by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself? —Job 22:2
We see that he compares himself to a husbandman who has a vineyard which, when he has tended it, yields wine to him; or who has a field and reaps corn from it. God in using such figures of speech, declares that he so accounts of our works that they are like pleasant and sweet sacrifices to him.
And he says also that when we do good to the poor, it is as if we did it to him, and he accepts it as done to himself. Jesus Christ speaks thus of it, saying, "Whatsoever you shall do to one of the least of my members, I accept it as if it had been done to my own person."
Seeing, then, that our Lord descends so far that he subjects himself to the condition of a sinful and mortal man, and says that he receives whatever we do to our brethren, although we can bring him nothing; and willingly binds himself to us when he is not in debt to us; on our part, when we see all this, must we not be ravished with admiration for such great gentleness as our God shows toward us?
So then, let us note well what is said in this passage, that when man will have taken pains to live in holiness and in uprightness according to the commandments of God, it cannot be said that in all his life he has profited God at all; he has been profitable only to himself. But yet our Lord to give us courage to do well surely wishes to accept that which in itself is of no profit; he requires it as if he were improved by it, and he declares to us that our efforts will be neither lost nor useless. —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.