by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. —John 3:11
"You receive not our testimony." This is added, that the gospel may lose nothing on account of the ingratitude of men. For since few persons are to be found who exercise faith in the truth of God, and since the truth is everywhere rejected by the world, we ought to defend it against contempt, that its majesty may not be held in less estimation, because the world despises it, and obscures it by impiety.
Now though the meaning of the words be simple and one, still we must draw from this passage a twofold doctrine. The first is, that our faith in the gospel may not be weakened, if it have few disciples on earth; as if Christ had said, "Though you receive not my doctrine, it remains nevertheless certain and durable; for the unbelief of men will never prevent God from remaining always true." The other is, that they who, in the present day, disbelieve the gospel, will not escape with impunity, since the truth of God is holy and sacred.
We ought to be fortified with this shield, that we may persevere in obedience to the gospel in opposition to the obstinacy of men. True indeed, we must hold by this principle, that our faith be founded on God. But when we have God as our security, we ought, like persons elevated above the heavens, boldly to tread the whole world under our feet, or regard it with lofty disdain, rather than allow the unbelief of any person whatever to fill us with alarm.
As to the complaint which Christ makes, that his testimony is not received, we learn from it that the word of God has in all ages been distinguished by this peculiar feature, that they who believed it were few; for the expression—you receive not—belongs to the greater number, and almost to the whole body of the people. There is no reason, therefore, that we should now be discouraged if the number of those who believe be small. —Commentaries
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.