Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Coffee With Calvin

Matthew 25:21

The Gift of Perseverance

As to perseverance, it would undoubtedly have been regarded as the gratuitous gift of God had not the very destructive error prevailed: that it is bestowed in proportion to human merit, according to the reception which each individual gives to the first grace. This having given rise to the idea that it was entirely in our own power to receive or reject the offered grace of God, that idea is no sooner exploded than the error founded on it must fall.

The error, indeed, is twofold. For, not only does it teach that our gratitude for the first grace and our legitimate use of it is rewarded by subsequent supplies of grace, but it also teaches that grace does not operate alone, saying it cooperates with ourselves. As to the former, we must hold that the Lord, while he daily enriches his servants and loads them with new gifts of his grace (because he approves of and takes pleasure in the work which he has begun), finds that in them which he may follow up with larger measures of grace. To this effect are the sentences, “To him that has shall be given,” (Luke 19:26) and, “Well done, good and faithful servant: thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things,” (Matthew 25:21, 23, 29).

But here two precautions are necessary: It must not be said that the legitimate use of the first grace is rewarded by subsequent measures of grace, as if man rendered the grace of God effectual by his own industry. Nor must it be thought that there is any such reward, as it ceases to be the grace of God. I admit, then, that believers may expect as a blessing from God that the better the use they make of previous, the larger the supplies they will receive of future grace. But I say even this use is of the Lord, and this remuneration is bestowed freely of mere good will.

Readings taken from Day by Day With John Calvin


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