I have always been intrigued by a tension at the heart of John Calvin's thought, a tension between what may be called radical and reactionary possibilities. In particular I am interested in grace, gratia in latin, charis in Greek. Grace appears in Calvin's work as the bedrock for the great themes of providence, election, justification by faith (and not works), redemption and santification. To be completely reliant on God for salvation is to rely entirely on his grace. This much is all too well known. But there is another dimension to Calvin's doctrine of grace that is far less known. Calvin glimpses the radical possibilities of grace only to try and contain it.