Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tough teaching on sovereign grace

Therefore, while we all labour naturally under the same disease, those only recover health to whom the Lord is pleased to put forth his healing hand. The others whom, in just judgement, he passes over, pine and rot away till they are consumed. And this is the only reason why some persevere to the end, and others, after beginning their course, fall away. Perseverance is the gift of God, which he does not lavish promiscuously on all, but imparts to whom he pleases. If it is asked how the difference arises - why some steadily persevere, and others prove deficient in steadfastness, we can give no other reason than that the Lord, by his mighty power, strengthens and sustains the former, so that they perish not, while he does not furnish the same assistance to the latter, but leaves them to be monuments of instability. (Institutes 2.5.3)

These are some tough words by Calvin. I still cringe when I read words in the same vein as this teaching. Two things help me when I contemplate God's sovereignty in our salvation.

The first is that I only have one answer to the question "Do you believe that God is meticulously sovereign over all?" and that answer is a resounding YES. So be it.

Secondly, I remind myself that God's sovereignty does not negate human responsibility; all who  reject God's love in Christ do so willingly and culpably.

That leaves me with a sense of the amazing mercy and grace of God in my life.

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