Thomas Goodwin

Goodwin on election – 2

Some more Goodwin on election (with some helpful words for kids … and parents):

‘Glory in nothing, but only in this, that you are in Christ. For God chose you in him; the being you had was in him before the world was.’ Ephesians – Sermon V‘Value God and his love more than all the world, though there were millions of them. He valued you before the world, and therefore is beforehand with you in his love. He not only loved you from everlasting, (whereas your love is but of yesterday,) but in the valuation of it, he loved you before all worlds, and preferred you to all worlds: though you loved the world first, before you loved him.’ Ephesians – Sermon V

‘God ordained our being and condition of living in this world, in subordination to that other world … we were chosen to salvation, and then God allotted or destinated the several times we should live in, who should be our parents, and what our conditions; and all as means subordinate to election, so to illustrate his grace the more. And therefore care not what thy parentage or what thy condition is here. Thou wert by God considered as that which he meant to make thee, even a brave and glorious creature, ere ever the consideration of what thy condition here should be came in; this estate of thine here being but the way unto that thy country and inheritance.’ Ephesians – Sermon V

‘God must not only take us to be his, but keep us to be his, and continue to be merciful to us, according to this his great name, or we shall be utterly lost and undone.’ The Object And Acts Of Justifying Faith

‘As God in his decrees about the creation did not consider the body of Adam singly or apart from his soul, nor yet the soul without his body, (I speak of his first creation and state thereby), neither should either have so much as existed, but as the one in the other; so nor Christ and his Church in election, which gave the first existence both to Christ as a Head, and to the Church as his body, which each had in God’s decrees. And holiness, which is the fruit of election here, is the image of God, and a likeness unto him, which makes us capable of communion with him.’ Ephesians – Sermon VI

Goodwin on election – 1

The following quotations reveal that Goodwin’s understanding of election is much more consciously christological than that of most puritans:

‘There is a great deal of difference between God’s doing a thing in Christ and through Christ… God redeemeth through Christ, justifieth through Christ, and saveth through Christ; but he chooseth in Christ.’ Ephesians – Sermon V

‘What is the cause of all God’s purposes towards us? Himself. There is no other cause.’ Ephesians – Sermon V

‘Yes, both Christ and we too were distinctly and particularly thought of, and so individually elected.’ Ephesians – Sermon V

‘As in the womb, head and members are not conceived apart, but together, as having relation each to other, so were we and Christ, as making up one mystical body unto God, formed together in that eternal womb of election.’ Ephesians – Sermon V

‘Our salvation had a sure foundation given it in election, not only in God’s eternal love and purpose, (the foundation of the Lord remains sure, he knows who are his) but further also, this his first choice of us was a founding us on Christ, and in and together with choosing us, a setting us into him, so as then to be represented by him… Other men, as likewise the angels that fell, were ordained to be in themselves — to stand or fall by themselves — but we were, by a choice act of God’s, culled out of the lump, and chosen in Christ, and not in ourselves apart.’ Ephesians – Sermon V

‘And were you so chosen in Christ, as that God never purposed you a being but as in Christ, and then gave you this subsistence in Christ, never casting a thought upon you out of him; then reckon of no other being but what you have in Christ. Reckon not of what you have in honours, or what you are in greatness or parts, but reckon of what you were in him before this world was, and of all the spiritual blessings wherewith he then blessed you; and likewise of what you are now in him, by an actual union, as then by a virtual and representative one.’ Ephesians – Sermon V

NB: The painting is Rembrandt’s Pilgrims at Emmaus. 1628-29. Oil on panel. Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, France.

Goodwin on God’s mercy

My next few posts will be some thoughts from Thomas Goodwin (1600 – 1679). Goodwin was a co-pastor with John Owen at a time of severe persecution of the Puritans. His courageous refusal to comply with the Church of England after the issuance of the Act of Uniformity is one of the many reasons that he was so admired by Forsyth.

‘The mercies of [God’s] nature, thus joined with the declarations of his gracious willingness to shew mercy to us men, is now become a just and meet ground and object for a sinner’s faith.’ The Object And Acts Of Justifying Faith

‘God’s shewing, or his actual exercising of mercy, dependeth upon an act of his will, and is not a mere, sole, single effect of his nature. For if it were solely and act of his nature, it would have been, and would still be necessary, for him to shew mercy on the devils … so some revelation or manifestation of his good will (at least indefinite to mankind) is necessary to our faith, and not merely the knowledge of the mercy in his nature.’ The Object And Acts Of Justifying Faith

‘All our faith for forgiveness may at any time be readily and finally resolved into the mercies of God, as the ultimum objectum in quod, as the ultimate object or foundation.’ The Object And Acts Of Justifying Faith