by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
I have fought a good fight, 1 have finished my course, I have kept the faith; Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. —II Timothy 4:7, 8
In these combats where men torment themselves out of measure, what do they hope for? A crown of leaves and nothing else. But we have a far better reward. For our Lord calls us to the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven. He will make us partakers of his immortality and of his glory. And yet we hardly move a foot or an arm for this end. Do we not show that we give small honor to God and that we think little of his promises?
For in those days those who were going to fight ate nothing but biscuit, and did not eat their fill. Thus these poor fools, for a little worldly praise, that men should say, he is a nimble fellow, or he wrestles well; for this commendation they fasted and risked their lives. They pined away all their lives, they dared not drink their fill even of water, they abstained from delicate meats, they kept a precise diet; and all this was only to have a little fame, and to have men clap their hands and say, Ho, there is a noble lad; he is worthy to have a dozen leaves; he has fought manfully; he shall be crowned.
And behold our God calls us not only to have a word of commendation in this world; but having chosen us to himself, shows us that our wages is ready, that we shall not miss the crown of glory, and that the angels of Paradise clap their hands for us. To be short, the holy fathers, the holy prophets, apostles, and martyrs shall receive us in the latter day; ought not this to encourage us to walk faithfully and to fight constantly to the end?
This is the reason why Saint Paul uses this figure, when he says that he had fought a good fight. It is as if he had said, "As for them who travail according to the world for ambition or covetousness, let them please themselves and brag of their combats as much as they wish. But as for me, I have to content myself when I serve my God; I shall not lose one foot, but all shall come into account before him. The angels of Paradise rejoice in that I have been an instrument to perform in God's name that which he committed to me for the advancement of the kingdom of his Son." —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.