by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God. —Job 32:2
If a man be angered by a fleshly passion, he has respect to himself, and intends to maintain himself. Again, if he shows special favor to his friends, this is respect of persons, and he is really seeking his own advancement. We should rather be angry with ourselves, if we desire God to recognize our anger and permit it.
And how is that done? It is when a man enters into his own conscience, and searches himself earnestly, and does not look at others as much as at himself, to condemn himself, and to fight against his own passions.
You see then how we ought to be angry, and where our anger ought to begin, if we expect God to permit it. That is, every man ought to look at himself, and be angry with his own sins and vices. Let us direct our anger there, seeing that we have provoked God's wrath against us, and are full of so much wickedness. Let us be angry and grieved at that; let that be the point at which our anger begins.
And afterwards let us condemn evil wherever it may be found, in ourselves as well as in our friends. And let us not be led by personal hatred to cast our rage at any man just because we are already pre-occupied with some evil feeling toward him.
So our anger will be laudable, and we shall show that it proceeds from a true zeal for God. It is true that we shall not always be able to control ourselves; for although we were motivated by a godly zeal, we would still exceed the proper bounds if God did not restrain us.
Therefore in this zealousness it is fitting that we should have discretion and keep a check upon ourselves. Nevertheless, this anger will be allowable, if it springs from the fountain which we have described; that is to say, if we hate evil wherever it may be found, even if it be in our own persons. —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.