Wednesday, October 21, 2009

John Calvin : 500 years

We are celebrating the 500th birthday of John Calvin in our children's ministry at Clifton Baptist. I thought it would be a good time to outline the opening of Calvin's, "Institutes of the Christian Religion". First I would like to quote his self proclaimed purpose in his address to King Francis I of France.
"My purpose was solely to transmit certain rudiments by which those who are touched with any zeal for religion might be shaped to true godliness. . . . The book itself witnesses that this was my intention, adapted as it is to a simple and, you may say, elementary form of teaching."

Take note of the pastoral care that John Calvin had as the purpose behind writing this book. Second, notice his humility in calling what I consider to be one of the greatest works ever written as an, "elementary form of teaching."

The Knowledge of God and That of Ourselves are Connected
  • How are they interrelated?
1. Without knowledge of self there is no knowledge of God
The idea here is that without an honest and true view of ourselves we will never aspire after God. It is the knowledge of our sinful estate that makes us discontent. Discontentment will almost always lead to searching. Since God is the antithesis of our depraved state He is alluring to us. The phrase, "irresistible grace," takes a deeper meaning in light of this. Could a starving man resist a warm meal?

2. Without knowledge of God there is no knowledge of self
It is only by looking at the original painting to truly be able to scrutinize a replication. Basically, we need to see God as He is, perfect and holy, to scrutinize our imperfect and wretched existence. We must view the source to understand or examine the product. We are not just bearers of God's image, we are His creation.

3. Man before God's majesty
Man can not truly grasp the severity of his sinfulness until he compares himself to God's majesty. Not only will he not grasp his sinfulness, he will not be deeply affected by it. Knowledge of sin does not equate a deep sorrow over sin.

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