by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. —Job 32:8
If it is God that gives special understanding to men to understand the things that pertain to this fleeting life, what is to be said of the Gospel and of true religion? Have we these by nature? Can we purchase them by our own labor? Alas, we must fall far short.
If a man should be a good schoolmaster to teach children, or a good lawyer or physician, or a good merchant in a city or a good laborer in the country; it is the Spirit of God that accomplishes all these things. One man needs to be sharp-witted in one thing more than in another; as sometimes mechanical arts require greater skill than merchandising.
Now then, when we come to the doctrine of the Gospel, there is a wisdom which surmounts all of man's understanding, and is wonderful even to the angels. The very secrets of heaven are contained in the Gospel, for it concerns the knowledge of God in the person of his Son.
And although our Lord Jesus Christ descended here below, yet we must comprehend his godly majesty, or else we cannot establish our faith in him. This is a matter, I say, which is incomprehensible to human nature.
Now then, if God with respect to mechanical arts, with respect to human sciences which concern this transitory life, must distribute to us his Holy Spirit, much more ought we to realize that our wisdom is not sufficient to know the things of God and the secrets of his kingdom, and that it is necessary that we be taught by him.
In the meantime we must become fools in ourselves that we may be taught by him, as Saint Paul says (l Cor. 3:18).... And this ought to be carefully noted; for we are often dazzled when we see that there are so few who acknowledge the things of God, and indeed, that many aged people who have lived a long time in the world are lost in their superstitions, and fight stubbornly against the doctrine of the Gospel. —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.