by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; —Ephesians 4:20-22
This is a proper place to address those who have nothing but the name and the symbol of Christ, and yet would be called Christians. But with what face do they glory in his sacred name? For none have any intercourse with Christ but those who have received the true knowledge of him from the word of the gospel.
Now the apostle denies that any have rightly learned Christ, who have not been taught that they must put off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and put on Christ. Their knowledge of Christ, then, is proved to be a false and injurious pretense, with whatever eloquence and volubility they may talk concerning the gospel.
But it is a doctrine, not of the tongue, but of the life; and is not apprehended merely with the understanding and memory, like other sciences, but is then only received, when it possesses the whole soul, and finds a seat and residence in the inmost affection of the heart.
Let them, therefore, either cease to insult God by boasting themselves to be what they are not, or show themselves disciples not unworthy of Christ, their Master. We have allotted the first place to the doctrine which contains our religion, because it is the origin of our salvation; but that it may not be unprofitable to us, it must be transfused into our breast, pervade our manners, and thus transform us into itself. —Institutes, III, vi, iv
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.