Blogging Calvin

(Part Six)

I don’t think it is too hard to prove that knowing God is the most important pursuit in life.

Not just knowing that there is a God. Romans 1 tells us that everyone knows that. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood thorugh what was has been made.” But knowing God. To “grasp” as Calvin puts it, “what befits us and is proper to his glory…what is our advantage to know of him.”

He’s already given us reasons in the Institutes as to why that kind of knowledge is so important. We’ve looked at that in previous posts. One of them being, we can’t know ourselves without it.

The point Calvin seems to be making in the next chapter, chapter 2 of the first book of the Institutes is that we can’t know God like that, “unless we are…persuaded that he is the fountain of every good, and that we must seek nothing elsewhere than in him. This I take to mean that not only does he sustain the universe by his boundless might, regulate it by his wisdom, preserve it by his goodness, and especially rule mankind by his righteousness and judgment, bear with it in his mercy, watch over it by his protection, but also that no drop will be found either of wisdom and light, or of righteousness or power or rectitude, or of genuine truth, which does not flow from him, and of which he is not the cause…”

I want to stop and think about that some more, but right now I am just wondering how many professing believers believe that. Really? It’s like God has got to be everything or He’s going to be nothing. And even more than that, Calvin goes on to say that the true knowledge of God really begins with complete dependence on God.

(I wonder if this is one reason God graciously allows criticism and even unjust criticism by the way? Anything that forces us to recognize not just in word but in heart our complete dependence on Him is a testimony of His love and serves to increase our ability to really know Him.)

Calvin stresses that this is so fundamental, he calls it the basis of all true religion. “…until men recognize that they owe everything to God, that they are nourished by his fatherly care, that He is the author of their every good, that they should seek nothing beyond him, they will never yield him willing service. Nay, unless they establish their complete happiness in him, they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to him.”

That last line almost sounds like Piper. I guess they must be reading the same book.

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