Calvin: The Unmerited Love Of God Is The Source Of Our Salvation

16. For God so loved the world. Christ opens up the first cause, and, as it were, the source of our salvation, and he does so, that no doubt may remain; for our minds cannot find calm repose, until we arrive at the unmerited love of God. As the whole matter of our salvation must not be sought any where else than in Christ, so we must see whence Christ came to us, and why he was offered to be our Saviour. Both points are distinctly stated to us: namely, that faith in Christ brings life to all, and that Christ brought life, because the Heavenly Father loves the human race, and wishes that they should not perish. And this order ought to be carefully observed; for such is the wicked ambition which belongs to our nature, that when the question relates to the origin of our salvation, we quickly form diabolical imaginations about our own merits. Accordingly, we imagine that God is reconciled to us, because he has reckoned us worthy that he should look upon us. But Scripture everywhere extols his pure and unmingled mercy, which sets aside all merits.

—John Calvin, Commentary on the Gospel According to John, vol. 1 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 122–123.

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One comment

  1. So was Calvin a “Calvinist” and did he believe in particular redemption – did God love the human race or his elect? Is TULIP the product of the Canons of Dordrecht and is it anachronistic to tie this to Calvin’s thought concerning the extent of Christ’s satisfaction? (many don’t like the use of the word “atonement”).

    To answer these and many more questions, I highly recommend, Richard A. Muller’s “CALVIN and the REFORMED TRADITION: On the Work of Christ and the Order of Salvation.” There is no better guide in my opinion! Pure historical theology.

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