This We Should Do

We ought in the very order of things [in creation] diligently to contemplate God’s fatherly love…[for as] foreseeing and diligent father of the family he shows his wonderful goodness to us … To conclude once for all, whenever we call God the Creator of heaven and earth, let us at the same time bear in mind that… we are indeed his children, whom he has received into his faithful protection to nourish and educate… So, invited by the great sweetness of his beneficence and goodness, let us study to love and serve him with all of our heart.

John Calvin

– Reeves, Michael; Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith;  IVP Academic; Downer’s Grove, IL, Page 23

Advertisements

Christ’s Spiritual Kingdom and Civil Jurisdiction Are Completely Distinct

Christ’s spiritual kingdom and civil jurisdiction are things completely distinct.  Yet this distinction does not lead us to consider the whole nature of government a thing polluted, which has nothing to do with Christian men.  That is what, indeed, certain fanatics who delight in unbridled license shout and boast… But as we have just now pointed out that this kind of government is distinct from that spiritual and inward Kingdom of Christ, so we know that they are not at variance.

– John Calvin

as quoted by  Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 252

God Gave Gifts To Human Nature After it was Despoiled of Its True Good

Whenever we come upon these matter in secular writers, let that admirable light of truth shining in them teach us that the mind of man, though fallen and perverted from its wholeness, is nevertheless clothed and ornamented with God’s excellent gifts.  What then?  Shall we deny that the truth shone on the ancient jurists who established civic order and discipline with such great equity?  Shall we say that the philosophers were blind in their fine observation and artful description of nature?… Shall we say that they are insane who developed medicine, devoting their labor to our benefit?  What shall we say of all the mathematical sciences??  Shall we consider them the ravings of madmen?… Those men whom Scripture calls “natural men” were, indeed, sharp and penetrating in their investigation of earthly things.  Let us, accordingly, learn by their example how many gifts the Lord left to human nature even after it was despoiled of its true good.

– John Calvin

as quoted by  Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 251-252

Neither God’s Power nor Wisdom is Shrouded in Darkness

But as the greater part of mankind, enslaved by error, walk blindfold in this glorious theater, he exclaims that it is a rare and singular wisdom to meditate carefully on these works of God, which many, who seem sharp-sighted in other respects, behold without profit.  It is indeed true that the brightest manifestation of divine glory finds not one genuine spectator among a hundred.  Still neither his power nor his wisdom is shrouded in darkness.

– John Calvin

as quoted by R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God, Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Ill., Copyright 1985, Kindle Edition

The Chief Activity of the Soul

If human happiness, whose perfection it is to be united with God, were hidden from man, he would in fact be bereft of the principal use of his understanding.  Thus, also the chief activity of the soul is to aspire tither.  Hence, the more anyone endeavors to approach to God, the more he proves himself endowed with reason.

– John Calvin

as quoted by Piper, John; When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy; copyright 2004; Crossway Books; Wheaton, Il.; p. 16

John Calvin on the Augustinian View of Human Corruption

John Calvin followed Augstine in this view of human corruption:

This is the heredity corruption to which early Christian writers gave the name Original Sin, meaning by the term the depravation of a nature formerly good and pure…when it was clearly proved from Scripture that the sin of the first man passed to all his prosterity, recourse was had to the cavil, that it passed by imitation, and not by propagation.  The orthodox, therefore, and more especially Augustine, laboured to show, that we are not corrupted by acquired wickedness, but bring an innate corruption from the very womb.

– John Calvin

as quoted by Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 123-124

The Question on Which the Reformation Focused

The Reformation focused on the question, How is a person justified?  Clearly justification involves a legal judgment by God, a declaration by him that we are just.  Then the burning question becomes this: On what basis or grounds does God ever declare anyone just?  Must we first become just inherently before God will make such a declaration?  Or does he declare us just before we are in ourselves actually just?  John Calvin answered the question this way:

A man is said to be justified in the sight of God when in the judgment of God he is deemed righteous, and is accepted on account of his righteousness; for as iniquity is abominable to God, so neither can the sinner find grace in his sight, so far as he is and so long as he is regarded as a sinner.  Hence, wherever sin is, there also are the wrath and vengeance of God.  He, on the other hand, is justified who is regarded not as a sinner, but as righteous, and as such stands acquitted at the judgment seat of God, where all sinners are condemned…Thus we simply interpret justification, as the acceptance with which God receives us into his favour as we were righteous; and we say that this justification consists in the forgiveness of sins and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ.

– John Calvin

as quoted by Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 60-61