Writings of John Calvin

Which Support Amyraldianism

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(From: Dr. Alan C Clifford, Calvinus: Authentic Calvinism,
A Clarification (Charenton Reformed Publishing, 1996)

EXTRACTS FROM JOHN CALVIN'S WRITINGS

1. Now Paul assumes it as an axiom which is received among all the pious....that the whole human race is obnoxious to a curse, and therefore that the holy people are blessed only through the grace of the Mediator...I therefore thus interpret the present place; that God promises to his servant Abram that blessing which shall afterwards flow down to all people. Comment on Genesis 12:3

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2. Christ was vividly represented in the person of the high priest...[who] bore the people itself upon his shoulders and before his breast, in such a manner that in the person of one, all might be presented familiarly before God. Comment on Exodus 39:1

3. We have stated elsewhere why the priests were to be dressed in garments different from others, since he who is the mediator between God and men should be free from all impurity and stain...Thus then the holy fathers were reminded, that under the image of a mortal man, another Mediator was promised, who, for the reconciliation of the human race, should present Himself before God with perfect and more than angelic purity. Comment on Leviticus 16:3

4. Christ...the Lamb of God, whose offering blotted out the sins of the world...Comment on Leviticus 16:7

5. God could bear no defect in the priests; it follows, then, that a man of angelic purity was to be expected, who should reconcile God to the world. Comment on Leviticus 21:17

6. ...the salvation brought by Christ is common to the whole human race, inasmuch as Christ, the author of salvation, is descended from Adam, the common father of us all. Institutes, II. xiii. 3

7. First, we must understand that as long as Christ remains outside of us, and we are separated from him, all that he has suffered and done for the salvation of the human race remains useless and of no value for us. Institutes, III. i. 1

8. It is true that Saint John saith generally, that [God] loved the world. And why? For Jesus Christ offereth himself generally to all men without exception to be their redeemer...Thus we see three degrees of the love that God hath shewed us in our Lord Jesus Christ. The first is in respect of the redemption that was purchased in the person of him that gave himself to death for us, and became accursed to reconcile us to God his Father. That is the first degree of love, which extendeth to all men, inasmuch as Jesus Christ reacheth out his arms to call and allure all men both great and small, and to win them to him. But there is a special love for those to whom the gospel is preached: which is that God testifieth unto them that he will make them partakers of the benefit that was purchased for them by the death and passion of his Son. And forasmuch as we be of that number, therefore we are double bound already to our God: here are two bonds which hold us as it were strait tied unto him. Now let us come to the third bond, which dependeth upon the third love that God sheweth us: which is that he not only causeth the gospel to be preached unto us, but also maketh us to feel the power thereof, so as we know him to be our Father and Saviour, not doubting but that our sins are forgiven us for our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, who bringeth us the gift of the Holy Ghost, to reform us after his own image. Sermons on Deuteronomy, p. 167

9. ...our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the life and salvation of the world,... Sermons on 2 Samuel, p. 66

10. For instance, let me think of myself in this way:...that God has bestowed grace upon the human race (in general) but that he has shown his grace to me (in particular), with the result that I am especially obligated to him. Sermons on 2 Samuel, p. 357

11. So, as it says in the Psalm [Ps. 51?], our Lord Jesus Christ has paid the debts of all sinners. That is what I have mentioned from Isaiah: that all the chastisements were laid upon him (Isa. 53:4). What is this chastisement, if not satisfaction for all the sins that we have committed? Sermons on 2 Samuel, p. 576

12. True it is that the effect of [Christ's] death comes not to the whole world. Nevertheless, forasmuch as it is not in us to discern between the righteous and the sinners that go to destruction, but that Jesus Christ has suffered his death and passion as well for them as for us, therefore it behoves us to labour to bring every man to salvation, that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ may be available to them. Sermons on Job, p. 548 (later interpolation deleted)

13. Let us fall down before the face of our good God...that it may please Him to grant His grace, not only to us, but also to all people and nations of the earth, bringing back all poor ignorant souls from the miserable bondage of error and darkness, to the right way of salvation... Sermons on Job, p. 751 (Calvin's usual end of sermon prayer).

14. The sinner, if he would find mercy, must look to the sacrifice of Christ, which expiated the sins of the world, glancing, at the same time, for the confirmation of his faith, to Baptism and the Lord's Supper; for it were vain to imagine that God, the Judge of the world, would receive us again into his favour in any other way than through a satisfaction made to his justice. Comment on Psalm 51:9

15. Diligent as [David] was, therefore, in the practice of sacrifice, resting his whole dependence upon the satisfaction of Christ, who atoned for the sins of the world, he could yet honestly declare that he brought nothing to God in the shape of compensation, and that he trusted entirely to a gratuitous reconciliation. Comment on Psalm 51:16

16. Hitherto he addressed the Jews alone, as if to them alone salvation belonged, but now he extends his discourse farther. He invites the whole world to the hope of salvation, and at the same time brings a charge of ingratitude against all the nations, who, being devoted to their own errors, purposely avoided, as it were, the light of life; for what could be more base than to reject deliberately their own salvation?...the Lord...invites all without exception to come to him...Now, we must 'look to him' with the eye of faith, so as to embrace the salvation which is exhibited to all through Christ; for 'God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him may not perish.' (John 3:16). Comment on Isaiah 45:22

17. Yet I approve of the ordinary reading, that he alone bore the punishment of many, because on him was laid the guilt of the whole world. It is evident from other passages, and especially from the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, that 'many' sometimes denotes 'all'. Comment on Isaiah 53:12

18. Yet I approve of the common reading, that He alone bore the punishment of many, because the guilt of the whole world was laid upon Him. It is evident from other passages...that 'many' sometimes denotes 'all'...That, then, is how our Lord Jesus bore the sins and iniquities of many. But in fact, this word 'many' is often as good as equivalent to 'all'. And indeed, our Lord Jesus was offered to all the world. For it is not speaking of three or four when it says: 'God so loved the world, that He spared not His only Son.' But yet we must notice what the Evangelist adds in this passage: 'That whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but obtain eternal life.' Our Lord Jesus suffered for all and there is neither great nor small who is not inexcusable today, for we can obtain salvation in Him. Unbelievers who turn away from Him and who deprive themselves of Him by their malice are today doubly culpable. For how will they excuse their ingratitude in not receiving the blessing in which they could share by faith? And let us realize that if we come flocking to our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall not hinder one another and prevent Him being sufficient for each of us...Let us not fear to come to Him in great numbers, and each one of us bring his neighbours, seeing that He is sufficient to save us all. Sermons on Isaiah 53, pp. 136, 141-4

19. ...Not only were the death and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ sufficient for the salvation of the world, but that God will make them efficacious and that we shall see the fruit of them and even feel and experience it. Sermons on Isaiah 53, p. 116

20. For God, who is perfect righteousness, cannot love the iniquity which he sees in all. All of us, therefore, have that within which deserves the hatred of God...Our acquittal is in this - that the guilt which made us liable to punishment was transferred to the head of the Son of God [Isa. 53:12]...For, were not Christ a victim, we could have no sure conviction of his being...our substitute-ransom and propitiation. Institutes II. xvi. 3, 5, 6

21. Now we must see how God wishes all to be converted...But we must remark that God puts on a twofold character: for he here wishes to be taken at his word. As I have already said, the Prophet does not here dispute with subtlety about his incomprehensible plans, but wishes to keep our attention close to God's word. Now what are the contents of this word? The law, the prophets, and the gospel. Now all are called to repentance, and the hope of salvation is promised them when they repent: this is true, since God rejects no returning sinner: he pardons all without exception; meanwhile, this will of God which he sets forth in his word does not prevent him from decreeing before the world was created what he would do with every individual... Comment on Ezekiel 18:23

22. I contend that, as the prophet [Ezekiel] is exhorting to penitence, it is no wonder that he pronounces God willing that all be saved. But the mutual relation between threats and promises shows such forms of speech to be conditional...So again...the promises which invite all men to salvation...do not simply and positively declare what God has decreed in His secret counsel but what he is prepared to do for all who are brought to faith and repentance...Now this is not contradictory of His secret counsel, by which he determined to convert none but His elect. He cannot rightly on this account be thought variable, because as lawgiver He illuminates all with the external doctrine of life. But in the other sense, he brings to life whom He will, as Father regenerating by the Spirit only His sons. Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, pp. 105-6

23. ...God had chosen the family of Abraham, that the world's redeemer might be born of it...although we know that from the time that God made a covenant with Abraham, the Redeemer was particularly promised to his seed, we also know that from the very fall of man He was needed by all, as indeed He was from that time destined for all the world...It would have done us no good for Christ to have been given by the Father as the author of salvation, if He had not been available to all without distinction...We should know that salvation is openly displayed to all the human race, for in all reality He is called son of Noah and son of Adam... Comment on Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3: 23-38

24. He says, For...he...shall save his people from their sins...We must determine that the whole human race was appointed to destruction, since its salvation depends on Christ...Doubtless, by Christ's people the angel intends the Jews, over whom He was set as Head and King, but as soon after the nations were to be ingrafted into the race of Abraham, this promise of salvation is extended openly to all who gather by faith into the one body of the Church. Comment on Matthew 1:21

25. When the Father calls Him the Beloved...He declares that He is the Mediator in whom He reconciles the world to Himself. Comment on Matthew 17:5

26. From this it follows that our reconciliation with God is free, for the only price paid for it is Christ's death...'Many' is used, not for a definite number, but for a large number, in that He sets Himself over against all others. And this is the meaning also in Rom. 5:15, where Paul is not talking of a part of mankind but of the whole human race. Comment on Matthew 20:28

27. Seeing that in His Word He calls all alike to salvation, and this is the object of preaching, that all should take refuge in His faith and protection, it is right to say that He wishes all to gather to Him. Now the nature of the Word shows us that here there is no description of the secret counsel of God - just His wishes. Certainly those whom He wishes effectively to gather, He draws inwardly by His Spirit, and calls them not merely by man's outward voice. If anyone objects that it is absurd to split God's will, I answer that this is exactly our belief, that His will is one and undivided: but because our minds cannot plumb the profound depths of His secret election to suit our infirmity, the will of God is set before us as double. Comment on Matthew 23:37

28. ...The Son of God went to face death of His own will, to reconcile the world to the Father...the spontaneous sacrifice by which all the world's transgressions were blotted out... Comment on Matthew 26:1-2

29. [Christ's] grave would be of sweet savour to breathe life and salvation upon all the world. Comment on Matthew 26:12

30. Christ offered Himself as a Victim for the salvation of the human race. Comment on Matthew 26:14-20

31. ...The sacrifice [of Christ] was ordained by the eternal decree of God, to expiate the sins of the world. Comment on Matthew 26:24

32. [Christ was] burdened with the sins of the whole world... Comment on Matthew 26:39

33. Christ...won acquittal for the whole human race. Comment on Matthew 27:12

34. God had ordained [Christ] to be the...(sacrificial outcast) for the expiation of the world's sins. Comment on Matthew 27:15

35. The word many does not mean a part of the world only, but the whole human race: he contrasts many with one, as if to say that he would not be Redeemer of one man, but would meet death to deliver many from their accursed guilt...So when we come to the holy table not only should the general idea come to our mind that the world is redeemed by the blood of Christ, but also each should reckon to himself that his own sins are covered. Comment on Mark 14:24

36. Happy Mary, to have embraced in her heart the promise of God, to have conceived and brought into the world for herself and for all - salvation...God offers His benefits to all without distinction, but faith opens our arms to draw them to our bosom: lack of faith lets them fall, before they reach us. Comment on Luke 1:45

37. Though the angel only addresses the shepherds, he means that the message of salvation which he brings them extends farther, not for their ears alone, but for others also to hear. Understand that the joy was open to all the people, for it was offered to all without distinction. For He is not the God of this one or of that, but He had promised Christ to the whole family of Abraham. That, in great measure, the Jews have lost the joy that was theirs to hold, resulted from their failure to believe. Today also, God invites all men alike to salvation through the Gospel, but the world's ingratitude makes only a few enjoy the grace, which is set out equally for all. While the joy, then, has been confined to a small number, in respect of God, it is called universal. And though the angel is speaking only of the chosen people, yet now with the partition wall gone the same tidings are presented to the whole human race. Comment on Luke 2:10

38. Since Christ desired nothing more than to do the work appointed Him by the Father and knew that the purpose of His calling was to gather the lost sheep of the house of Israel, He wished His coming to be the salvation of all. This was why He was moved by compassion and wept over the approaching destruction of Jerusalem. For when He considered that it had been divinely chosen as the sacred abode, in which should dwell the covenant of eternal salvation, the sanctuary from which salvation should come forth for all the world, He could not help grieving bitterly over its destruction. Comment on Luke 19:41

39. First, whence could that confidence in pardon have sprung, if [the thief] did not sense in Christ's death...a sacrifice of sweet odour, able to expiate the sins of the world? Comment on Luke 23:42

40. [Christ] must be Redeemer of the world...He was there, as it were, in the place of all cursed ones and of all transgressors, and of those who had deserved eternal death. Sermons on Christ's Passion, p. 95

41. [God] willed that [Christ] be the sacrifice to wipe out the sins of the world...Sermons on Christ's Passion, p. 123

42. ...Our Lord made effective for [the pardoned thief on the cross] His death and passion which He suffered and endured for all mankind... Sermons on Christ's Passion, pp. 151.

43. The Lord Jesus [was] found before the judgement-seat of God in the name of all poor sinners (for He was there, as it were, having to sustain all our burdens)...The death and passion of our Lord Jesus...served...to wipe away the iniquities of the world... Sermons on Christ's Passion, pp. 155-6

44. And when he says the sin of the world he extends this kindness indiscriminately to the whole human race, that the Jews might not think the Redeemer has been sent to them alone...John, therefore, by speaking of the sin of the world in general, wanted to make us feel our own misery and exhort us to seek the remedy. Now it is for us to embrace the blessing offered to all, that each may make up his mind that there is nothing to hinder him from finding reconciliation in Christ if only, led by faith, he comes to Him. Comment on John 1:29

45. Christ...was offered as our Saviour...Christ brought life because the heavenly Father does not wish the human race that He loves to perish...But we should remember...that the secret love in which our heavenly Father embraced us to Himself is, since it flows from His eternal good pleasure, precedent to all other causes; but the grace which He wants to be testified to us and by which we are stirred to the hope of salvation, begins with the reconciliation provided through Christ...Thus before we can have any feeling of His Fatherly kindness, the blood of Christ must intercede to reconcile God to us...And He has used a general term [whosoever], both to invite indiscriminately all to share in life and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers. Such is also the significance of the term 'world' which He had used before. For although there is nothing in the world deserving of God's favour, He nevertheless shows He is favourable to the whole world when He calls all without exception to the faith of Christ, which is indeed an entry into life.

Moreover, let us remember that although life is promised generally to all who believe in Christ, faith is not common to all. Christ is open to all and displayed to all, but God opens the eyes only of the elect that they may seek Him by faith...And whenever our sins press hard on us, whenever Satan would drive us to despair, we must hold up this shield, that God does not want us to be overwhelmed in everlasting destruction, for He has ordained His Son to be the Saviour of the world. Comment on John 3:16

46. As also it is said in John 3:16 that God so loved the world that He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him to death for our sakes. Sermons on Christ's Passion, p. 48.

47. Again, when they proclaim that Jesus is the Saviour of the world and the Christ, they have undoubtedly learned this from hearing Him...And He declared that the salvation He had brought was common to the whole world, so that they should understand more easily that it belonged to them also. Comment on John 4:42

48. It is no small consolation to godly teachers that, although the larger part of the world does not listen to Christ, He has His sheep whom He knows and by whom He is also known. They must do their utmost to bring the whole world into Christ's fold, but when they do not succeed as they would wish, they must be satisfied with the single thought that those who are sheep will be collected together by their work. Comment on John 10:27

49. Christ...offers salvation to all indiscriminately and stretches out His arms to embrace all, that all may be the more encouraged to repent. And yet He heightens by an important detail the crime of rejecting an invitation so kind and gracious; for it is as if He had said: 'See, I have come to call all; and forgetting the role of judge, my one aim is to attract and rescue from destruction those who already seem doubly ruined.' Hence no man is condemned for despising the Gospel save he who spurns the lovely news of salvation and deliberately decides to bring destruction on himself. Comment on John 12:47

50. For [by Christ's death] we know that by the expiation of sins the world has been reconciled to God... Comment on John 17:1

51. He openly declares that He does not pray for the world, for He is solicitous only for His own flock [the disciples] which He received from the Father's hand. But this might seem absurd; for no better rule of prayer can be found than to follow Christ as our Guide and Teacher. But we are commanded to pray for all, and Christ Himself afterwards prayed for all indiscriminately, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.' I reply, the prayers which we utter for all are still limited to God's elect. We ought to pray that this and that and every man may be saved and so embrace the whole human race, because we cannot yet distinguish the elect from the reprobate...we pray for the salvation of all whom we know to have been created in God's image and who have the same nature as ourselves; and we leave to God's judgement those whom He knows to be reprobate. Comment on John 17:9

52. ...Moreover, we offer up our prayers unto Thee, O most Gracious God and most merciful Father, for all men in general, that as Thou art pleased to be acknowledged the Saviour of the whole human race by the redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ Thy Son, so those who are still strangers to the knowledge of him, and immersed in darkness, and held captive by ignorance and error, may, by Thy Holy Spirit shining upon them, and by Thy gospel sounding in their ears, be brought back to the right way of salvation, which consists in knowing Thee the true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent... Forms of Prayer for the Church Tracts, Vol. 2, p. 102.

53. The draught appointed to Christ was to suffer the death of the cross for the reconciliation of the world. Comment on John 18:11

54. And surely there is nothing that ought to be more effective in spurring on pastors to devote themselves more eagerly to their duty than if they reflect that it is to themselves that the price of the blood of Christ has been entrusted. For it follows from this, that unless they are faithful in putting out their labour on the Church, not only are they made accountable for lost souls, but they are guilty of sacrilege, because they have profaned the sacred blood of the Son of God, and have made useless the redemption acquired by Him, as far as they are concerned. But it is a hideous and monstrous crime if, by our idleness, not only the death of Christ becomes worthless, but also the fruit of it is destroyed and perishes... Comment on Acts 20:28

55. For we ought to have a zeal to have the Church of God enlarged, and increase rather than diminish. We ought to have a care also of our brethren, and to be sorry to see them perish: for it is no small matter to have the souls perish which were bought by the blood of Christ. Sermons on Timothy and Titus, p. 817

56. Because God does not work effectually in all men, but only when the Spirit shines in our hearts as the inward teacher, he adds to every one that believeth. The Gospel is indeed offered to all for their salvation, but its power is not universally manifest...When, therefore, the Gospel invites all to partake of salvation without any difference, it is rightly termed the doctrine of salvation. For Christ is there offered, whose proper office is to save that which had been lost, and those who refuse to be saved by Him shall find Him their Judge. Comment on Romans 1:16

57. Faith is the beginning of godliness, from which all those for whom Christ died were estranged...[God] loved us of His own good pleasure, as John tells us (John 3:16)...We have been reconciled to God by the death of Christ, Paul holds, because His was an expiatory sacrifice by which the world was reconciled to God... Comment on Romans 5: 6-10

58. Paul makes grace common to all men, not because it in fact extends to all, but because it is offered to all. Although Christ suffered for the sins of the world, and is offered by the goodness of God without distinction to all men, yet not all receive him. Comment on Romans 5:18

59. ...the price of the blood of Christ is wasted when a weak conscience is wounded, for the most contemptible brother has been redeemed by the blood of Christ. It is intolerable, therefore, that he should be destroyed for the gratification of the belly. Comment on Romans 14:15

60. For one can imagine nothing more despicable than this, that while Christ did not hesitate to die so that the weak might not perish, we, on the other hand, do not care a straw for the salvation of the men and women who have been redeemed at such a price. This is a memorable saying, from which we learn how precious the salvation of our brothers ought to be to us, and not only that of all, but of each individual, in view of the fact that the blood of Christ was poured out for each one...If the soul of every weak person costs the price of the blood of Christ, anyone, who, for the sake of a little bit of meat, is responsible for the rapid return to death of a brother redeemed by Christ, shows just how little the blood of Christ means to him. Contempt like that is therefore an open insult to Christ. Comment on 1 Corinthians 8:11

61. ...God was in Christ and then that by this intervention He was reconciling the world to Himself...Although Christ's coming had its source in the overflowing love of God for us, yet, until men know that God has been propitiated by a mediator, there cannot but be on their side a separation which prevents them from having access to God...[Paul] says again that a commission to offer this reconciliation to us has been given to ministers of the Gospel...He says that as He once suffered, so now every day He offers the fruit of His sufferings to us through the Gospel which He has given to the world as a sure and certain record of His completed work of reconciliation. Thus the duty of ministers is to apply to us the fruit of Christ's death. Comment on 2 Corinthians 5:19

62. ...when Christ appeared, salvation was sent to the whole world... Comment on 2 Corinthians 6:2

63. Pighius speaks...that Christ, the Redeemer of the whole world, commands the Gospel to be preached promiscuously to all does not seem congruent with special election. But the Gospel is an embassy of peace by which the world is reconciled to God, as Paul teaches (2 Cor. 5:18); and on the same authority it is announced that those who hear are saved. I answer briefly that Christ was so ordained for the salvation of the whole world that He might save those who are given to Him by the Father, that He might be their life whose head He is, and that He might receive those into participation of His benefits whom God by His gratuitous good pleasure adopted as heirs for Himself. Which of these things can be denied?...Even those opposed to me will concede that the universality of the grace of Christ is not better judged than from the preaching of the Gospel. But the solution of the difficulty lies in seeing how the doctrine of the Gospel offers salvation to all. That it is salvific for all I do not deny. But the question is whether the Lord in His counsel here destines salvation equally for all. All are equally called to penitence and faith; the same mediator is set forth for all to reconcile them to the Father - so much is evident. But it is equally evident that nothing can be perceived except by faith, that Paul's word should be fulfilled: the Gospel is the power of God for salvation to all that believe (Rom. 1:16). But what can it be for others but a savour of death to death? as he elsewhere says (2 Cor. 2:16).

Further, since it is clear that out of the many whom God calls by His external voice very few believe, if I prove that the greater part remain unbelieving because God honours with illumination none but those whom He will, then I draw another conclusion. The mercy of God is offered equally to both kinds of men, so that those who are not inwardly taught are rendered only inexcusable.... Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p. 102-3

64. It is not enough to regard Christ as having died for the salvation of the world; each man must claim the effect and possession of this grace for himself personally. Comment on Galatians 2:20

65. God commends to us the salvation of all men without exception, even as Christ suffered for the sins of the whole world. Comment on Galatians 5:12

66. And he contenteth not himself to say, that Christ gave himself for the world in common, for that had been but a slender saying: but (sheweth that) every of us must apply to himself particularly, the virtue of the death and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whereas it is said that the Son of God was crucified, we must not only think that the same was done for the redemption of the world: but also every of us must on his own behalf join himself to our Lord Jesus Christ, and conclude, It is for me that he hath suffered...But when we once know that the thing was done for the redemption of the whole world, pertaineth to every of us severally: it behoveth every of us to say also on his own behalf, The Son of God hath loved me so dearly, that he hath given himself to death for me...we be very wretches if we accept not such a benefit when it is offered to us...Lo here a warrant for our salvation, so as we ought to think ourselves thoroughly assured of it. Sermons on Galatians, p. 106-7

67. Christ is in a general view the Redeemer of the world, yet his death and passion are of no advantage to any but such as receive that which St Paul shows here. And so we see that when we once know the benefits brought to us by Christ, and which he daily offers us by his gospel, we must also be joined to him by faith. Sermons on Ephesians, p. 55

68. Also we ought to have good care of those that have been redeemed with the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we see souls which have been so precious to God go to perdition, and we make nothing of it, that is to despise the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sermons on Ephesians, p. 521

69. For the wretched unbelievers and the ignorant have great need to be pleaded for with God; behold them on the way to perdition. If we saw a beast at the point of perishing, we would have pity on it. And what shall we do when we see souls in peril, which are so precious before God, as he has shown in that he has ransomed them with the blood of his own Son. If we see then a poor soul going thus to perdition, ought we not to be moved with compassion and kindness, and should we not desire God to apply the remedy? So then, St. Paul's meaning in this passage is not that we should let the wretched unbelievers alone without having any care for them. We should pray generally for all men... Sermons on Ephesians, p. 684-5

70. He says that this redemption was procured by the blood of Christ, for by the sacrifice of His death all the sins of the world have been expiated. Comment on Colossians 1:14

71. For although it is true that we must not try to decide what is God's will by prying into His secret counsel, when He has made it plain to us by external signs, yet that does not mean that God has not determined secretly within Himself what He wishes to do with every single man.

But I pass from that point which is not relevant to the present context, for the apostle's meaning here is simply that no nation of the earth and no rank of society is excluded from salvation, since God wills to offer the Gospel to all without exception...For as there is one God, the Creator and Father of all, so, he declares, there is one Mediator, through whom access to God is not given only to one nation, or to few men of a particular class, but to all, for the benefit of the sacrifice, by which He has expiated for our sins, applies to all...The universal term 'all' must always be referred to classes of men but never to individuals. It is as if he had said, 'Not only Jews, but also Greeks, not only people of humble rank but also princes have been redeemed by the death of Christ.' Since therefore He intends the benefit of His death to be common to all, those who hold a view that would exclude any from the hope of salvation do Him an injury. Comment on 1 Timothy 2:3-5

72. ...no one unless deprived of sense and judgement can believe that salvation is ordained in the secret counsel of God equally for all...Who does not see that the reference [1 Tim. 2:4] is to orders of men rather than individual men? Nor indeed does the distinction lack substantial ground: what is meant is not individuals of nations but nations of individuals. At any rate, the context makes it clear that no other will of God is intended than that which appears in the external preaching of the Gospel. Thus Paul means that God wills the salvation of all whom He mercifully invites by the preaching of Christ. Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p. 109

73. So then, seeing it is God his will that all men should be partakers of that salvation which he hath sent in the person of his only begotten Son...yet we must mark that Saint Paul speaketh not here of every particular man, but of all sorts, and of all people: Therefore, when he saith, that God will have all men to be saved, we must not think that he speaketh here of Peter, or John, but his meaning is this, that whereas in times past he chose out one certain people for himself, he meaneth now to show mercy to all the world...but when Jesus Christ came to be a common Saviour for all in general, he offered the grace of God his father, to the end that all might receive it...Let us see now, whether God will draw all the world to [the Gospel] or not. No, no: for then had our Lord Jesus Christ said in vain No man can come to me, unless God my Father teach him (Jn. 6:44)...

It followeth then, that before the world was made, (as Saint Paul saith in the first to the Ephesians) God chose such as it pleased him: and it pertaineth not to us to know, why this man, more than that man, we know not the reason...Saint Paul speaketh not here of every particular man, (as we shewed already) but he speaketh of all people...now God showeth himself a Saviour of all the world...Saint Paul speaketh not in this place, of the strait counsell of God, neither that he meaneth to lead us to this everlasting election and choice which was before the beginning of the world, but only sheweth us what God his will and pleasure is, so far forth as we may know it. Truth it is, that God changeth not, neither hath he two wills, neither does he use any counterfeit dealing, as though he meant one thing, but would not have it so. And yet doth the Scripture speak unto us after two sorts touching the will of God...God doeth exhort all men generally, thereby we may judge, that it is the will of God, that all men should be saved, as he saith also by the Prophet Ezekiel I will not the death of a sinner, but that he turn himself and live (Ezek. 18:23)...For Jesus Christ is not a Saviour of three or four, but he offereth himself to all...And is he not the Saviour of the whole world as well? Is Jesus Christ come to be the Mediator between two or three men only? No, no: but he is the Mediator between God and men... Sermons on Timothy and Titus, pp. 149-60

74. Repentance and faith must needs go together...God receiveth us to mercy, and daily pardoneth our faults through his free goodness: and that we be justified because Jesus Christ hath reconciled him unto us, inasmuch as he accepteth us for righteous though we be wretched sinners: in preaching this, it behoveth us to add, how it is upon condition that we return unto God: as was spoken of heretofore by the prophets. Sermons on Timothy and Titus, pp. 1181-2

75. Indeed the death of Christ was life for the whole world... Comment on Hebrews 8:2

76. He suffered death in the common way of men, but He made divine atonement for the sins of the world as a Priest. Comment on Hebrews 8:4

77. To bear the sins means to free those who have sinned from their guilt by his satisfaction. He says many meaning all, as in Rom. 5:15. It is of course certain that not all enjoy the fruits of Christ's death, but this happens because their unbelief hinders them. Comment on Hebrews 9:27

78. He brought His own blood into the heavenly sanctuary in order to atone for the sins of the world. Comment on Hebrews 13:12

79. So we must beware, or souls redeemed by Christ may perish by our carelessness, for their salvation to some degree was put into our hands by God. Comment on James 5:20

80. It was not a common or a small favour that God put off the manifestation of Christ to their time, when He had ordained Him by His eternal counsel for the salvation of the world...a remedy for mankind...He ordained that Christ should be the Redeemer, who would deliver the lost race of man from ruin...[but] the manifestation of Christ does not refer to all indiscriminately, but belongs only to those whom He illumines by the Gospel. Comment on 1 Peter 1:20

81. We have the Gospel in its entirety, when we know that He who had long been promised as Redeemer came down from heaven, put on our flesh, lived in the world, experienced death and then rose again; and secondly when we see the purpose and fruits of all these things in the fact that He was God with us, that He gave us in Himself a sure pledge of our adoption, that by the grace of His Spirit He has cleansed us from the stains of our carnal iniquities and consecrated us to be temples to God, that He has raised us from the depths to heaven, that by His sacrificial death He has made atonement for the sins of the world, that He has reconciled us to the Father, and that He has been the source of righteousness and life for us. Whoever holds to these things has rightly grasped the Gospel. Comment on 2 Peter 1:16

82. Christ redeemed us to have us as a people separated from all the iniquities of the world, devoted to holiness and purity. Those who throw over the traces and plunge themselves into every kind of licence are not unjustly said to deny Christ, by whom they were redeemed. Comment on 2 Peter 2:1

83. This is His wondrous love towards the human race, that He desires all men to be saved, and is prepared to bring even the perishing to safety...It could be asked here, if God does not want any to perish, why do so many in fact perish? My reply is that no mention is made here of the secret decree of God by which the wicked are doomed to their own ruin, but only of His loving-kindness as it is made known to us in the Gospel. There God stretches out His hand to all alike, but He only grasps those (in such a way as to lead to Himself) whom He has chosen before the foundation of the world. Comment on 2 Peter 3:9

84. He put this in for amplification, that believers might be convinced that the expiation made by Christ extends to all who by faith embrace the Gospel. But here the question may be asked as to how the sins of the whole world have been expiated. I pass over the dreams of the fanatics, who make this a reason to extend salvation to all the reprobate and even to Satan himself. Such a monstrous idea is not worth refuting. Those who want to avoid this absurdity have said that Christ suffered sufficiently for the whole world but effectively only for the elect. This solution has commonly prevailed in the schools. Although I allow the truth of this, I deny that it fits the passage. For John's purpose was only to make this blessing common to the whole church. Therefore, under the word 'all' he does not include the reprobate, but refers to all who would believe and those who were scattered through various regions of the earth. For, as is meet, the grace of Christ is really made clear when it is declared to be the only salvation of the world. Comment on 1 John 2:2

85. Georgius thinks he argues very acutely when he says: Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world; and hence those who wish to exclude the reprobate from participation in Christ must place them outside the world. For this, the common solution does not avail, that Christ suffered sufficiently for all, but efficaciously only for the elect. By this great absurdity, this monk has sought applause in his own fraternity, but it has no weight with me. Wherever the faithful are dispersed throughout the world, John [1 Jn. 2:2] extends to them the expiation wrought by Christ's death. But this does not alter the fact that the reprobate are mixed up with the elect in the world. It is incontestable that Christ came for the expiation of the sins of the whole world. But the solution lies close at hand, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but should have eternal life (Jn. 3:15). For the present question is not how great the power of Christ is or what efficacy it has in itself, but to whom He gives Himself to be enjoyed. If possession lies in faith and faith emanates from the Spirit of adoption, it follows that only he is reckoned in the number of God's children who will be a partaker of Christ. The evangelist John sets forth the office of Christ as nothing else than by His death to gather the children of God into one (Jn. 11:52). Hence, we conclude that, though reconciliation is offered to all through Him, yet the benefit is peculiar to the elect, that they may be gathered into the society of life. However, while I say it is offered to all, I do not mean that this embassy, by which on Paul's testimony (2 Cor. 5:18) God reconciles the world to Himself, reaches to all, but that it is not sealed indiscriminately on the hearts of all to whom it comes so as to be effectual. Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, pp. 148-9

86. He again shows the cause of Christ's coming and His office when he says that He was sent to be the propitiation for sins...For propitiation strictly refers to the sacrifice of His death. Hence we see that to Christ alone belongs this honour of expiating for the sins of the world and taking away the enmity between God and us. Comment on 1 John 4:10

87. Certainly, in 2 Pet. 2:1, there is reference only to Christ, and He is called Master there. Denying...Christ, he says, of those who have been redeemed by His blood, and now enslave themselves again to the devil, frustrating (as best they may) that incomparable boon. Comment on Jude 4

88. [Him God set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world...But though he died for all, all do not receive the benefit of his death, but those only to whom the merit of his passion is communicated... (Articles III, IV of the Sixth Session of the Council of Trent)]

The third and fourth heads I do not touch... Antidote to the Council of Trent, Tracts, Vol. 3, pp. 93, 109

89. ...Christ, who is the salvation of the world,... Catechism of the Church of Geneva, Tracts, Vol. 2, p. 47

90. I John Calvin, servant of the Word of God in the church of Geneva, weakened by many illnesses...thank God that he has not only shown mercy to me, his poor creature...and suffered me in all sins and weaknesses, but what is more than that, he has made me a partaker of his grace to serve him through my work...I confess to live and die in this faith which he has given me, inasmuch as I have no other hope or refuge than his predestination upon which my entire salvation is grounded. I embrace the grace which he has offered me in our Lord Jesus Christ, and accept the merits of his suffering and dying that through him all my sins are buried; and I humbly beg him to wash me and cleanse me with the blood of our great Redeemer, as it was shed for all poor sinners so that I, when I appear before his face, may bear his likeness. Calvin's Last Will (April 25, 1564) Letters of John Calvin, p. 29

S O L I D E O G L O R I A

A C Clifford

Bibliography
A C Clifford, Atonement and Justification: English Evangelical Theology 1640-1790 - An Evaluation (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1990); A C Clifford, Calvinus: Authentic Calvinism, A Clarification (Charenton Reformed Publishing, 1996); A C Clifford, Sons of Calvin: Three Huguenot Pastors (Charenton Reformed Publishing, 1999)


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