John Calvin on Ephesians 1
I dragged my friend and colleague, Harold, to visit the Reformation Museum in Geneva last December. This was after the poster presentation at a major immune-oncology conference, which we had the privilege of attending. On our way to the museum, we dropped by the Reformation Wall where John Calvin's monument was in the middle. John Calvin holds a very special place in my spiritual growth. The Institutes of the Christian Religion is one of my favorite books of all time; it is in the same place as St. Augustine's Confessions.
I was surprised to read Calvin's commentary on Ephesians. The internet is an endless source of fascination. Here he writes about Ephesians 1:3a, "Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
The lofty terms in which he extolls the grace of God toward the Ephesians, are intended to rouse their hearts to gratitude, to set them all on flame, to fill them even to overflowing with this thought. They who perceive in themselves discoveries of the Divine goodness, so full and absolutely perfect, and who make them the subject of earnest meditation, will never embrace new doctrines, by which the very grace which they feel so powerfully in themselves is thrown into the shade. The design of the apostle, therefore, in asserting the riches of divine grace toward the Ephesians, was to protect them against having their faith shaken by the false apostles, as if their calling were doubtful, or salvation were to be sought in some other way. He shews, at the same time, that the full certainty of future happiness rests on the revelation of his love to us in Christ, which God makes in the gospel. But to confirm the matter more fully, he rises to the first cause, to the fountain, -- the eternal election of God, by which, ere we are born, (Romans 9:11,) we are adopted as sons. This makes it evident that their salvation was accomplished, not by any accidental or unlooked-for occurrence, but by the eternal and unchangeable decree of God.