myself and those of my brothers and sisters in Christ who prefer to adhere to any Calvinist beliefs which I may not.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Giving of Thanks for His Grace Abounds to the Glory of God.

I'm going to figure that the Lord appointed Paul his ministry for the purpose of equiping others for its carrying on. To manifest the Truth, in others, as it had been spoken to him.

Paul's words from 2 Corinthians chapter 4 are all highlighted in bold.

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart,
but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

The devil, in and amongst the ministry's workings, is doing his best to get in the way. whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

All that Paul primarily needs to do in his ministry is point to the recently risen Savior as Whom the One God was pointing towards through His entire history.

~For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake.
For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

The Lord has been raised, and ultimately, he, and they, and all believers, will all be together with Him!

~...knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.

Now Christ was using Paul's heart as 'command central' to work from, yet, the rest of Paul was just a decaying earthen vessel, afflicted in every way.

~So death works in us, but life in you.

And Paul told everyone that his affliction should produce in them, not despair, but, the opposite. Because through the power of God, and gospel of Christ, the Light had now entered the hearts of all who believe and who managed to out-maneuver the devil's attempts at their blinding, so that the life of Jesus Christ might be manifested in their body, renewing their inner man day by day. And therefore, not to lose heart.

~Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

And then he takes your breath away, and says:

~For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,...

He also lets us know, by using Psalm 116, that now we can approach God, through the glory of Christ, in a similar way to which David had.

~But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE," we also believe, therefore we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.

The Lord inclines His ear to us and hears our voice. We can call upon the name of the Lord to save our lives from the cords of death and the terrors of Sheol. He extends His grace and preserves the simple and those who are brought low by the thought of separation from Him, His compassion, mercy and righteousness. The Lord has dealt bountifully with us and all we have to do is lift up the cup of salvation.

Psalm 116:

~I love the Lord, because He hears my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live. The cords of death encompassed me and the terrors of Sheol came upon me; I found distress and sorrow. Then called upon the name of the Lord: "O Lord, I beseech You, save my life!" Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yes, our God is compassionate. The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For You have rescued my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. I shall walk before the Lord in the land of the living. I believed when I said, "I am greatly afflicted." I said in my alarm, "All men are liars." What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I shall lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.

To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and call upon the name of the Lord.

So let's now lift up the cup of salvation and say with them:

"Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb"..."Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever. Amen" as in Revelation 7 chapter 12.

And then Paul says that which, to me, are startling and revealing words:

For all things are for your sakes, so the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.

Now that's glory.


2 Cor. 3:16
But whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

And God's glory abounds through the giving of thanks.

Friday, March 03, 2006

So If I'm Not There, Then Start Without Me.

I will finally read Calvin's Institutes, and any other relevant teaching by John Calvin, and settle the Calvinism debate, in my mind, once and for all. I do wish someone would talk me out of it though, because it seems like there are so many more productive things to be doing. But it's either consider Calvin, or tune out a significant portion of the Christian world. And this is the only hope I see for my weathering the debate on Calvinism. Why....? Because the answer as to whether Calvin satisfactorily proved his ideas from scripture has to be in his writings somewhere. And if I can find it, I'm going to be way ahead of alot of Calvinists from whom I have sought ready scriptural support for Calvin's doctrine. And if I can't find it, then I will have to debate it no longer. I'm sure it will be several months before I'm satisfied that I understand. But I did order the two volumes from Amazon today.

Whatever is claiming to have its basis in the knowledge and wisdom of God is going to have to pass the test of His criteria.

From Proverbs 8:

"Listen, for I will speak noble things; and the opening of my lips will reveal right things."

"For my mouth will utter truth; and wickedness is an adomination to my lips."

"All the utterances of my lips are in righteousness; there is nothing crooked or perverted in them."

"They are all straightforward to him who understands; and right to those who find knowledge."

"I, wisdom, dwell in prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion."

This is my greatest fear going in...

"Where there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,..."


Eccl. 12:12,
"But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body. "