When men, who have neither the word nor the faith of God, contemplate the misery of human life on earth, when they observe that all men have weaknesses and that all kinds of misfortunes come to evil and honorable men, reason questions whether is there any group. among men that is particularly pleasing to God and whether there is a Church of God. To counter this common temptation, we must contemplate the testimonies in which God revealed Himself from the beginning, namely, all His mighty works, the exodus from Egypt, the resurrection of the dead, and all the other miracles that occurred to strengthen the faithful. Let our hearts firmly believe in the word of God and make sure that God Himself is gathering an eternal Church among men through the gospel ... To do this, God has revealed His promises and preached them throughout the world, and always. there were children of God, those who received the promises with true faith. But those who do not believe or are not condemned, as stated in John 3. 1:11.

But man wonders in his heart if he has been called to salvation and wonders on what basis he is chosen.

Despite contrary controversies, an unchanging truth is that we must draw conclusions about the nature and will of God from his word, namely through his only Son Jesus Christ, revealed through the prophets and apostles, and out of the word of God. we must invent a single thought about its nature and will.

With this basic principle, we can now say that the source of sin is in our rejection, that is, anyone who does not turn to the Lord Christ is certainly rejected, as the Scriptures, John 3:18, attest: "He who does not believe he is already condemned. "Psalm 2 and Deuteronomy 18:19:" Whoever listens to him, I will cut him off. " And also Hosea 13: "Corruption. It is for you; only through me is your salvation" [cf. v. 4]

On the other hand, only God's mercy, because of Christ, is the source of being chosen for eternal salvation. For this reason the Son of God is sent, and grace revealed; otherwise no one would be saved [selig]. If the Savior and grace had not been revealed to Adam and Eve, they would have remained in eternal death and wrath. With this revelation is the unchanging commandment that we accept the promise in faith, as stated in Psalm z and John. "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that all who believe in him should not perish but have life. eternal "[Jo. p 16], and Romans 4 says: "By faith, without merit on our part, that the promises may be assured" [cf. v. 3-6, 16].

And undoubtedly the highest and most sincere commandment is that we listen to the Son of God and believe in Him as the everlasting Father says, "Thou shalt hear" [Mark 9: 7; Luke 9: 35] Also in John 16: 8, "The Holy Spirit will convince the world of sin ... from not believing in me."

Surely all are elected to eternal bliss, who through faith in the Lord Christ, in conversion into this life, receive comfort and do not fall before death; for thus says the text, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord" [Revelation 14:13].

We should not invent ideas about God's will outside his word. The election [Erwahlung] for eternal salvation is not due to the law, but because of Christ by faith; and as we said earlier about the forgiveness of sins and righteousness, so we now say about the election, that is, that we have forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit and eternal salvation because of the Lord Jesus Christ, by grace, by faith, and so we are also predestined to eternal blessing because of the Lord Jesus Christ, by grace, without merit on our part, and not because of the law; however, we will finally be found in this faith.

This comfort is genuine, for we are all bound to believe in the Lord Christ.

However, two temptations arise from our anxiety: the first arises from the merit and enormity of sins; the second, a question about whether the promise is offered to all men. To counteract the first temptation, we must be comforted by the fact that the blessing is given for the sake of the Lord Christ, without merit on our part, freely; and grace is stronger than any sin, as it is written in Romans 5:20, "Grace is stronger and mightier than sin." Finally, we must strive to believe that the Son of God is more powerful than all the power of demons and sin.

Yes, one might say, the promise belongs to those whose names are written in the book of God, David, Peter, and a few others, but perhaps it does not belong to me? Is the promise offered to everyone? Here we must firmly conclude that preaching is universal, both preaching punishment and preaching grace; God is fair; he is not "respectful of people". He offered his promise to all who turn to him and seek comfort in the Lord Christ. Notice the passages that offer the promise to everyone.

John 6:40: "This is the will of my Father, that all who believe in the Son may have everlasting life."

Matthew 11:28: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy, and I will give you rest."

John 3:16: "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish."

Romans 3:22: "The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all and to all who believe."

Romans 10: 12: "The same Lord is Lord of all, and bestoweth his riches unto all that call upon him."

First Timothy 2: 4: "God desires all men to be saved." This must be understood to mean, as far as his will is concerned, that he explicitly explained in his word. We must not place contradictory wills on God, contradictory wills are voluntary. To all who tremble before his wrath and seek comfort in Christ, each and every one is offered and promised grace and blessing. "All who work come to me" and "All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Consider also the delightful passage that says "God is no respecter of person" [cf. Acts 10:34; Colossians 3:25]. And the passage in Isaiah 42 praises Christ and says that in Him there will be no favor of people, that is, in Him all men are equal [cf. v. 1-8]. God is angry with sin, either in David or in Saul; and his mercy extends equally to all who seek refuge in his mercy for the sake of the Savior, be it Manasseh or David; His divine wisdom includes all ranks on equal bases.

Since divine promises offer grace to all who are terrified, we must include ourselves in the whole and reflect that the greatest sin is unwilling to believe in the Lord Christ and unwilling to receive His grace. The second Psalm says, "Kiss the Son" and likewise, "Blessed are they that trust in him; receive him, that his wrath may not befall you" and so on [cf. v. 12]. Notice how the Canaanite woman included herself loves the Israelites [cf. Matthew 15: 21-28; Mark 7: 24-30]; Yet, like dogs, we can find refuge in Christ.

"Yes," we might say, "but I can't believe God gives me his Holy Spirit!" True, but we must know that God gives His word to us, and that He desires to give us the Holy Spirit, just as He gives us His word. To the extent that he has called us, we must accept his word and Holy Spirit. After hearing the gospel, we should not consciously continue in sin or remain mired in doubt, thinking foolishly: I will wait until I feel God's miracle miracle about me. These are the words of enthusiasts and anabaptists. The heart must trust in itself with the word of God, and immediately the very Son of God will work in us and strengthen us with his Holy Spirit, and at the same time we should implore him to help us, for Christ says, "How much more?" his Father will give his Holy Spirit to those who ask him! "And the terrified man in Mark 9:24 begs," I believe, O Lord, help my unbelief. " These passages also belong here: "The gospel is the power of God unto the salvation of all that believe in him" [Romans 1:16]; and Rom. 15: 4, "By the comfort of the scriptures we shall have hope." We should stand on this gospel, acknowledge God's will, and not fight against it, nor remain indecently in doubt.

This is the intention of the words in John 6:44, "No one comes to me except the Father draws him," for they are immediately followed by, "Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me." If we hear and learn the gospel, and do not deliberately cast it out of our minds, if we take comfort in it, the Son Himself will work in us. Chrysostom says, "God attracts, but He attracts those who desire." 2 This means that he who does not despise the teaching and does not voluntarily repel it, but desires to hear it, seeks comfort and cries out to God, as Jeremiah cried out: "Return to me, O Lord, that I may be turned" [cf. Jer 31: 18; Lamentations 5:21], and as David did, asking, "Lord, create a clean heart in me, and teach me your righteousness" [Psalm 51: 10].

It is therefore very comforting and true that only those who are called are numbered among the predestined, that is, among those who hear and learn the word of God, to "those whom He has chosen, He also calls" [cf. Numbers 16: 5; Romans 8:30; 2 Thessalonians 2: 13-14; 1 Peter 1: 2]. Now we are called and we should not despise the call, but thank God for placing us in this group where we can hear and recognize the Lord Jesus Christ. Having received the gospel, we should turn to God and console ourselves by faith in the Savior Jesus Christ through whom we please God, and ask for strength to endure to the end.

This is said for the comfort of those who are called. There is no need to discuss why the pagans were so blinded for so long. They themselves are the cause of their blindness, for God originally revealed His promises, established His Church, and became known among the pagans in Egypt and Babylon. Then he revealed himself through the preaching of the apostles. God adorned his church in Israel with Elijah and the other prophets. In all kingdoms this is known. However, like the Jews, many despised God and completely lost the teaching of the gospel through their own wickedness and ingratitude. We must tremble at such examples of wrath and sincerely learn the truth and live in fear of God and in prayer.

By: Philip Melanchthon
Loci Communes, 1555

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