Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Best Kind of Assurance

I wonder what prosperity preachers like Joel Osteen, Frederick K. C. Price, and Marilyn Hickey would say about John Calvin.

Just the title of section 28 of Book 3, ch. 2 of his Institutes may be enough for the TV smile to momentarily droop: "Faith assures us not of earthly prosperity but of God's favor."

The point is just what the title suggests. God didn't promise us a rose garden, but we can rest assured that he loves us.

And that's better anyway. If we were healthy and wealthy but uncertain of whether God loved or hated us, we would be miserable. On the other hand, full assurance of God's favor toward us brings us happiness even in the midst of difficult circumstances.

In Calvin's words: "In short, if all things flow unto us according to our wish, but we are uncertain of God's love or hatred, our happiness will be accursed and therefore miserable. But if in fatherly fashion God's countenance beams upon us, even our miseries will be blessed."

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