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Calvin, Participation, and the GiftThe Activity of Believers in Union with Christ$
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J. Todd Billings

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199211876

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199211876.001.0001

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Participation in Christ: The Activity of Believers in Prayer and the Sacraments

Participation in Christ: The Activity of Believers in Prayer and the Sacraments

(p.105) 4 Participation in Christ: The Activity of Believers in Prayer and the Sacraments
Calvin, Participation, and the Gift

J. Todd Billings

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the place of the human is illuminated in Calvin's theology of participation via a Trinitarian account of the duplex gratia used as the framework for participation. For Calvin, participation in Christ must emphasizes the legal and the transformative language in the ‘double grace’ of justification and sanctification. In prayer, believers act in ascetic struggle to pray rightly, yet the foundation for their active struggle is a recognition of God's free pardon. Likewise, in the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper, believers act in response to God's justifying act in a way that incorporates them into a Trinitarian soteriology: the Father is revealed as gracious and generous through his free pardon of believers in their union with Christ; this union also involves the activation of believers by the Spirit — toward a life of piety and love, requiring ascetic effort and activity.

Keywords:   Calvin theology, Gift theology, duplex gratia, prayer, sacrament, baptism, Lord's Supper, prayer

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