Monday, November 10, 2008

By Grace Alone

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
-Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)

The below quote is from John Calvin's Commentary on Ephesians. I was awake late last night in bed in great need of sleep and began to think about the relationship between time and the finished work of God. I had been reading about the concept of time being linear and how the ancient view of time was cyclic in its relation to eternity earlier that evening and was reminded of a passage in Ephesians about being raised up with Christ. I was looking at Calvin's commentaries today regarding the passage in Ephesians, since much of the Reformed tradition bases their doctrine on the eternal decrees of God. I found what I was looking for but kept reading to see what Calvin had to say about the whole of this section. I am not much on Calvin's writings but I found an amazing quote on the verses above that is starting to change my mind.

God declares, that he owes us nothing; so that salvation is not a reward or
recompense, but unmixed grace. The next question is, in what way do men receive
that salvation which is offered to them by the hand of God? The answer is, by
faith; and hence he concludes that nothing connected with it is our own. If, on
the part of God, it is grace alone, and if we bring nothing but faith, which
strips us of all commendation, it follows that salvation does not come from
us. Ought we not then to be silent about free-will, and good intentions, and
fancied preparations, and merits, and satisfactions? There is none of these
which does not claim a share of praise in the salvation of men; so that the
praise of grace would not, as Paul shews, remain undiminished. When, on the part
of man, the act of receiving salvation is made to consist in faith alone, all
other means, on which men are accustomed to rely, are discarded. Faith, then,
brings a man empty to God, that he may be filled with the blessings of Christ.
And so he adds, not of yourselves; that claiming nothing for themselves, they
may acknowledge God alone as the author of their salvation.

May we come to know that every good and perfect gift comes from God and His grace alone.

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