by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things. —Ephesians 4:10
Though Christ began to make a more illustrious display of his glory and power at his resurrection, having now laid aside the abject and ignoble condition of this mortal life, and the shame of the cross, yet his ascension into heaven was the real commencement of his reign. This the apostle shows, when he informs us that he "ascended that he might fill all things." Here, in an apparent contradiction, he suggests to us that there is a beautiful harmony, because Christ departed from us, that his departure might be more useful to us than that presence, which, during his continuance on earth, confined itself within the humble mansion of his body....
The Lord declared to his disciples, "It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you." Now, he proposes a consolation for his bodily absence, that he "will not leave them comfortless, or orphans, but will come again to them," in a manner invisible, indeed, but more desirable: because they were then taught by a more certain experience that the authority which he enjoys, and the power which he exercises, is sufficient for the faithful, not only to procure them a blessed life, but to insure them a happy death.
... Being received up into heaven, therefore, he removed his bodily presence from our view; not that he might no longer be present with the faithful who were still in a state of pilgrimage on earth, but that he might govern both heaven and earth by a more efficacious energy. Moreover, his promise, that he would be with us till the end of the world, he has performed by his ascension; by which, as his body was elevated above all heavens, so his power and energy have been diffused and extended beyond all the limits of heaven and earth. —Institutes, II, xvi, xiv
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.