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Some interesting comments on Heb 10:29 from 4 classic Calvinists

September 2, 2007

John Calvin:

1] Behold our Lord Jesus Christ the Lord of glory, abased himself for a time, as says S. Paul Now if there were no more but this, that he being the fountain of life, became a moral man, and that he having dominion over the angels of heaven, took upon him the shape of a servant, yea even to shed his blood for our redemption, and in the end to suffer the curse that was due unto us (Gal 3:13): were it convenient that notwithstanding all this, he should nowadays in recompense be torn to pieces, by stinking mouths of such as name themselves Christians? For when they swear by his blood, by his death, by his wounds and by whatsoever else: is it not a crucifying of God’s son again as much as in them lies, and as a rending of him in pieces? And are not such folk worthy to be cut of from God’s Church, yea, and even from the world, and to be no more numbered in the array of creatures? Should our Lord Jesus have such reward at our hands, for his abasing and humbling of himself after that manner? (Mich 6:30) God in upbraiding his people says thus: My people, what have I done to you? I have brought you out of Egypt, I have led you up with all gentleness and loving-kindness, I have planted you as it were in my own inheritance, to the intent you should have been a vine that should have brought me forth good fruit, and I have tilled thee and manured thee: and must thou now be bitter to me, and bring forth sower fruit to choke me withal? The same belongs to us at this day. For when the son of God, who is ordained to be judge of the world (John 5:22), shall come at the last day: he may well say to us: how now Sirs? You have borne my name, you have been baptized in remembrance of me and record that I was your redeemer, I have drawn you out of the dungeons where into you were plunged, I delivered you from endless death by suffering most cruel death myself, and for the same cause I became man, and submitted myself even to the curse of GOD my father, that you might be blessed by my grace and by my means: and behold the reward that you have yielded me for all this, is that you have (after a sort) torn me in pieces and made a jestingstock of me, and the death that I suffered for you has been made a mockery among you, the blood which is the washing and cleansing of your souls has been as good as trampled under your feet, and to be short, you have taken occasion to ban and blaspheme me, as though I had been some wretched and cursed creature. When the sovereign judge shall charge us with these things, I pray you will it not be as thundering upon us, to ding us down to the bottom of hell? Yes: and yet are there very few that think upon it. Calvin, Sermons on Deuteronomy, Sermon 33, 5:11, p., 196.

2] And so in the next where it is said, It is he that has created thee and fashioned thee: it is because it is a more excellent gift, that is to wit, that God prints is mark upon us, as who should say that we should be reckoned for his children, so as he gathers us unto him, and makes us in effect new creatures; by reason whereof our sin becomes more heinous, if we deface the same again, and fall to wallowing ourselves again in the filth of uncleanness of this world, as who would say it grieved us that God had not made us brute beasts at such a time as he took us to be his children…

For we have the very pledge itself, which the Jews had not: that is to wit, our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only Son of God, and is come down to us from the bosom of the Father. He has yielded us record of our adoption: the gate of paradise is now opened unto us: we may now not only call upon God as our Father, bit also call unto him with full mouth, so as we may cry “Abba Father,” for that is the word which Saint Paul uses expressly. Seeing then has discoursed himself more fully to us than to the fathers that have lived under the law: Surely our fault will be more grievous and less excusable, if we yield so poor a recompense as is spoken of here. Again, has he not purchased us to himself? If he possesses the people of old timebecause he brought them out of the land of Egypt: let us see how much more he has done now for us than for them. True it is that God’s redeeming of the Jews was by the power of the death and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ: but that thing was not yet declared unto them, they had but the figures and shadows thereof. But as now we see that the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ has been shed for our redemption, and for the purchase of our salvation. And shall we now go trample under our feet the holy blood, whereby the covenant of the spiritual kindred which God has entered into with us, is ratified and confirmed? And as touching the law, how does the Apostle speak of it in the epistle of Hebrews? As many (says he) as violated the tabernacle that was made by Moses, were not spared, their fault was unpardonable (Heb 2:3): and what shall become of us nowadays?

Is not our lewdness much more shameful? Therefore let us bear now in mind that we be God’s precious possession, to the intent that we give not ourselves over to Satan. Moreover let us understand, after what manner he has created us and fashioned us, and let us not refuse that grace: but sith [since] he has vouchsafed to reform us, let us not stain ourselves with reproach, by going about to deface the image and workmanship which he has put into us. Calvin Sermons on Deuteronomy, Sermon 179, 32:5-7, p., 1114.

3] …[A]nd men make us to alter our mind in less than the turning of a hand, what else betokens it, but that we willfully refuse God’s grace, as if we would shut the gate against him that he might not come in unto us? Or else, if after we have once known, that he offers us so inestimable a benefit in his Gospel, we cast it down and trample it under our feet: think we that God will suffer his grace to be so lightly esteemed and held scorn of? No. For we cannot despise the doctrine of the Gospel, but we must unhallow the blood of God’s son, which he did shed for our redemption: for the one cannot be separated from the other. Whensoever and how often soever God speaks to us, and offers us forgiveness of our sins, showing himself ready to receive us to mercy: so often is the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ sprinkled upon us. All the teaching in the world cannot do us any good, except our Lord Jesus Christ be with it, to apply the shedding of his blood unto us. And if we despise the doctrine of the Gospel, it is all one as if we did spit at the holy blood of God’s son, which thing is an intolerable traitorousness. Calvin, Sermons on Galatians, Sermon 15, 3:1-3, p., 319/226.

4] Must we leave the poor church of God in the power of wolves and robbers? Must all the flock be scattered, the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ trampled under foot, and souls which he redeemed at so costly a price go to destruction, and all order be set aside, and must we still be silent and shut our eyes… Moreover let us mark that also that which is added, “That they subvert whole houses.” If one man only were misled by them, it would be too much: for mens souls ought to be precious to us seeing that our Lord Jesus Christ has esteemed so high of them, as not to spare his own life, for our salvation and redemption.” Calvin, Sermons on Titus, Sermon 7, 1:10-13, p., 1103.

Peter Martyr Vermigli:

1] Further also, seeing by the mercy of God, through the death of Christ, we are so steadfastly placed; we must take heed, that through wicked and shameful acts, we throw not ourselves down headlong from thence. For they, which after they have been once reconciled, persist in defiling themselves with vices, do not only fall headlong from their most excellent state and condition; but also (as it is written unto the Hebrews) do tread under foot the Son of God (Heb. 10:29), and pollute his blood, which was shed for them. By this place also we are taught to love our enemies, not after that ordinary manner; as when men are wont to say, that it is enough to wish well unto their enemy, they will put no endeavor, either to amend him, or to bring him to salvation. And that, which is more grievous, they not only are not beneficial towards their enemies; but also through their slothfulness, they suffer the weak brethren to perish. They wink at their faults, neither do they use their admonitions and reprehensions to amend them. Peter Martyr, The Common Places, trans., and compiled by Anthonie Martin, 1583, part 2, p., 611.

David Paraeus:

Furthermore other places occur which seem to impart unto the wicked the benefit of redemption; as when Peter says that they “deny the Lord which has bought them,” that they were “purged from their old sins” (2 Pet. 2:1, 1:9), and Paul also says that they are “sanctified with the blood of the Testament” (Heb. 10:29): all which the Scripture elsewhere enforces us to interpret either of the vain glorying of Hypocrites of their redemption and sanctification: or else to understand them no otherwise then of the extent and sufficiency of Christ’s satisfaction

William Bates:

1]
The Son of God hath emptied all the treasures of his live, to purchase deliverance for guilty and wretched captives; he hath past through so many pains and thorns to come and offer it to them ; he solicits them to receive pardon and liberty, upon the conditions of acceptance and amendment, which are absolutely necessary to qualify them for felicity: now if they slight the benefit and renounce their redemption, if they sell themselves again under the servitude of sin and gratify the devil with a new conquest over them, what a bloody cruelty is this to their own souls, and a vile indignity to, the Lord of glory! And are there any servile spirits so charmed with their misery, and so in love with their chains who will stoop under their cruel captivity, to be reserved for eternal punishment? Who can believe it? But, alas, examples are numerous and ordinary. Saviour, and love that which is the only just object & hatred, and hate him who is the most worthy object of love. It is a most astonishing consideration, that love should persuade Christ to die for men, and that they should trample upon his blood, and choose rather to die by themselves, than to live by him that God should be so easy to forgive, and man so hard to be forgiven! This is a sin of that transcendent height, that all the abominations of Sodom and Gomorrah are not equal to it. This exasperates mercy, that dear and tender attribute, the only advocate in God’s bosom for us. This makes the Judge irreconcilable. The rejecting of life upon the gracious terms of the gospel, makes the condemnation bf men most just, certain, and heavy. William Bates, The Harmony of Divine Attributes in the Contrivance and Accomplishment of Man’s Redemption, (New York: Published by Jonathan Leavitt, 1831), 157-8.

2] It is true, those who sin against the Holy Ghost, are excepted from pardon; but the reason is, because the death of Christ was not appointed for the expiation of it; and there being no sacrifice, there is no satisfaction, and consequently no pardon, Heb. x. 26. The wisdom and justice of God requires this severity against them; for if “he that despised Moses’ law died without mercy, of how much sorer punishment shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite to the Spirit of grace?” Heb. x. 28, 29; that is, they renounce their Redeemer as if he were not the Son of God, and virtually consent to the cruel sentence passed against him, as if he had blasphemed when he declared himself to be so; and thereby out-sin his sufferings. How reasonable is it they should be for ever deprived of the benefit who obstinately reject the means that purchased them! p199 William Bates, The Harmony of Divine Attributes in the Contrivance and Accomplishment of Man’s Redemption, (New York: Published by Jonathan Leavitt, 1831), 199.

[Credit to Tony for the Bates citations.]

These citations demonstrate that there was a an alternative redemption model that functioned, before, and sometimes existing side-by-side  the Protestant Scholastic redemption model. Unfortunately for us, it is now not known at the popular level that this “other” model used to exist. For now, we now only interpret this verse according to the interpretative categories that the Protestant Scholastics allowed us to know about. Further, to understand this earlier redemption, part of the clue is in what David Paraeus says, and partly in how these and other men of this “other” tradition interpreted such verses as 2 Peter 2:1.

David

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