by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. —John 12:25
"He who hateth his soul." This expression is used comparatively; because we ought to despise life, so far as it hinders us from living to God; for if meditation on the heavenly life were the prevailing sentiment of our hearts, the world would have no influence in detaining us. Hence, too, we obtain a reply to an objection that might be urged. "Many persons, through despair, or for other reasons, and chiefly from weariness of life, kill themselves; and yet we will not say that such persons provide for their own safety, while others are hurried to death by ambition, who also rush down to ruin." But here Christ speaks expressly of that hatred or contempt of this fading life, which believers derive from the contemplation of a better life.
Consequently, whoever does not look to heaven has not yet learned in what way life must be preserved. Besides, this latter clause was added by Christ, in order to strike terror into those who are too desirous of the earthly life; for if we are overwhelmed by the love of the world, so that we cannot easily forget it, it is impossible for us to go to heaven. But since the Son of God arouses us so violently, it would be the height of folly to sleep a mortal sleep. —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.