John Calvin: The True Calling of Women (9)
Posted at Purely Presbyterian:
The 19th Sermon
upon the second chapter of 1 Timothy
[Part Nine - Conclusion]
The fruits of faith.
And after that Paul hath spoken of faith, he sheweth the things which are always joined with faith, and are as it were unseverable, to wit, charity and holiness. How do we shew that we renounce the abominations of this world, and dedicate ourselves to God? Is it not by faith? What causeth us to join ourselves thus together in one, as brethren and sisters? Is it not when we know that God hath chosen us for his children? What is also the cause of that modesty, that we are not given to these follies of the world? Is it not because God hath called us to the heavenly inheritance, and sheweth us that they which cleave to this world never knew what true life and salvation meant? So then, let us mark, that both charity, holiness, and modesty proceed from faith.
Works are not meritorious unto salvation.
And yet to make an end we must mark also in one word, that Paul meant not here to establish merits, as if he should say that the cause of our salvation standeth in good works and women save themselves when they apply themselves to their duty. No, no: For Paul entereth not here into disputation, whether God shall be bound to men, if they do well, and whether he be bound to recompense them: there is no such matter. But he meaneth only to comfort us, yea and to encourage us when we take pains to the end that we may know that God vouchsafeth to regard that which is of no value, unless he accept it of his free mercy.
Therefore let us mark that Paul’s meaning was not in this place to keep a reckoning. As who should say, God were bound to us? But his meaning was only to shew us that both men and women must faithfully employ themselves to do that which is their charge and duty. Seeing that our Lord is so liberal and so gentle, as to vouchsafe to look upon what they do, and to allow of it, although they be not worthy. This is Paul’s meaning. And it were to pervert the text, if we should establish merits by this place, and justify men by their works.
Let it suffice us then to have the salvation which was purchased for us through the mercy of God, and by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed to wash all our filthiness and take pains courageously knowing that our Lord and God doth by this means conduct us to salvation. When he leadeth us to it, it is not to be said that therefore we deserve it, but it is the means which he hath appointed. Therefore let every one of us present himself to God, and take the bit in our teeth. But yet let our conversation be peaceable in the mean season, and let us be ready to submit ourselves to all good policy seeing it is for our benefit and profit, because God hath appointed it.
Now let us fall down before the face of our good God,
acknowledging of our faults, and pray him
that he would cause
us to feel them,