by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; —I Corinthians 3:21, 22
But believers should accustom themselves to such a contempt of the present life as may not generate either hatred of life, or ingratitude towards God. For this life, though it is replete with innumerable miseries, is yet deservedly reckoned among the Divine blessings which must not be despised.
Wherefore, if we discover nothing of the Divine beneficence in it, we are already guilty of no small ingratitude towards God himself. But to believers especially, it should be a testimony of the Divine benevolence, since the whole of it is destined to the advancement of their salvation. For before he openly discovers to them the inheritance of eternal glory, he intends to reveal himself as our Father in inferior instances; and those are the benefits which he daily confers on us.
Since this life, then, is subservient to a knowledge of the Divine goodness, shall we fastidiously scorn it, as though it contained no particle of goodness in it? We must therefore have this sense and affection, to class it among the bounties of the Divine benignity which are not to be rejected.
For if Scripture testimonies were wanting, which are very numerous and clear, even nature itself exhorts us to give thanks to the Lord for having introduced us to the light of life, for granting us the use of it, and giving us all the helps necessary to its preservation.
And it is a far superior reason for gratitude, if we consider that here we are in some measure prepared for the glory of the heavenly kingdom. For the Lord has ordained that they who are to be hereafter crowned in heaven must first engage in conflicts on earth, that they may not triumph without having surmounted the difficulties of warfare and obtained the victory.
Another reason is that here we begin in various blessings to taste the sweetness of the Divine benignity, that our hope and desire may be excited after the full revelation of it. When we have come to this conclusion, that our life in this world is a gift of the Divine clemency, which, as we owe to him, we ought to remember with gratitude, it will then be time for us to descend to a consideration of its most miserable condition that we may be delivered from excessive love of it, to which, as has been observed, we are naturally inclined. —Institutes, III, ix, iii
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.