by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. —Isaiah 53:2, 3
If I am troubled and worried when I think of the only Son of God being, as it were, trampled underfoot and hated by men, I must enter into myself. For if I look only at Jesus Christ I shall turn away from him and hold him of no account. But if I first of all look at myself and then come to him, what he has suffered will be laudable to me. Why? Because I shall consider that I am a poor sinner and have provoked the wrath of God against me so terribly that he is my adversary and judge.
If I think of my sins and so become aware of how fearful and appalling is the wrath of God and that he is my judge to cast me into hell, then I shall come to say, "What means have you for coming to an agreement with God? Can you bring him something to satisfy his demands, even for the least sin you have committed?"
Alas, no! When I shall have scoured earth and sea, shall I have discovered anything to make amends with? Can the angels in paradise help me? Therefore it is necessary that Jesus Christ shall appear in my name and stand as my pledge and surety.
This is how the death and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ ceases to be foolishness to us. But we shall conceive that, since we are accurst like this, and there is no means of finding grace before God since we have so provoked him and he was against us and our enemy, we had to be subject to Satan and his tyranny until Jesus Christ delivered us from him.
The way to begin to glorify the infinite goodness of our God is to hate our sins and be utterly confounded. This also is how the scandal that we imagine and that each of us weaves around the death and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ will soon be taken away—namely, when we enter into ourselves and make a thorough examination of our sins, and recognize that we are so detestable to God that he had to corne in the person of his Son to make satisfaction and reparation for our sins so that by this means we might be reconciled to him. —Sermons
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.