To the Praise of the Glory of His Grace
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing inthe heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. – Ephesians 1:1-6
All who would do away with God’s predestination or are loth to hear it spoken of, thereby show themselves to be mortal enemies of God’s praise.
“Now we see why such as seek to establish the cause of God’s election of us would (if it lay in them) overthrow his eternal purpose, for the one is inseparable from the other. If God has chosen us, as is shown here, then nothing can depend upon our deserts or upon anything we might have to bring forward, but God did it according to his own free will and did not find any other reason than his own good pleasure. If anyone thinks this strange, it is because they would treat God in an over-familiar manner. [comme un petít compagnon (Fr.)] And in this appears their devilish audacity in that they cannot allow God to reign in pure liberty so that what is pleasing to him might be received as good, just and rightful without contradiction. But let such people bark like dogs as much as they will, yet is this decree irrevocable which the Holy Spirit has uttered here by the mouth of St. Paul, namely, that it is not for us to look for any further cause of our election than the good pleasure of God, that is to say, than his own free will by which he has chosen us, though we were not worthy. His sole motive in so doing lies in the words, ‘thus it pleased me’. And so we see in effect what we have to gather from these words of St. Paul.
Now St. Paul immediately says that it is ‘to the praise of the glory of his grace’. Here he shows the final reason that moved God to elect us, namely, that his grace might be praised by it, yes, not after a common and ordinary manner, but with a certain glory. For he coupled those two things together so that we should be ravished when we see how God has drawn us out of the bottom of hell to open to us the gate of his kingdom and to call us to the heritage of salvation. Here we see once more the matter I dealt with previously, namely, that all who would do away with God’s predestination or are loth to hear it spoken of, thereby show themselves to be mortal enemies of God’s praise. It seems to them that that passes away and vanishes. Yes, but who is the competent judge of that? Do they think themselves to be wiser than God who has spoken clean contrary to that which they allege O (they say), that would be the way to open the mouths of many men to blaspheme God. Now, as for the wicked, it is certain that they will always find something to blaspheme about, and they cannot be stopped from doing so. But, for all that, God will have enough with which to justify himself, [Rom. 3:4] and all who so defy him and his righteousness will be confounded. [Ps. 51:4]
Be that as it may, it is not said here without cause that God is duly glorified and his high praise maintained, when we acknowledge that he has freely elected whom he willed, and that there is no other cause of difference between man and man, so that they whom he has reprobated perish because they deserve it, and they whom he calls to salvation ought not to seek the cause of it anywhere else than in this gratuitous adoption.”
- John Calvin from the third sermon on Ephesians 1:4-6