Wednesday, August 5, 2009

John Calvin on the Knowledge of God

“What avails it, in short to know a God with whom we have nothing to do? The effect of our knowledge rather ought to be, first, to teach us reverence and fear; and secondly, to induce us under its guidance and teaching to ask every good thing from him, and when it is received, ascribe it to him.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, chapter two, page 41) “…it ought to be more carefully considered, that all men promiscuously do homage to God, but very few truly reverence him. On all hands there is abundance of ostentatious ceremonies, but sincerity of heart is rare.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, chapter two, page 42) It seems that Calvin is passionately communicating to us that there is more to knowing God than mere knowledge of whom he might be or where he may dwell. Deep, intimate, and glorious knowledge of God leads us into a sincere reverence and even a gripping awe of him. As we come to know God, we find that he is the author of every thing that we could ever need. This splendid knowledge of God leads me then to conclude seven distinct truths: 1. I owe everything, all that I am, all that I have, and all that I will ever have to God 2. I am nourished and cherished continually by his loving and glorious care 3. God is the author of all of my blessings 4. Therefore, I have no reason to look at any other source for anything I need 5. I need to ask God to develop within me a deep and sincere reverence for him 6. I can not devise my own means of meeting any of my needs apart from him 7. I am bound and compelled to ascribe all that I receive to him for his glory What do you think?

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