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Calvin on Faith and Grace

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Faith is the confident believe, which people posses towards a certain idea, person, or thing. Faith is based on the belief and trust. From Christian religious perspective faith has been elaborated in details in the book of Hebrews chapter eleven. As Wayne Jackson (2010) elaborates this chapter in his article “Hebrew 11 – what is Faith,” faith can be viewed from different perspectives. In summary he argues that; life is rational, depends upon revelation, involves trusting our maker, it is an action word, and finally he says faith discriminates. Grace can be defined as the God’s kindness, which we don’t deserve, though we are granted. This implies that, we don’t receive God’s grace because of our deeds neither can we afford to repay for His given grace.

According to Helm (2009) Calvin believes that Christian faith is always faith in the word of God, supremely faith in the God-man (p. 13). Faith has been the core or source of achievement in Christianity life. It is believed that, he who has strong faith achieves what he prays for or requests God. Helm (2009) gives Calvin definition of faith, which is well known as;

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Now we shall have a proper definition of faith if we say it is a steady and certain knowledge of the Divine benevolence toward us, which being founded upon the truth of the gratuitous promise in Christ is both revealed to our minds and sealed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (p. 13).

As Volf and Bass (2007) explain, Calvin discusses the Christian life by describing what happens when, in faith, a believer is sanctified by grace (p. 59). Calvin uses simple images like “newness of life” and “holiness” while describe what happens in the event of grace. The newness of life, Calvin say occurs when a person admits Christ in his or her life and begins to live a transformed life.

Calvin state that for centuries the meaning of faith was related with a particular knowledge or a certain belief, however, of late people have advanced in their understanding of faith. Traditionally faith only meant the act of believing, without referring to the object of faith (what is believed). Holcomb (2010) say, According to Calvin, the object of faith’s knowledge is Jesus Christ; he defines faith by proceeding to the center of a series of concentric circle.

Helm (2009) argues that many have seen the definition and assurance of faith. The prepositional content of faith, and the propositional content of assurance of faith, must precisely be different whereas they could be inseparably connected (p. 15). Calvin say believing in Christ may be accompanied by doubts, thus believers should examine themselves thoroughly. Helm (2009) says, according to Calvin the assurance of faith is not the automatic accompaniment of faith, or part of faith itself, rather it must be frequently fought for, preserved against doubts and fear, and distinguished from false confidence (p. 15).

In conclusion, it is clear that Calvin has elaborated in detail on the faith and grace. As Berkouwer (1954) explains, Calvin uses these note repeatedly as a pastoral injunction, to make it clear that the heart is not open for the reception of his mercy unless it be divested of all idea of its own dignity (p. 178). The view of Calvin continues to be relevant and used by many scholars in this field.

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