Schaaf and Calvin

I was struck when reading a portion of Philip Schaaf’s The Principle of Protestantism. Schaaf defends the Protestant view of Justification by quoting a section of Calvin’s dispute with Osiander in the Institutes.[1] Osiander’s poses the following question: “…whether God leaves as they were by nature those whom he justifies, changing none of their vices.” Calvin responds with confidence: “This is exceedingly easy to answer: as Christ cannot be torn into parts, so these two which we perceive in him together and conjointly are inseparable–namely, righteousness (justification)[2] and sanctification.” Though Calvin concludes that “there is in justification no place for works,” nevertheless, Calvin is not in any way concerned with separating both acts of God’s free grace.

It seems that Calvin’s response in this matter is similar to his critique of Luther’s view of the sacraments, whereby, Christ is ubiquitous in the Eucharist. Since Christ cannot be torn and be “with, in, and under” the bread and wine, in the same manner, it is impossible to sharply divide his graces.

[1] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. I. Ed. John McNeill. Louisville, KT. Westminster John Knox Press, 732.

[2] Schaaf’s translation uses “justification.” Is this a faulty translation? If so, is there a distinction between “righteousness” and “justification?”

About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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