The gospel is not a doctrine of the tongue, but of life. I cannot be grasped by reason and memory only, but it is fully understood when it possesses the whole heart.
Let nominal Christians cease from insulting God by boasting themselves to be what they are not, and let them show themselves disciples not unworthy of Christ, their master.
We must assign first place to the knowledge of our religion, for that is the beginning of our salvation.
But our religion will be unprofitable if it does not change our heart, pervade our manner, and transform us into new creatures.
“But you wouldn’t believe what he did to me!”
“And he says he is a Christian.”
“It is just way too hard to forgive her for what she did.”
“She didn’t act like she was sorry when she apologized.”
In Luke 17, Jesus implores his followers to work with people of all types with the utmost respect and dignity. To further drive the point home regarding dealing with people and their issues, John Calvin makes a good argument. We have no choice but to forgive people when they repent and ask for forgiveness.
If anyone, therefore, appears before you who is in need of your kind services, you have no reason to refuse him your help.
Suppose he is a stranger; yet the Lord has pressed his own stamp on him and made him as one of your family, and he forbids you to despise your own flesh and blood.
Suppose he is despicable and worthless; yet the Lord has deigned him worthy to be adorned with his own image.
Suppose that you have no obligation toward him for services; yet the Lord has made him as it were his substitute, so that you have obligation for numerous and unforgettable benefits.
Suppose that he is unworthy of your least exertion; but the image of God which recommends him to you deserves that you surrender yourself and all your possessions to him.
If he has deserved no kindness, but just the opposite, because he has maddened you with his injuries and insults, even this is no reaosn why you should not surround him with your affection and show him all sorts of favors.
You may say that he has deserved a very difficult treatment, but what does the Lord command but to forgive all men their offenses and to charge them against himself? (Calvin, GBTCL, 37-38)
One must constantly be on the look out for danger signs in their spiritual health. Whether you have a built in meter to help with this, or you have a friend or spouse super willing to bring up stagnancy, which may lead to sin, spiritual health is critical. Holistically speaking our spiritual health is inexorably tied to our mental and physical health. So it is vital that we keep all parts of our beings maintained and running healthily.
In an effort to find fresh ways of feeding my soul, I have prayed and decided to audit a class at DenSem called “Reading the Spiritual Masters.” It is my goal to really stick with it as most MDiv grads who do an audit like this tend to fall off pretty quickly when there is no risk on the line.
One of the reasons I chose this class is the prof. Howard Baker is a really cool man who has helped shape some of my faith practices.
I have already received the books and begun to meditate on some of the material. One of the books is a tractate titled “Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life” by John Calvin (I’ll call it GBTCL from now on). Typically John Calvin is not one of my more favorite reads. First, they are usually more of a magnum opus and secondly, the interpreters of his French and Latin don’t work for my sophomoric mind. However this small volume is interpreted more palatably for my vocabulary.
A long introduction to a short paragraph about scripture:
The goal of the new life is that God’s children exhibit melody and harmony in their conduct. What melody? The song of God’s justice. What harmony? The harmony between god’s righteousness and our obedience.
Only if we walk in the beauty of God’s law do we become sure of our adoption as children of the Father.
The law of God contains in itself the dynamic of the new life by which his image is fully restored in us; but by nature we are sluggish, and therefore we need to be simulated, aided in our efforts by a guiding principle.
A sincere repentance from the heart does not guarantee that we shall not wander from the straight path and sometimes become bewildered.
Let us then search scripture to find the root principle for the reformation of our life.
In the words of the most interesting man in the world, “Stay thirsty my friends.”
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Tagged Denver Seminary, GBTCL, Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life, Howard Baker, John Calvin, prayer, read, reading, repentance, scripture, soul, spiritual health