Feb 21, 2009

Beza on Faith

Beza wrote:

"In the same way as the soul produces its effects when it is naturally united to the body, so, when, by faith, Jesus Christ dwells in us in a spiritual manner, His power produces there and reveals there His graces. These are described in Scripture by the words 'regeneration' and 'sanctification', and they make us new creatures with regard to the qualities that we can have (John 3:3; Eph 4:21-24)."

Clearly Beza, surely a Calvinist if there ever was one, has this order, one in keeping with scripture - faith, union with Christ, regeneration and sanctification, new creatures in Christ.

He said further:

"This regeneration, that is to say, a new beginning and new creation, is divided into three parts. In the same way as the natural corruption, which holds our person captive, both soul and body, produces in us sins and death (Rom 7:13), so the power of Jesus Christ, flowing and entering into us with efficacy, as coming to take possession of us, produces in us three effects: the putting to death of sin, that is to say, of this natural corruption which Scripture cans the 'old man', his burial, and, finally, the resurrection of the new man. St. Paul, in particular, describes these things at length (Rom 6, and almost everywhere else; cf. 1 Pet 4:1-2)."

Clearly Beza puts the new creation or new birth, or spiritual resurrection, after the entrance of Christ into the heart by faith.

He continues:

"The resurrection of the new man, this man whose qualities and faculties are truly renewed, is the third effect of the same Jesus Christ living in us."

Again, Beza clearly puts the resurrection to spiritual life as the final effect of the power of Christ working as a cause. First there is faith, then union with Christ or Christ entering and indwelling, then the death of the old man and the resurrection or creation of the new man.

He says:

"Having put to death in our nature that which it had of corruption, He then gives to us a new power and remakes us. Thus, our understanding and our judgement, illuminated by the pure grace of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1: 18), and governed by the new power which we draw from Jesus Christ (Rom 8:14), begin to understand and to approve that which, previously, was folly to them (1 Cor. 2:14) and, abomination (Rom 8:7). And then, in the second place, the will is rectified to hate sin and embrace righteousness (Rom 6:6). Finally, all the faculties of the man begin to shun that which God has forbidden, and to follow all that he has commanded (Rom 7:22; Phil 2:13).

These are therefore the two effects that Jesus Christ produces in us. If we experience them, the conclusion is infallible: we have faith, and, consequently, as we have said, we have in us Jesus Christ living eternally." (Pages 24, 25)

See here

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