Iain D Campbell
Grace restores what it did not take away; the restoration, therefore, of the graces of love to God and neighbour, zeal for holiness and righteousness, implies the loss of them by original sin. These supernatural gifts were lost in the fall. But our natural endowments were also compromised, so that...
Sean Lucas
Having talked about the knowledge of "earthly matters" which reason can attain by God's common grace (2.2.13-16), Calvin argues that spiritual insight--knowledge about "heavenly matters"--consists in three things: knowing God; knowing his fatherly favor in our behalf; and knowing how to frame our...
Sean Lucas
Humans want to carve out some place for their own natural abilities when it comes to doings works that conform to God's law. Ethicists will sometimes talk about "natural law," an inbred standard of right and wrong that is common to all people everywhere. Calvin knows the category of natural law,...
Sean Lucas
One key Reformation teaching which both Lutherans and Reformed held in common was the pervasive and inherited corruption of human corruption. In this, Calvin was no different. He notes that the Bible "painted a picture of human nature that showed us corrupt and perverted in every part" (2.3.1); "...
Sean Lucas
In this section, Calvin unpacks this statement: "God beings his good work in us, therefore, by arousing love and desire and zeal for righteousness in our hearts; or, to speak more correctly, by bending, forming, and directing, our hearts to righteousness. He completes his work, moreover, by...
Sean Lucas
What makes grace gracious? For Calvin, behind all grace is God's own decision: "The apostle does not teach that the grace of a good will is bestowed upon us if we accept it, but that He wills to work in us. This means nothing else than that the Lord by his Spirit directs, bends, and governs, our...
Stephen Nichols
How do we make sense of evil? And, more specifically, how do we make sense of the evil that human beings perpetrate on one another? Who's to blame? If Red Skelton were here, or SNL's "Churchlady"--for younger members of the audience--the answer would come back as Satan. Or is it ourselves? Or is it...
Stephen Nichols
"The king's heart is a stream of water in the hands of the Lord, he turns it wherever he wants" (Proverbs 21:1). Calvin raises yet another difficult question, that of human freedom. He begins by stressing "God's dominion" (2.4.7). "If the king's will is bent by God's hand," Calvin understands this...
Stephen Nichols
The next argument in favor of free will that Calvin refutes concerns exhortations or commands. To put the matter differently: What good is any moral instruction if we are not free? In my reading of Pelagius this concern seems to drive him the most in his debate with Augustine. How can I hold people...
Stephen Nichols
Long before Ben Franklin said God helps those who help themselves, others said it too. This becomes another argument in favor free will, that we, through our free will, contribute to our salvation. Calvin responds, "It is pointless to require in us the capacity to fulfill the law, just because the...

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