Originally Posted by BenL
With all due respect to the Calvinists among us, this is heavy stuff that could bear some plain talk in contemporary English.
I have faced my "depravity," and it ain't a pretty sight. After years of trying, I know that I am powerless to atone for my lack of faith -- worse, my lack of love. Even though I have experienced the joy of spirtual healing, I still am aware of sinfulness in my heart of hearts. The hardest thing to do is to own my own s**t and to quit making excuses for it. An equally difficult spiritual task is to celebrate the goodness in myself as a gift from God and not a human accomplishment. I want so much to be the center of my own universe.
Having been brought up Catholic, I have never felt comfortable with the "justification" idiom, although I recognize that this is what I'm talking about. The only way I know how to solve this puzzle is by falling back on this verse in Chapter 2: "It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me." It is the only way I can reconcile the war between sin and salvation that I experience at the core of my personhood.
If I am missing the point that Calvin was making, somebody please enlighten me.
I am with you. My biggest sin is a hard heart toward God. It has only been exasperated by oppression by the faithful. It is so hard for me to open my heart to God because I've been marginalized by the church. I don't know why I can't separate the two and have not been able to for years. That is of course no excuse for closing my heart to God's work in my life. And this is just the start of the list of my sins.
Calvin often comes over as harsh and has been accused of "worm theology". It can be read that way if you're not reading it carefully. The Westminster Confession says, "The chief end of man is to glorify God and to fully enjoy God forever". Justification in Galatians is the path to this full enjoyment of God.
Calvin is saying that to enjoy this gift of God you have to give up any loftiness, pride, dependence, and worth based in your own righteousness:
And the strictness of the examination ought to be continued until it have completely alarmed us, and in that way prepared us for receiving the grace of Christ. For he is deceived who thinks himself capable of enjoying it, until he have laid aside all loftiness of mind.