Crooked Finger (crookedfingers) wrote,
Crooked Finger
crookedfingers

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Waiting For The Son And Perseverance

"John Calvin: As however, it is a thing that is more than simply difficult, in so great a corruption of our nature, he shows at the same time what it is that retains and confirms us in the fear of God and obedience to him-"waiting for Christ." For unless we are stirred up to the hope of eternal life, the world will quickly draw us to itself. For as it is only confidence in the divine goodness that induces us to serve God, so it is only the expectation of final redemption that keeps us from giving way. Let everyone, therefore, that would persevere in a course of holy life, apply their whole mind to an expectation of Christ's coming. It is also worthy of notice that he uses the expression "waiting for Christ" instead of the hope of everlasting salvation. For, unquestionably, without Christ we are ruined and thrown into despair, but when Christ shows himself, life and prosperity at the same time shine forth upon us. Let us bear in mind, however, that this is said to believers exclusively, for as for the wicked, he will come to be their Judge, so they can do nothing but tremble in looking for him.

This is what he afterwards adds-that Christ "delivers us from the wrath to come." For this is felt by none but those who, being reconciled to God by faith, have their conscience already pacified; otherwise, his name is dreadful. Christ, it is true, delivered us by his death from the anger of God, but the import of that deliverance will become apparent on the last day. This statement, however, consists of two departments. The first is that the wrath of God and everlasting destruction are impending over the human race, inasmuch as "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." The second is that there is no way of escape but through the grace of Christ; for it is not without good grounds that Paul assigns to him this office. It is, however, an inestimable gift that the pious, whenever mention is made of judgment, know that Christ will come as a Redeemer to them.

In addition to this, he says emphatically, "the wrath to come," that he may rouse up pious minds, lest they should fail from looking at the present life. For as faith is a "looking at things that do not appear," nothing is less befitting than that we should estimate the wrath of God according as anyone is afflicted in the world; as nothing is more absurd than to take hold of the transient blessings that we enjoy, that we may from them form an estimate of God's favor. While, therefore, on the one hand, the wicked sport themselves at their ease, and we, on the other hand, languish in misery, let us learn to fear the vengeance of God, which is hidden from the eyes of flesh, and take our satisfaction in the secret delights of the spiritual life. COMMENTARY ON FIRST THESSALONIANS
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