Blog 56: 2.5.18 - 2.6.2

More arguments against Calvin's view of free will emerge. One from Ecclesiasticus which Calvin, knowing it to be of dubious authority as an apocryphal document, nevertheless patiently answers viewing these texts as "supportive" of his point of view even if they are apocryphal. Next, Luke 10:30, from a parable in which thieves set a man down half-alive on the road. Calvin's comment is fascinating, first dismissing allegorical interpretation and adding that to base a doctrine on an allegory is entirely false as a rule for interpreting Scripture. But even conceding the allegory, that man still retain some vestiges of his createdness (such as wisdom and honesty), he agrees with Augustine: "the free goods upon which salvation depends were taken away from man after the Fall, while the natural endowments were corrupted and defiled."

So, if man's will is not free to choose salvation, what hope has he?  Only in the provision of a mediator is Calvin's answer. Cross-centered preaching is what we need. Through the foolishness of preaching (the cross, 1 Cor. 1:21) sinners unable to save themselves may find hope. "Nothing in hands I bring/Simply to Thy cross I cling."

And this is true whether we are talking about the Old Covenant or New Covenant. Here (at 2.6.2) is Calvin's genius as a covenant theologian: the same way of salvation operates in both testaments since there is one covenant of grace operating in both periods of redemptive history. "Apart from the Mediator, God never showed favor toward the ancient people, nor ever gave hope of grace to them....Since God cannot without the Mediator be propitious toward the human race, under the law Christ was always set forth before the holy fathers  as the end to which they should direct their faith." No place for "Dispensationalism" here!