Wednesday, December 31, 2008

January 1- The Main thing according to Calvin

January 1st, 2009
Scripture: Philippians 3:10 (TNIV) I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Dr. John Leith, my mentor at Union Seminary, made this astute observation about Calvin:The key to understanding Calvin’s theology is to be found in the opening words of The Institutes: “Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But, while joined by many bonds, which one precedes and brings for the other is not easy to discern” (1.1.1). Calvin then goes on to say that “it is certain that man never achieves a clear knowledge of himself unless he has first looked upon God’s face” (1.1.2). [This personal relationship between God and human beings] must also be interpreted in the light of Calvin’s intense and vivid awareness of the holy or the presence of the living God. The church is the community that stands in the presence of the Wholly Other, the creator of heaven and earth…Everything Calvin wrote presupposes the presence and activity of the living God in immediacy and power.” (Leith, John Calvin’s Doctrine of the Christian Life pp. 13,14).

I hear a lot today that it is impossible to know God. God is so numinous and mysterious and awesome (or we are so small, finite, sinful)- some say. But we can know Him according to the scriptures- (I like the Johanine writings here: John 7:28,29; 8:55; 14:9; 17:3; I John 4:8f). But just because I know some of God certainly doesn’t mean I know all of God. But because I don’t know all of God doesn’t mean I don’t know some of God. I know my wife, Kay. We have been married for 28 years. Yet there are parts of Kay that are unpredictable, mysterious. That is a good thing! Yet to say because I do not know Kay totally I do not know here at all is silly. In fact, this whole Christmas deal we just experienced is a celebration that God accommodated God’s self into human form so we might know Him.

Geneva Catechism (of Calvin): Q.1- What is the chief end of human life?
A.- To know God by whom men were created.

So 2009 is a year I hope I can grow in my knowledge of God and my knowledge of who I am as a human being. I really cannot know who I am if I do not know that God made me in God’s providence, loves me in God’s unconditional care, and calls me in God’s sovereign purpose. I think Calvin is a good spiritual director for this knowing God and knowing human beings better.

Free Web Site Counter

Free Counter

No comments:

Post a Comment