by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.... Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? —John 3:1, 9
"Of the Pharisees." This designation was, no doubt, regarded by his countrymen as honorable to Nicodemus. But it is not for the sake of honor that it is given to him by the Evangelist, who, on the contrary, draws our attention to it as having prevented him from coming freely and cheerfully to Christ.
Hence we are reminded that they who occupy a lofty station in the world are, for the most part, entangled by very dangerous snares; nay, we see many of them held so firmly bound that not even the slightest wish or prayer arises from them towards heaven throughout their whole life.
"How can these things be?" We see what is the chief obstacle in the way of Nicodemus. Everything that he hears appears monstrous, because he does not understand the manner of it; so that there is no greater obstacle to us than our own pride; that is, we always wish to be wise beyond what is proper, and therefore we reject with diabolical pride everything that is not explained to our reason; as if it were proper to limit the infinite power of God to our poor capacity.
We are, indeed, permitted, to a certain extent, to inquire into the manner and reason of the works of God, provided that we do so with sobriety and reverence. —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.