Wednesday, July 25, 2012

John Calvin on the mercy of God.

This is taken from John Calvin, the epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Romans:  Romans 3:13-18

In his conclusion, [Paul] again repeats, in different words, what we stated at the beginning, namely that all wickedness flows from a disregard of God. When we have forsaken the fear of God, which is the essential part of wisdom, there is no right or purity left. In short, since the fear of God is the bridle by which our wickedness is held back, its removal frees us to indulge in every kind of licentious conduct...

David in Psalm 14:3 says that there was such perversity in men that God when looking on them all in succession, could not find even one righteous man. It therefore follows that this infection had spread into the whole human race, since nothing is hidden from the sight of other psalms he complains of the wickedness of his enemies, foreshadowing in himself and his descendants a type of the kingdom of Christ. In his adversaries therefore, are are represented of all those who, being estranged from Christ are not led by his Spirit. Isaiah expressly mentions Israel, and his accusation therefore applies still more to the Gentiles.

There is no doubt that human nature is described in these words, in order that we may see what man is when left to himself, since Scripture testifies that all who are not regenerated by the grace of God are in this state.The condition of the saints would not be better unless this depravity were amended in them. That they may still, however, remember that they are not different from others by nature, they find in what remains of their carnal nature, from which they can never escape, the seeds of those evils which would continually produce their effect in them, if they were not prevented by being mortified. For this they are indebted to the mercy of God and not to their own nature.