Saturday, December 23, 2006

John Calvin on Repentance and Faith

"From mortification we infer that we are not conformed to the fear of God and do not learn the rudiments of piety, unless we are violently slain by the sword of the Spirit and brought to nought. As if God had declared that for us to be reckoned among His children our common nature must die" (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, John McNeil, Ed., (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960), Vol. I, Book III, Chapter III. 5-8, pp. 597-600).

"Even though we have taught in part how to possess Christ, and how through it we enjoy his benefits, this would still remain obscure if we did not add an explanation of the effects we feel. With good reason, the sum of the gospel is held to consist in repentance and the forgiveness of sins (Luke 24:47; Acts 5:31). Any discussion of faith, therefore, that omitted these two topics would be barren and mutilated and well–nigh useless... Surely no one can embrace the grace of the gospel without betaking himself from the errors of his past life into the right way, and applying his whole effort to the practice of repentance. Can true repentance stand apart from faith? Not at all. But even though they cannot be separated, they ought to be distinguished." (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion. Found in The Library of Christian Classics (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960), Volume XIX, Book III, Chapters 1, 5, pp. 592-593, 597.


Emily said...

Of course the title of this post caught my eye ;-)

I must admit that I've been a Christan for 21 years, and only very recently have I begun to truly understand repentance. I never understood that true repentance requires faith--faith in a loving God who is full of grace and mercy--not faith in myself to "buck up, try harder, and do better." John Calvin knows his stuff!

Deb said...

How true, Emily! I'm a slow learner too when it comes to this.

I hope you have a Merry Christmas and God bless you and your family.