Sunday, March 15, 2009

March 15- The Importance of Scripture

Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

3/15- The Lord’s Day- Calvin on the Importance of Scripture

“All scripture is inspired of God and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that all God’s people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:16,17)"Uphold them by the truth, Thy Word is truth." (John 17:17)

Calvin: “For by his word, God rendered faith unambiguous forever, a faith that should be superior to all opinion . The whole power of earth has armed itself to destroy it [the Scripture], yet all these efforts have gone up in smoke. How could it, assailed so strongly from every side, have resisted if it had relied upon human protection alone? Rather, by this very fact, it is proved to be from God, because, with all human efforts striving against it, still it has of its own power thus far prevailed. Besides this, it is not one state, not one people, that has agreed to receive and embrace it; but as far and as wide as the earth extends, it has obtained its authority by the holy concord of divers peoples, who otherwise had nothing in common among themselves. Such agreement of minds, so disparate and otherwise disagreeing in everything among themselves. Such agreement of minds, so disparate and otherwise disagreeing in everything among themselves, ought to move us greatly, since it is clear that this agreement is brought about by nothing else than the divine will. Yet no little weight is added thereto when we observe the godliness of those who so agree, not of all, indeed, but of those whom the Lord has made to shine as lamps in his church

Calvin describes the scriptures as spectacles that help us to see God when our eyes are dim to Him (I.6.1). He declares that they are the work of human hands but they were received from God’s own mouth. For Calvin the diversity of the human writers disappears under the unity of the Holy Spirit. Calvin says that when we read scripture “It is God who speaks to us and not mere men” (Commentary on II Peter 1:20). Calvin admits that God reveals Himself in nature to the elect, and in scripture to the elect. The non-elect do not understand God’s work in nature because their eyes are blinded. The non-elect can see the same thing as the elect in scripture, but the Spirit has not made them alive and opened their eyes to see yet. Scriptures are our guide, our inspiration, our spectacles into God’s presence and heart. The right preaching of the scriptures, and the right administration of the Lord’s supper and baptism are the signs of the true church.
While we have more access to scripture than ever before (ipod, cd, libraries, bookstores); and the Bible is still the best-selling book in America; and we also have more "proofs" of the reality of scripture than ever before by archaeologists, and there are Bible studies galore, if we do not believe what it says and apply it to our lives, then we are basically "deaf" to the scriptures. Today, there is a growing movement to pick and choose what to believe in scripture without any rhyme or reason. Calvin believed that the Holy Spirit used our discernment to interpret scriptures, but today there is just downright unbelief of the basic teachings among those who call themselves believers. Such unbelief- a cafeteria approach that picks and chooses- puts us in the place of God. It says we will create our own religion using some scriptural principles. There is a sense, and Calvin (and Jesus) deeply held it, in which faith in God is also faith in what God says (Word) in scripture.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your holy Word that teaches us, guides us, strengthens us, consoles us, corrects us, and equips us to honor you. Help us to make them more a part of our lives. Amen.

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