“Faithful is the Lord, who has made himself our debtor, not by receiving any thing from us, but by promising us all things,” (Augustine in Psalmum 32, 109, et alibi).

- John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book Third, Chapter 18.


Taiwan is an unusual place with amazing residents. People work hard, earn less, and are soaked in a bad living environment with varied kinds of pollution. At least, most people firmly believed that each tomorrow's living is based on today's efforts. Thus, they usually look down on lame characteristics of anything with their nature instincts. During the recent journey of Taiwan, my friend complaint his church is too lame in the theological guidance, and he is very tired of hearing any thing sort of like "love is salvation". I have never been to his church before, thus I don't know what exactly does that look like. But I remembered John Calvin had a public debate with Cardinal Sadolet by letter in March, 1539. The following writing which is partial discussion is extracted from Calvin's reply.

"...For the saying of Paul is true, (1 Thessalonians 4:7) we have not been called to impurity, but to holiness. This, meanwhile, we constantly maintain, that man is not only justified freely once for all, without any merit of works, but that on this gratuitous justification the salvation of man perpetually depends. Nor is it possible that any work of man can be accepted by God unless it be gratuitously approved. Wherefore, I was amazed when I read your assertion, that love, is the first and chief cause of our salvation. O, Sadolet, who could ever have expected such a saying from you? Undoubtedly the very blind, while in darkness, feel the mercy of God too surely to dare to claim for their love the first cause of their salvation, while those who have merely one spark of divine light feel that their salvation consists in nothing else than their being adopted by God. For eternal salvation is the inheritance of the heavenly Father, and has been prepared solely for his children. Moreover, who can assign any other cause of our adoption than that which is uniformly announced in Scripture, viz., that we did not first love him, but were spontaneously received by him into favor and affection?"

In this worldly world, there are many easy-going thoughts or opinions everywhere, even rooted in some religious places. Sometimes, the circumstances what my friend saw might not be the true faith. It is nothing more than to be that people are liable to have custom-design or custom-made concepts for themselves. Thus, I agree more with that the salvation is not a merely divine feeling but a promise that God has set a judgement and heaven for us. What believers' should do is an endless pursuing. To act out only is not enough, connotation is also very important. As what Calvin's explanation "The sinners might atone to God and ransom themselves from guilt, but by which they might prove that the repentance which they professed was not reigned, and efface the remembrance of that scandal which their sin had occasioned."

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