Posts Tagged ‘Election’


When, therefore, the saints by innocence of conscience strengthen their faith and take from it occasion to exult, from the fruits of their calling they merely regard themselves as having been chosen as sons by the Lord. Accordingly, the statement of Solomon: “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence” [Proverbs 14:26], and the fact that in order to be heard by him the saints sometimes use this calling of God to witness that they have walked before him in uprightness and simplicity [cf. Genesis 24:40; 2 Kings 20:3] are matters that have no place in laying a foundation to strengthen the conscience but are of value only when taken a posteriori. For there is nowhere that fear which is able to establish full assurance. And the saints are conscious of possessing only such an integrity as intermingled with many vestiges of the flesh. But since they take the fruits of regeneration as proof of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, from this they are greatly strengthened to wait for God’s help in all their necessities, seeing that in this very great matter they experience him as Father. And they cannot do even this unless they first apprehend God’s goodness, sealed by nothing else than the certainty of the promise. For if they begin to judge it by good works, nothing will be more uncertain or more feeble; for indeed, if works be judged of themselves, by their imperfection they will no less declare God’s wrath than by their incomplete purity they testify to his benevolence.

In sum, they so proclaim God’s benefits as not to turn away from God’s freely given favor, in which, as Paul testifies, there is set “length, breadth, depth, and height” [Ephesians 3:18]. It is as if he said: “Wherever the minds of the godly turn, however high they mount up, however far and wide they extend, still they ought not to depart from the love of Christ but should apply themselves wholly to meditating upon it. For in itself it embraces all dimensions.” Therefore, he says that it excels and overtops all knowledge, and that when we acknowledge how much Christ loved us we are “filled with all the fullness of God” [Ephesians 3:19]. As elsewhere, while Paul boasts that the godly are victors in every contest, he soon adds the reason: “on account of him who loved us” [Romans 8:37 p.].

– Calvin’s Institutes

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What comes first, logically: Federal union, or voluntary union?

There is a federal (covenantal) union with Christ which is antecedent to all actual union, and is the source of it.  God gave a people to his Son in the covenant of redemption.  Those included in that covenant, and because they are included in it – in other words, because they are in Christ as their head and representative -receive in time the gift of the Holy Spirit and all other benefits of redemption.  Their voluntary union with Christ by faith, is not the ground of their federal union, but on the contrary, their federal union is the ground of their voluntary union.  It is, therefore in Christ, i.e. as united to him in the covenant of redemption, that the people of God are elected to eternal life and to all the blessings therewith connected. – Charles Hodge

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