Calvin and the Free and Well-Meant Offer

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Lid geworden op: 21 mar 2007, 11:25

Calvin and the Free and Well-Meant Offer

Bericht door Flynn »

The other day I found this in Calvin:

Now I want to consider not so much what and how Pighius speaks, as how this worthless fellow may fall and lie buried under the ruins of his desperate impudence. So pious consciences will be reassured; for, as I know, they are often disturbed because of their inexperience. So I shall select from the almost unlimited stream of his loquacity whatever is specious, so that all may perceive that with all his speaking he says nothing. That Christ, the redeemer of the whole world, commands the Gospel to be preached promiscuously to all does not seem congruent with special election. But the Gospel is an embassy of peace by which the world is reconciled to God, as Paul teaches (II Cor 5.18); and on the same authority it is announced that those who hear are saved. I answer briefly that Christ was so ordained for the salvation of the whole world that He might save those who are given to Him by the Father, that He might be their life whose head He is, and that He might receive those into participation of His benefits whom God by His gratuitous good pleasure adopted as heirs for Himself. Which of these things can be denied? So the apostle pronounces the prophecy of Isaiah to be fulfilled in Him: Behold, I and the children whom the Lord gave me (Is 8.18; Heb 2.13). Christ Himself declares: All that the Father gave Me, I keep lest any perish (Jn 6.37). We read everywhere that He diffuses life only to members of His. And whoever will not allow that to be grafted into His body is a special gift has never read attentively the Epistle to the Ephesians. From this follows also a third thing: the virtue of Christ belongs only to the sons of God. Even those opposed to me will concede that the universality of the grace of Christ is not better judged than from the preaching of the Gospel. But the solution of the difficulty lies in seeing how the doctrine of the Gospel offers salvation to all. That it is salvific for all I do not deny. But the question is whether the Lord in His counsel here destines salvation equally for all. All are equally called to penitence and faith; the same mediator is set forth for all to reconcile them to the Father-so much is evident. But it is equally evident that nothing can be perceived except by faith, that Paul’s word should be fulfilled: the Gospel is the power of God for salvation to all that believe (Rom I. 16). But what can it be for others but a savour of death to death? as he elsewhere says (I1 Cor 2.16). John Calvin, Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, (London: James Clarke & Co., 1961), 102-103.

Note: Where Reid has “that this is salvific for all…,” Cole translates this line as: “it is preached that those who hear might be saved,” Henry Cole, “Eternal Predestination,” in Calvin’s Calvinism, (Grand Rapids: Reformed Free Publishing, 1987?), 94.

Here Calvin says that the Gospel offer to all expresses the grace of God to all in a universal way, and that the offer is itself salvific. Or as Cole has it (in the PRC edition) 'God does this to seek the salvation of all.' It reminds me of what Calvin says on 2 Cor 5:20; here:

And there has to be a twofold will operating in Calvin's theology for his comments to be intelligible.

Take care,
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