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Jonathan Edwards – The Primary Inducement to Humble Love

20 Feb

The gospel yet further tends to lead us to humble exercises of love as it leads us to love Christ as one that was crucified for our sins. Christ’s being crucified is a great argument for the humility of us who are his followers; but his being crucified for our sins is a much further argument for it. For Christ’s being crucified for our sins is the greatest testimony of God against our sins that ever was. It shows more of God’s abhorrence of our sins than any other dispensation of God. God so abhorred our sins that he would have them so terribly punished, and his wrath so exerted against them, even when imputed to his own Son. So that this is the greatest inducement to our humility which can be, on these two accounts. First, it is the greatest manifestation of the vileness of that nature for which we should be humble. And second, it is the greatest argument to our love to this humble Savior whom the gospel holds forth. Because, the excellency of Christ and the love of Christ appear more in that act, his yielding himself to be crucified for us, than in any other act. So that these two things considered together tend above all things to draw forth the exercises of humble love.

~Jonathan Edwards~

Charity and Its Fruits: Living in the Light of God’s Love (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2012) p. 157-158

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John Calvin – Introducing the Book of Acts

21 Jul

Those things which Luke sets before us in this place to be learned are not only great, but also of rare profit; for, first, in that he shows that the Spirit of God was sent unto the apostles, he does not only prove that Christ was faithful (and true) in keeping his promise made unto his apostles; but also he certifies to us, that he is always mindful of his, and a perpetual governor of his Church, because the Holy Spirit did descend from heaven to this end; whereby we learn that the distance of place does in no way hinder Christ from being present with those that be his at all times. Now, here is most lively painted out the beginning of Christ’s kingdom, and as it were the renewing of the world; for although the Son of God had gathered together, by his preaching, a certain Church, before such time as he departed out of the world, yet, nevertheless, that was the best form of the Church which began then, when as the apostles, having new power given them from above, began to preach that that only Shepherd did both die and also rise again, that through his conduct all those which were dispersed, far and wide, (upon the face of the whole earth,) might be gathered unto one sheepfold. Here is, therefore, set down both the beginning and also the increasing of the Church of Christ after his ascension, whereby he was declared to be King both of heaven and earth.

~John Calvin~

Calvin’s Commentaries – Acts (Spokane, WA; Olive Tree Bible Software; Introduction to the Commentary on Acts. [Some older words rendered clearer]

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Martin Luther – No Remedy Except One

24 Apr

Because an eternal, unchangeable sentence of condemnation has passed upon sin – for God cannot and will not regard sin with favor, but his wrath abides upon it eternally and irrevocably – redemption was not possible without a ransom of such precious worth as to atone for sin, to assume the guilt, pay the price of wrath and thus abolish sin. This no creature was able to do. There was no remedy except for God’s only Son to step into our distress and himself become man, to take upon himself the load of awful and eternal wrath and make his own body and blood a sacrifice for sin. And so he did, out of the immeasurably great mercy and love towards us, giving himself up and bearing the sentence of undending wrath and death.

~Martin Luther~

Historical Theology (Grand Rapids, MI; Zondervan Books; 2011) p.399.

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John Calvin – What Do You See at the Cross?

8 Feb

[There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. – John 19:18]

As if the severity of the punishment had not been sufficient of itself, he is hanged in the midst between two robbers, as if he not only had deserved to be classed with other robbers, but had been the most wicked and the most detestable of them all. We ought always to remember, that the wicked executioners of Christ did nothing but what had been determined by the hand and purpose of God; for God did not surrender his Son to their lawless passions, but determined that, according to his own will and good pleasure, he should be offered as a sacrifice. And if there were the best reasons for the purpose of God in all those things which he determined that his Son should suffer, we ought to consider, on the one hand, the dreadful weight of his wrath against sin, and, on the other hand, his infinite goodness towards us. In no other way could our guilt be removed than by the Son of God becoming a curse for us. We see him driven out into an accursed place, as if he had been polluted by a mass of all sorts of crimes, that there he might appear to be accursed before God and men. Assuredly we are prodigiously stupid, if we do not plainly see in this mirror with what abhorrence God regards sin; and we are harder than stones, if we do not tremble at such a judgment as this.

When, on the other hand, God declares that our salvation was so dear to him, that he did not spare his only- begotten Son, what abundant goodness and what astonishing grace do we here behold! Whoever, then, takes a just view of the causes of the death of Christ, together with the advantage which it yields to us, will not, like the Greeks, regard the doctrlne of the cross as foolishness, nor, like the Jews, will he regard it as an offense, (1 Corinthians 1: 23,) but rather as an invaluable token and pledge of the power, and wisdom, and righteousness, and goodness of God.

~John Calvin~

Calvin’s Commentaries – John (Spokane, WA; Olive Tree Bible Software; Commentary on John 19:18.

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