Tag Archives: John Calvin

“Having God’s Son, we have all we can ever wish for” by John Calvin

“We may always come boldly to God’s throne, assuring ourselves that His majesty will no more be terrifying to us, seeing He shows Himself a Father towards us in the person of His only Son. We see then that St. Paul’s intention is to keep us close to Jesus Christ.

And therein we also see what our perversity is. For it is certain that the care and zeal which St. Paul had, to make us cleave steadfastly to the Son of God, came through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, who knew our frailty and inconstancy. If we had (in a manner of speaking) one drop of sound sense, it would be enough to make us understand that by the gospel we may possess God’s Son who gives Himself to us, and that by having Him, we have all we can ever wish for.

It would have been enough to have spoken this in one word, as St. Paul has shown already, (Rom. 8:32) but we see how he repeats and confirms his saying, as though it were hard to believe. And indeed it is hard, because we are too much given to distrust and unbelief. Again, to believe for one day is not all that we have to do.

It is necessary for us to persevere, which is found as a very rare thing in this world, because we are always fluttering about, by reason of which men, as it were, willfully deprive themselves of what was given them. Furthermore, since all the world is in this case, and we cannot be won or persuaded without great pains to come to our Lord Jesus Christ and to rest on Him, let us use the remedy St. Paul proposes here.

And first of all we must carefully observe that Jesus Christ is the door to open heaven to us, (John 10:9) for we know that at His death the veil of the Temple was rent in two, (Matt. 27:51) and that in such a way, that we may now enter without inhibition into the sanctuary of God—not of such a material temple as was then— so that we may approach into the presence of our God and come to Him for refuge, just as a child throws himself into the lap of his father or mother, for it is certain that God surpasses all the fathers and mothers of the world in all kindness and favour.

Seeing then that we know that, what more do we think would be to our benefit? What better or more excellent thing would we have rather than God? Then we must go and search for it in the bottom of hell. For when we have engaged in wanderings to our heart’s content we shall invariably find that there is nothing in any of all the creatures high or low that is worth a straw in comparison with God, as the prophet Isaiah says. (Isaiah 45:6)

So then, seeing that God has given Himself to us in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that the whole fulness of the Godhead dwells in that great sanctuary which was typified by the visible sanctuary of the law, (Hebrews 9:9) ought we not to be fully satisfied when we have that, and to rest ourselves wholly there?

And although our minds and our affections are fickle, yet they ought to be held in check like prisoners, so that we may say, ‘Let us cleave, let us cleave to our God,’ according to that saying of David, ‘Behold, all my happiness and all my joy is joined to my God! (Psalm 73:28) He is the fountain of light and life. (Psalm 36:9) He is my portion, I cannot have a better lot, I must take all my delight in Him.’ (Psalm 16:5)”

–John Calvin, “Sermon on Ephesians 3:9-12,” Sermons on the Epistle to the Ephesians (trans. Arthur Golding; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1562/1973), 266-268.

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“It is the will of the Lord of lights to teach the ignorant, to strengthen the feeble, to illumine the blind, and to make His truth to reign” by John Calvin

“O you who call yourselves bishops and pastors of the poor people, see to it that the sheep of Jesus Christ are not deprived of their proper pasture; and that it is not prohibited and forbidden to any Christian freely and in his own language to read, handle, and hear this holy gospel, seeing that such is the will of God, and Jesus Christ commands it.

For it is for this cause that he has sent His apostles and servants throughout the whole world; giving them the power to speak in all tongues, so that they may in every language preach to every creature; and he has made them debtors to the Greeks and the barbarians, to the wise and the simple, in order that none might be excluded from their teaching.

Surely, if you are truly their vicars, successors, and imitators, it is your office to do the same, watching over the flock and seeking every possible means to have everyone instructed in the faith of Jesus Christ, by the pure Word of God. Otherwise, the sentence is already proclaimed and put down in writing, that God will demand their souls at your hands.

It is the will of the Lord of lights by His Holy Spirit, by means of this holy and saving gospel, to teach the ignorant, to strengthen the feeble, to illumine the blind, and to make His truth to reign among all peoples and nations, to the end that the whole world may know but one God and one Savior, Jesus Christ; one faith, and one gospel.

So be it.”

–John Calvin, “Preface to Olivetan’s New Testament,” Calvin: Commentaries, Ed. Joseph Haroutunian (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1958), 72-73.

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“His only purpose in speaking to Moses was so that He might call everyone to Christ” by John Calvin

“God did not speak through Moses and the Prophets for nothing.

His only purpose in speaking to Moses was so that He might call everyone to Christ.

Therefore, it is clear that those who repudiate Christ are no disciples of Moses.”

–John Calvin, Calvin: Commentaries, Ed. Joseph Haroutunian (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1958), 104. Commenting on John 5:38.

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“This is what we should seek in the whole of Scripture” by John Calvin

“This is what we should in short seek in the whole of Scripture: truly to know Jesus Christ, and the infinite riches that are comprised in Him and are offered to us by Him from God the Father.

If one were to sift thoroughly the Law and the Prophets, he would not find a single word which would not draw and bring us to Him.

And for a fact, since all the treasures of wisdom and understanding are hidden in Him, there is not the least question of having, or turning toward, another goal; not unless we would deliberately turn aside from the light of truth, to lose ourselves in the darkness of lies.

Therefore, rightly does Saint Paul say in another passage that he would know nothing except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And such knowledge although mean and contemptible to the mind of the flesh is nevertheless sufficient to occupy us all our lives. And we shall not waste our time if we employ all our study and apply all our understanding to profit from it.

What more would we ask for, as spiritual doctrine for our souls, than to know God, to be converted to Him, and to have His glorious image imprinted in us, so that we may partake of His righteousness, to become heirs of His Kingdom and to possess it in the end in full?

But the truth is that from the beginning God has given Himself, and at present gives Himself more fully, that we may contemplate Him in the face of his Christ. It is therefore not lawful that we turn away and become diverted even in the smallest degree by this or that.

On the contrary, our minds ought to come to a halt at the point where we learn in Scripture to know Jesus Christ and Him alone, so that we may be directly led by Him to the Father who contains in Himself all perfection.”

–John Calvin, “Preface to Olivetan’s New Testament,” Calvin: Commentaries, Ed. Joseph Haroutunian (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1958), 70.

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“If we would know Christ, we must seek Him in the Scriptures” by John Calvin

“This passage teaches us that if we would know Christ, we must seek Him in the Scriptures. Anyone who imagines Christ as he will, gets nothing but a mere blur.

So, we must first hold that Christ is known rightly nowhere but in Scripture. If this be so, our chief purpose in reading the Scriptures must be to arrive at a right knowledge of Christ.

Whoever turns aside from this aim, even though he wear himself out with learning all his life, will never arrive at truth; for what wisdom can we attain apart from the wisdom of God?

Moreover, since we are commanded to seek Christ in the Scriptures, He declares that our zeal in this matter shall not be in vain; for the Father Himself testifies that in them He shall certainly reveal His Son to us.

Many are deprived of this blessing, because they neglect reading the Scriptures, or do it cursorily and superficially. But it deserves utmost attention that Christ Himself commands us to probe deeply into this hidden treasure.

It was sheer apathy that led the Jews, who had the law in their very hands, to abhor Christ. The glory of God shone brightly in Moses, but they put up a veil and darkened it.

In this place, Scripture means obviously the Old Testament. It is not true that Christ appears first in the gospel.

It is rather that after the witness of the Law and the Prophets, He appeared in the gospel for everyone to see.”

–John Calvin, Calvin: Commentaries, Ed. Joseph Haroutunian (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1958), 105. Commenting on John 5:39.

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“Understanding Romans” by John Calvin

“There are commentaries on this epistle by many ancient and many modern writers. Indeed they could not have labored at a better task; because when anyone understands this epistle, the way is open before him to an understanding of the whole of Scripture.”

–John Calvin, “Epistle To Simon Grynaeus On The Commentary On Romans,” Calvin: Commentaries, Ed. Joseph Haroutunian (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1958), 74.

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“Moses had no other intention than to invite all men to go straight to Christ” by John Calvin

“Moses had no other intention than to invite all men to go straight to Christ.

And hence it is evident that they who reject Christ are not the disciples of Moses.”

–John Calvin, Commentary on the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ According to John, in Calvin’s Commentaries, Vol. XVII (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1981), 217. Calvin is commenting on John 5:38.

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