Blog 50: 2.3.10 - 2.3.14
What makes grace gracious? For Calvin, behind all grace is God's own decision: "The apostle does not teach that the grace of a good will is bestowed upon us if we accept it, but that He wills to work in us. This means nothing else than that the Lord by his Spirit directs, bends, and governs, our heart and reigns in it as in his own possession" (2.3.10).
Because God is the one who starts the work of grace in our hearts, willing to work in us, he is also the one who will bring it to conclusion. As Calvin notes, perseverance must be accounted God's free gift (2.3.11) as well as election, effectual calling, justification, sanctification and adoption. It is all of grace from beginning to end.
What's the pay off in ascribing all to God's grace? Remember that Calvin is trying to persuade us to embrace genuine piety--that reverence joined with love of God which the knowledge of his benefits induces (1.2.1). Only by correctly appraising his benefits offered freely and graciously to us can we be truly pious, truly reverencing and loving God with our entire beings.
So, the real question is whether we delight in and cherish the grace of God. Is our song, "Grace, grace" from beginning to end? Do we magnify God's grace in our personal and corporate worship? With our children? In our worldview? In the workplace? If any benefit we have comes from God's hand and choice, then we must be the most grateful people in the world.