An “Inferior Operation of the Spirit” in the Reprobate – Continued

June 21, 2007 § Leave a comment

My friend David, in his comment on the previous post reminded me of a portion of Institutes 3.2.12 that I wish I would have included. In the following quote, Calvin, speaks of the reprobate being impressed with a sense of divine grace. He reference King Saul as an example of this from Saul’s knowledge of being treated with paternal kindness. I will begin the quote from where I left off in the previous post. Here is the quote:

“Meanwhile, we must remember that however feeble and slender the faith of the elect may be, yet as the Spirit of God is to them a sure earnest and seal of their adoption, the impression once engraven can never be effaced from their hearts, whereas the light which glimmers in the reprobate is afterwards quenched. Nor can it be said that the Spirit therefore deceives, because he does not quicken the seed which lies in their hearts so as to make it ever remain incorruptible as in the elect. I go farther: seeing it is evident, from the doctrine of Scripture and from daily experience, that the reprobate are occasionally impressed with a sense of divine grace, some desire of mutual love must necessarily be excited in their hearts. Thus for a time a pious affection prevailed in Saul, disposing him to love God. Knowing that he was treated with paternal kindness, he was in some degree attracted by it. But as the reprobate have no rooted conviction of the paternal love of God, so they do not in return yield the love of sons, but are led by a kind of mercenary affection.”

A couple of things I want to emphasize is: first, Calvin is clear that even though the grace given to the “reprobate” is just temporary, yet is is still sincere and no deception on God’s part, second, Saul, who certainly was a member of the covenant (though non-elect), was treated with paternal kindness, as are all “reprobate”, but because of their own lack of conviction, i.e. unbelief, they do not respond to God as sons.

Thank you, David, for reminding me of this portion of section 12. It was a few hours between my reading and my comments on the blog. I had forgotten to add this part.

Blessings in Christ,
Terry W. West

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Worth Quoting – John Calvin on How We Recieve the Benefit of Christ’s Work

May 8, 2007 § Leave a comment

And the first thing to be attended to is, that so long as we are without Christ and separated from him, nothing which he suffered and did for the salvation of the human race is of the least benefit to us. To communicate to us the blessings which he received from the Father, he must become ours and dwell in us. Accordingly, he is called our Head, and the first-born among many brethren, while, on the other hand, we are said to be ingrafted into him and clothed with him, all which he possesses being, as I have said, nothing to us until we become one with him. And although it is true that we obtain this by faith, yet since we see that all do not indiscriminately embrace the offer of Christ which is made by the gospel, the very nature of the case teaches us to ascend higher, and inquire into the secret efficacy of the Spirit, to which it is owing that we enjoy Christ and all his blessings.

John Calvin ( A.D. 1509-1564) – From INSTITUTES OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION, Book 3, Chapter 1, Section 1

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