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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Friday, August 26, 2011

Calvin's Comments on Romans 11:29

Calvin's logic in doing exegetical work is impeccable for his time.  Against the semi-pelagians Calvin says that faith is not a work that merits anything whatsoever. This applies equally to the later development of Arminianism and the Anglo-Catholics/Tractarians.

In this passage Calvin points out that Israel was elected or chosen as a nation and that this is not individual election.  This proves that grace and election are not general in the Old Testament period since ONLY the nation of Israel was chosen from among all the nations of that time.  (Exodus 34:24; Leviticus 18:24).  However, the covenant of grace with Abraham shows that God did intend to bring in the other nations in the future.  (Genesis 17:4).  Since the Old Testament nation of Israel is a type of the church (Galatians 6:16) it follows that the church itself represents the election of the church as a whole and not individuals.  Since not all Israel is true Israel, general election of a group, nation, or church does not necessarily mean everyone in the group is individually elect.  (Romans 9:6-13).  The gifts and calling of God to the church are irrevocable.  God does not withdraw His promises to Israel in the Old Testament and His promises to the church are likewise certain.  Calvin says:

29. The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. He has mentioned gifts and calling; which are to be understood, according to a figure in grammar, as meaning the gift of calling: and this is not to be taken for any sort of calling but of that, by which God had adopted the posterity of Abraham into covenant; since this is especially the subject here, as he has previously, by the word, election, designated the secret purpose of God, by which he had formerly made a distinction between the Jews and the Gentiles.  For we must bear this in mind, —that he speaks not now of the election of individuals, but of the common adoption of the whole nation, which might seem for a time, according to the outward appearance, to have failed, but had not been cut up by the roots. As the Jews had fallen from their privilege and the salvation promised them, that some hope might remain to the remnant, Paul maintains that the purpose of God stands firm and immovable, by which he had once deigned to choose them for himself as a peculiar nation. Since then it cannot possibly be, that the Lord will depart from that covenant which he made with Abraham,

"I will be the God of thy seed," (Genesis 17:7),

it is evident that he has not wholly turned away his kindness from the Jewish nation.

He does not oppose the gospel to election, as though they were contrary the one to the other, for whom God has chosen he calls; but inasmuch as the gospel had been proclaimed to the Gentiles beyond the expectation of the world, he justly compares this favor with the ancient election of the Jews, which had been manifested so many ages before: and so election derives its name from antiquity; for God had in past ages of the world chosen one people for himself.

On account of the Fathers, he says not, because they gave any cause for love, but because God’s favor had descended from them to their posterity, according to the tenor of the covenant, "Thy God and the God of thy seed." How the Gentiles had obtained mercy through the unbelief of the Jews, has been before stated, namely, that God, being angry with the Jews for their unbelief, turned his kindness to them. What immediately follows, that they became unbelievers through the mercy manifested to the Gentiles, seems rather strange; and yet there is in it nothing unreasonable; for Paul assigns not the cause of blindness, but only declares, that what God transferred to the Gentiles had been taken away from the Jews. But lest what they had lost through unbelief, should be thought by the Gentiles to have been gained by them through the merit of faith, mention is made only of mercy. What is substantially said then is, —that as God purposed to show mercy to the Gentiles, the Jews were on this account deprived of the light of faith.

The hardening of the Jews is equivalent to the hardening of the Gentiles.  God hardens all so that He may have mercy on all.  (Romans 11:32).  This is not to refute individual election and reprobation but only to show that God deals with nations and groups as He did with Israel in the past.  Not all Israel is true Israel.  God always maintains a remnant of true believers in the visible churches.  (Romans  11:1-2, 22).
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Reasonable Christian Blog Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost; Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen. 1662 Book of Common Prayer

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