by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, 0 ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. —Matthew 8:26
To sustain these attacks, faith arms and defends itself with the word of the Lord. And when such a temptation as this assails us—that God is our enemy, because he is angry with us—faith, on the contrary, objects, that he is merciful even when he afflicts, because chastisement proceeds rather from love than from wrath.
When it is pressed with this thought, that God is an avenger of iniquities, it opposes the pardon provided for all offenses, whenever the sinner makes application to the Divine clemency. Thus the pious mind, however strangely it may be agitated and harassed, rises at length superior to all difficulties, nor ever suffers its confidence in the Divine mercy to be shaken. The various disputes which exercise and fatigue it terminate rather in the confirmation of that confidence.
It is a proof of this, that when the saints conceive themselves to feel most the vengeance of God, they still confide their complaints to him, and when there is no appearance of his hearing them, they continue to call upon him.
For what end would be answered by addressing complaint to him from whom they expected no consolation? And they would never be disposed to call upon him unless they believed him to be ready to assist them.
Thus the disciples, whom Christ reprehends for the weakness of their faith, complained indeed that they were perishing, but still they implored his assistance. Nor, when he chides them for their weak faith, does he reject them from the number of his children, or class them with unbelievers; but he excites them to correct that fault.
Therefore we repeat the assertion already made, that faith is never eradicated from a pious heart, but continues firmly fixed, however it may be shaken, and seem to bend this way or that; that its light is never so extinguished or smothered, but that it lies at least concealed under embers; and that this is an evident proof that the word, which is an incorruptible seed, produces fruit similar to itself, whose germ never entirely perishes. —Institutes, III, ii, xxi
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.