Saturday, May 30, 2009

5/31- Calvin and coming of the Spirit

(Van Dyck Pentecost 1618)

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

5/31- Pentecost
(John 16:7-15) But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. 12 "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you."

Calvin (Commentary on John 16:7) the Holy Spirit could not be given to them, if he did not leave the world. But far more advantageous and far more desirable is that presence of Christ, by which he communicates himself to us through the grace and power of his Spirit, than if he were present before our eyes. And here we must not put the question, “Could not Christ have drawn down the Holy Spirit while he dwelt on earth?” For Christ takes for granted all that had been decreed by the Father and, indeed, when the Lord has once pointed out what he wishes to be done, to dispute about what is possible would be foolish and pernicious.
He will convince the world; that is, he will not remain shut up in you, but;his power will go forth from you to be displayed to the whole world. Hectherefore promises to them a Spirit, who will be the Judge of the world,
and by whom their preaching will be so powerful and efficacious, that it will bring into subjection those who formerly indulged in unbounded licentiousness, and were restrained by no fear or reverence.

One of the subtle but important influences of Calvin was his concept of the Holy Spirit. Today is Pentecost, and Calvin was called the “theologian of the Holy Spirit.” The medieval church was teaching that the Holy Spirit was only experienced through the church and the things of the church. Calvin taught that the Spirit speaks and acts with our individual lives and hearts. We pray by the Spirit, have the Bible illuminated by the Spirit, are assured by the Spirit and convicted by the Spirit. Another important concept for Calvin was the idea that we are untied with Christ by the Spirit (adopted by the Spirit). Calvin was the Pentecostal of his day, yet more intellectually than emotionally. He would tell us to not be afraid of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Here he limits our questioning of the Holy Spirit, and invites us to limit our questions to the confines of the scripture.

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