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Quote from john calvin on salvation, Thoughts please?

Discussion in 'Salvation (Soteriology)' started by Ben Collyer, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. Ben Collyer

    Ben Collyer Well-Known Member

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    Hi all, I just found this quote from john calvin

    In the early chapters of his exposition of the Christian faith, The Institutes of Christian Religion, John Calvin argues that you may know a lot about God, but you don’t truly know God until the knowledge of what he has done for you in Jesus Christ had changed the fundamental structure of your heart.” “For the Word of God is not received by faith if it flits about in the top of the brain, but when it takes root in the depth of the heart…the heart’s distrust is greater than the mind’s blindness. It is harder for the heart to be furnished with assurance [of God’s love] than for the mind to be endowed with thought.” When the gospel does take root in the heart, the sign of it is that Christians are led “to establish their complete happiness in him.” Unless people experience this, “they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to him” You don’t have true saving knowledge of God until you long to know and serve him. Such a soul “restrains itself from sinning, not our of dread of punishment alone; but because it loves and reveres God as Father…Even if there were no hell, it would still shudder at offending him.”

    john calvin seems to be saying here that salvation is not through faith, but through knowledge of God. I personally long to know God largely because I know that there is no real joy or happiness or meaning apart from him. so some might say that my motivation for seeking God is getting something for myself, namely life. which makes quotes like this feel condemning. what do you think of this quote? can you help me to understand what he is really saying?

    I also have not yet sought to "establish my complete happiness in him"

    I know that complete happiness can only be found in him, but I have not attained that fullness yet, does that mean im unsaved?
     
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  2. RC1970

    RC1970 post tenebras lux

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    What Calvin is saying is that faith requires a correct knowledge of God. It does no good to have faith in a mythological Jesus.
     
  3. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    At least for the Reformers, faith was trust in God. That is based on knowing what God has done for us in Christ.

    The broader point is that you can't have faith in someone without knowing them.

    This is not a claim that you need to have perfect theological knowledge. It's not that kind of abstract knowledge.

    Despite this statement, Reformed theology certainly doesn't teach that in order to be saved you need complete happiness in God. The statement quoted should be viewed as an ideal, not as a condition to be saved.
     
  4. Sarah G

    Sarah G Human bean. Supporter

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    Book knowledge will do you little good without a heart change. When your prayers in the morning are sincere requests to come closer to Lord Jesus Christ, to know Him better today than yesterday. When your only desire in life is to live for Lord Jesus Christ. When spiritual life is the reason you get out of bed and you keep finding yourself reading the books and asking the questions then you are genuinely searching and seeking God and wanting to rest in His grace and mercy. You're in love with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You want to reflect love and compassion in all your thoughts, words and deeds because that is what you see in Jesus Christ. That should be the desires and goals, not to be able to recite scripture and win at Bible trivia quiz night. I think that's what he is saying :twohearts:
     
  5. shakewell

    shakewell Active Member

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    But are you "led" to seek your complete happiness in him (that's what the quote actually says). God's leading is perfect and reliable; but our following isn't.

    Neither did the apostle Paul (Philippians 3:8-16). It's something we're to "press" toward.

    Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
     
  6. Butch5

    Butch5 Newbie Supporter

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    Why would anything Calvin said have anything to do with whether or not you're saved?
     
  7. fhansen

    fhansen Oldbie

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    Yes, it's true:
    "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." John 17:3
    This is the reason Jesus came, to reveal the true face of the Father, so that we may know Him-and so come to love Him which makes our justice complete. This is all a work of grace which begins, from man's perspective, with faith. Faith is to come to know God, and enter relationship with Him. Faith is the reestablishment of the knowledge of God that man lost at the Fall, when Adam effectively refused to have God as his God. And as such this is the establishment of communion with God whereupon He may do His work in us. Faith is both a response to grace as a free gift, and an act of the will since that gift can always be refused/rejected.

    And everything Jesus said and did was aimed at that one goal, to reveal and restore faith in the true God, all the way to making the ultimate sacrifice where God, Himself, hung on a cross to prove His boundless love, and rose from the dead to prove that this love is eternal, that it cannot be killed; light ultimately triumphs over darkness. Reconciliation is wrought, we only need to peer into that light, that love, and be overcome by it, and be convicted of our sins by it, sins which are already simultaneously forgiven by it, and accept, turn towards, and embrace that love. Either way, to know God is to love Him, and the potential growth in that love has no limitations.

    Now until we see God "face to face" our joy won't be complete; total peace and happiness won't be found in this world, they can just begin here.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  8. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    The Apostles and disciples said , when Jesus asked if they were going to leave Him also (after apparently most of His disciples left Him)
    "where would we go? ONLY YOU have the WORDS of ETERNAL LIFE"
    So , what does this indicate they were hoping for / seeking ?

    Not necessarily.
    Read throughout the New Testament and see WHO WAS continually FULL OF JOY, and continually full of PEACE, and continually full of RIGHTEOUSNESS. (which disciples)
     
  9. WordSword

    WordSword Member

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    Where can any of the material you posted on what Calvin said be found to come from Him? Thanks and God bless!
     
  10. Marvin Knox

    Marvin Knox Senior Veteran

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    Because it makes perfect sense. The faith which justifies is a faith which takes root in the heart and not a faith exhibited through the mere profession of certain doctrines.

    Much of what Calvin taught was to present in a systematic way the knowledge of what the scriptures teach concerning what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.

    According to his quote above, he felt that it was important to do that in order that the Word would change the fundamental structure of the hearts of men through the knowledge presented. I personally agree with that.

    From your argumentative question I perceive that, as Calvin would put it, "the knowledge of what God has done for you in Jesus Christ has not yet changed the fundamental structure of your heart.”

    You have made it abundantly clear over your time here that you disagree with the things Calvin found the scriptures to teach. I, to a much lesser degree than you, also find some fault with his teachings.

    But, whatever your motivation for asking, you ask a straight forward question and now you have an answer.

    Perhaps you could see your way clear to not turn this into just another Calvinism bashing thread.:)
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  11. WordSword

    WordSword Member

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    Please excuse this question, as I thought it was in reference to a different theologian! God bless!
     
  12. Butch5

    Butch5 Newbie Supporter

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    Firstly Marvin, the post wasn't to you. Secondly I had no intention of bashing Calvin. My point was have the poster question Calvin. I wasn't argumentative, unlike your reply. I realize I really frustrate you by refuting virtually everything Calvin taught. However, if he was correct that wouldn't be possible, would it? If one is open to what the Scriptures teach it's not difficult to understand the Bible. The problem is that People read these guys like Calvin and then approach the text of Scripture with the wrong presuppositions. A good example of that is to ask one about the doctrine of "Predestination". You can watch people going back and forth for years debating the subject all the while both sides are wrong because they've approached the subject with wrong presuppositions. The Reformed and the Arminian both approach the subject with the wrong presuppositions and argue vehemently. It would be funny if it wasn't such a serious matter. It is the word of God that we are speaking of not two sports teams. Where does it leave one to vehemently argue the wrong side of God's word?

    How much better would it be if Christians would forget about the ism's and just accept what God's word really says?
     
  13. Marvin Knox

    Marvin Knox Senior Veteran

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    These thread would be awful short and wouldn't accomplish much if no one picked up on something someone said and commented on it.
    Don't be ridiculous.

    You asked, "Why would anything Calvin said have anything to do with whether or not you're saved?" That is so obviously argumentatively bashing Calvin that Ray Charles could see it.
    Actually you haven't refuted virtually everything Calvin taught therefore it doesn't frustrate me.

    It isn't, as you say, possible because virtually everything he taught wasn't wrong. Some things he taught were IMO wrong. But not close to all and when you say that virtually everything he taught was wrong it is obviously meant to antagonize rather than state truth. No Scripture believing theologian like John Calvin (including you) is likely to have everything wrong or even the vast majority of it wrong. That's ridiculous in the extreme.
    I don't believe the Scriptures are easy nor were they meant to be. But I agree that they can be understood if one tries.
    I totally agree with you here on all points. That precisely why I disagree with much of so called Calvinism and insist on the need to nuance even those point I agree with so as not to be just parroting a party line but rather bringing misstatements of theology into line with the scriptures.

    But can't you see that you are doing much the same thing albeit from the reverse angle?

    What Calvin said in the OP was well founded in my opinion and that of others here. Yet you argue against it precisely because it is statement attributed to you mortal enemy "sports team" John Calvin.

    Then you argumentatively compound your bias by making the ridiculous observation that virtually "everything" John Calvin taught was wrong.

    That fact is that you posted a Calvin bashing question and I called you on it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
  14. Butch5

    Butch5 Newbie Supporter

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    Yeah, they would. Amd maybe the the poster of the OP would actually get some useful info instead of seeing a bunch of people argue

    Really? Do you read minds now? Or are you projecting your thoughts onto what I said? You do that with the Scriptures as I've pointed out before so I'm thinking that may be the case here.

    What difference would it make to the salvation of the OP if Calvin had never been born? The answer is , not one bit.

    I think you know better than that.

    Really? And yet four of the most accepted "Christian" doctrines aren't Biblical.

    They are easy. However, to understand them one needs to get rid of presuppositions. Here's something to think about. Everyone who becomes a Christian is lead to the faith by someone else. So, they are taught "what the Bible says" before they even become a Christian. Atheists debate Christians and "know" what the Bible teaches before they ever become Christians. All of these things they "learn" become their presuppositions. So, when the read the Bible for themselves they already "know" a lot of what Christianity teaches. These people then approach the Bible and interpret it from what they already "know". The problem is that much of what they have been taught is wrong. Therefore they interpret the text wrongly. This then is perpetuated.

    Even the Reformers had presuppositions, they were Roman Catholic ones. Some of the errors of the Catholic church lived on in protestantism because the Reformers simply continued with the same presuppositions that had been passed on to them. The only things that changed were those things that they challenged, what about the things they didn't challenge? They continued on, many to this very day.

    The point is that until one is willing to put aside "all" presuppositions and challenge every single thing they believe about the Bible truth will continue to evade them.

    [quoteI totally agree with you here on all points.

    But can't you see that you are doing much the same thing albeit from the reverse angle?

    What Calvin said in the OP was well founded in my opinion and that of others here. Yet you argue against it precisely because it is statement attributed to you mortal enemy "sports team" John Calvin.

    Then you argumentatively compound your bias by making the ridiculous observation that everything John Calvin taught was wrong.[/QUOTE]

    Not one of the 5 points of Calvinism, I know he didn't form the tulip, can be found stated anywhere in Scripture. Every one of them is by way of inference. So we have a theological system that is constructed solely on inference. One may argue that they believe the inference is strong, but it's inference. Not one point is stated plainly. In addition the 5 points are easily refuted with Scripture. Sure if Calvin said Jesus died for sins, that's correct. But the entire system, the 5 points, that is attributed to him isn't stated plainly anywhere in Scripture.

    Just look at the debates that go back and forth. Look at all of the threads on this forum alone that have been debated. If the system was what the Scriptures teach we should be easily able to show that, and yet we can't. It's pretty clear that there are, many, many, people who see a different teaching in the Scriptures. If the Calvin's teaching was what Scripture teaches then we wouldn't expect so many to see something else.

    If my point was to bash Calvin then I would have pointed out some error in my first post or I would have present something of his character, neither of which I did. I merely challenged his authority. His understanding of the Scriptures is no more authoritative. than the next guy.
     
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