by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: —Romans 1:5
The same divine word is the foundation by which faith is sustained and supported, from which it cannot be moved without an immediate downfall. Take away the word, then, and there will be no faith left.
We are not here disputing whether the ministry of men be necessary to disseminate the word of God, by which faith is produced, which we shall discuss in another place; but we assert, that the word itself, in whatever way it may be conveyed to us, is like a mirror, in which faith may behold God. Whether, therefore, God in this instance uses the agency of men, or whether he operates solely by his own power, he always discloses himself by his Word to those whom he designs to draw to himself. From this Paul defines faith as an obedience rendered to the gospel, and praises the service of faith. For the understanding of faith is not confined to our knowing that there is a God, but chiefly consists in our understanding what is his disposition towards us.
For it is not of so much importance to us to know what he is in himself, as what he is willing to be to us. We find, therefore, that faith is a knowledge of the will of God respecting us, received from his word. And the foundation of this is a previous persuasion of the Divine reliability; if we entertain any doubt of this in the mind, the authority of the word will be dubious and weak, or rather it will be no authority at all.
Nor is it sufficient to believe that the veracity of God is incapable of deception or falsehood, unless you also admit, as beyond all doubt, that whatever proceeds from him is sacred and inviolable truth. —Institutes, III, ii, vi
John Calvin was the premier theologian of the Reformation, but also a pious and godly Christian pastor who endeavored throughout his life to point men and women to Christ. We are grateful to Reformation Heritage Books for permission to use John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart as our daily devotional for 2013 on the OPC Web site. You can currently obtain a printed copy of that book from Reformation Heritage Books.
Dr. Joel Beeke, who is editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, has this to say:
"Calvin shows us the piety of a Reformed theologian who speaks from the heart. Having tasted the goodness and grace of God in Jesus Christ, he pursued piety by seeking to know and do God’s will every day. He communed with Christ, practicing repentance, self-denial, and cross-bearing. Moreover, his theology worked itself out in heart-felt, Christ-honoring piety. The selections of this devotional bear this out, and hopefully will be used by God to direct pious hearts in our own day."
These devotional readings from John Calvin were compiled by John H. Kromminga. Be sure to read his "Introduction" to John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart.