Calvin: Christians Should Not Fear That God Is Continually Offended By The Remnant Of Sin

And this is the reason why the author of The Letter to the Hebrews refers to faith all the good works of which we read as being done among the holy fathers, and judges them by faith alone [Heb. 11:2 ff.; 11:17; etc.]. In the letter to the Romans, there is a famous passage on this freedom, wherein Paul reasons that sin ought not to rule us [Rom. 6:12 and 6:14, conflated], for we are not under the law but under grace [Rom. 6:14]. For he had exhorted believers not to let “sin reign in” their “mortal bodies” [Rom. 6:12], nor to “yield” their “members to sin as weapons of iniquity,” but to “give” themselves “to God as those who have come to life from the dead, and” their “members to God as weapons of righteousness” [Rom. 6:13]. On the other hand, they might object that they still bore with them their flesh, full of lusts, and that sin dwelt in them. Paul adds this consolation, in freedom from the law. It is as if he said: “Even though they do not yet clearly feel that sin has been destroyed or that righteousness dwells in them, there is still no reason to be afraid and cast down in mind as if God were continually offended by the remnants of sin, seeing that they have been emancipated from the law by grace, so that their works are not to be measured according to its rules. Let those who infer that we ought to sin because we are not under the law understand that this freedom has nothing to do with them. For its purpose is to encourage us to good.

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Battles edition) 3.19.6

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One comment

  1. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Rom. 8:1 For those who are truly in Christ Jesus by the Spirit, this is the mainspring that activates them to obey the law as an expression of love and gratitude to God for this glorious truth, without fear that their remaining imperfections can ever condemn them. Love fulfills the law.

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