Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sibbes on effectual calling


Over on The Calvinist Flyswatter, Brother Ian Elsasser has posted comments by Puritan Richard Sibbes on the Word in the opening of Lydia's heart.

Here is another quotation from Sibbes which demonstrates the view of the Puritans on the Word as the Spirit's instrumentality in the New Birth:

I. A freedom in this life, in calling, in justification, in sanctification ; and in the life to come a freedom of glory.

1. There is a freedom in effectual calling, by the ministry of the gospel. The gospel being preached and unfolded, faith is wrought, whereby we know what Christ hath done for us ; and we see a better condition in Christ than we are in by nature. Seeing by the Spirit of God the cursed estate we are in, we are convinced of sin in ourselves, and of the good that is in Christ ; and hereupon we are called out of the thraldom we are in by nature, by the Spirit of Christ and the word of God, unfolding what our condition is ; for man by nature having self-love in him, and that self-love being turned the right way, he begins to think, Ay, doth the word of God say I am a slave to sin and damnation? The word of God can judge better than myself; and then the Spirit of God sets it on with conviction, that undoubtedly this is true. And together with the cursed kingdom and slavery that I am under, there is discovered a better estate in Christ ; for the gospel tells us what we are in Christ ; freed from hell and death, and heirs of heaven. Oh the happy estate of a Christian to be in Christ!

The gospel, with the Spirit discovering this, a man is called out of the cursed estate he is in by nature to the fellowship of Christ by faith, which is wrought in this calling. So that now he comes to be a member of Christ by faith. So that whatsoever Christ hath, or is, or hath done or buffered, it is mine by reason of this union with him by faith, which is the grace of union that knits us to Christ, and the first grace of application. So there is the first degree of liberty and freedom wrought by the Spirit of God, together with the gospel in effectual calling.

From The Spiritual Jubilee, page 242.

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