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Archive for the ‘Calvin, John’ Category

The pastor ought to have two voices: one, for gathering the sheep; and another, for warding off and driving away wolves and thieves. The Scripture supplies him with the means of doing both; for he who is deeply skilled in it will be able both to govern those who are teachable, and to refute the enemies of the truth.

Source: John Calvin on Titus 1:9 “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. ”

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We are told that when the band of men and officers approached his Master, in order to take Him prisoner, Judas "stood with them." Yet this was a man who for three years had been a constant companion of Christ, had seen His miracles, had heard His sermons, had enjoyed the benefit of His private instruction, had professed himself a believer, had even worked and preached in Christ’s name! "Lord," we may well say, "what is man?" From the highest degree of privilege down to the lowest depth of sin, there is but a succession of steps. Privileges misused seem to paralyze the conscience. The same fire that melts wax, will harden clay.

Let us beware of resting our hopes of salvation on religious knowledge, however great; or religious advantages, however many. We may know all doctrinal truth and be able to teach others, and yet prove rotten at heart, and go down to the pit with Judas. We may bask in the full sunshine of spiritual privileges, and hear the best of Christian teaching, and yet bear no fruit to God’s glory, and be found withered branches of the vine, only fit to be burned. "Let him that thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall." (1 Cor. 10:12.) Above all, let us beware of cherishing within our hearts any secret besetting sin, such as love of money or love of the world. One faulty link in a chain-cable may cause a shipwreck. One little leak may sink a ship. One allowed and unmortified sin may ruin a professing Christian. Let him that is tempted to be a careless man in his religious life, consider these things, and take care. Let him remember Judas Iscariot. His history is meant to be a lesson.

Source: J.C. Ryle, John 18

Calvin remarks on the course of a backslider, "At first the fault will not be very great; next, it becomes habitual; and at last, after the conscience has been laid asleep, he who has accustomed himself to despise God will think nothing unlawful, but will dare to commit the greatest wickedness."

Henry remarks, "The sin of lying is a fruitful sin, and therefore exceeding sinful. One sin needs another to support it, and that needs another."

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In regard to Jesus’ command to the soldiers that they allow his disciples to leave  Gethsemane so that their faith would not be tested beyond their current ability to endure and so none of them be lost, J.C. Ryle writes:

We need not hesitate to see in this incident an instructive type of all our Savior’s dealings with His people even at this day. He will not allow them "to be tempted above that which they are able to bear." He will hold the winds and storms in His hands, and not allow believers, however sifted and buffeted, to be utterly destroyed. He watches tenderly over every one of His children, and, like a wise physician, measures out the right quantity of their trials with unerring skill. "They shall never perish, neither shall any one pluck them out of His hand." (John 10:28.) Forever let us lean our souls on this precious truth. In the darkest hour the eye of the Lord Jesus is upon us, and our final safety is sure.

Source: J.C. Ryle, John 18

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… we have formerly seen that the good shepherd calleth to him by name every sheep of his flock, (John 10:3)

That voice of the shepherd, therefore, enters into Mary’s heart, opens her eyes, arouses all her senses, and affects her in such a manner, that she immediately surrenders herself to Christ.

Thus in Mary we have a lively image of our calling; for the only way in which we are admitted to the true knowledge of Christ is, when he first knows us, and then familiarly invites us to himself, not by that ordinary voice which sounds indiscriminately in the ears of all, but by that voice with which he especially calls the sheep which the Father hath given to him.

Source: John Calvin on John 20:14

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… the faith which appeared to be destroyed was, as it were, concealed and buried in his heart. The same thing happens sometimes with many persons; for they grow wanton for a time, as if they had cast off all fear of God, so that there appears to be no longer any faith in them; but as soon as God has chastised them with a rod, the rebellion of their flesh is subdued, and they return to their right senses. It is certain that disease would not, of itself, be sufficient to teach piety; and hence we infer, that, when the obstructions have been removed, the good seed, which had been concealed and crushed, springs up. We have a striking instance of this in David; for, so long as he is permitted to gratify his lust, we see how he indulges without restraint. Every person would have thought that, at that time, faith had been altogether banished from his mind; and yet, by a short exhortation of the Prophet, he is so suddenly recalled to life, that it may easily be inferred, that some spark, though it had been choked, still remained in his mind, and speedily burst into a flame. So far as relates to the men themselves, they are as guilty as if they had renounced faith and all the grace of the Holy Spirit; but the infinite goodness of God prevents the elect from falling so low as to be entirely alienated from God. We ought, therefore, to be most zealously on our guard not to fall from faith; and yet we ought to believe that God restrains his elect by secret bridle, that they may not fall to their destruction, and that He always cherishes miraculously in their hearts some sparks of faith, which he afterwards, at the proper time, kindles anew by the breath of his Spirit.

Source: John Calvin on John 20:26

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The will of man without the grace of God "is not free at all, but is the permanent prisoner and bondslave of evil since it cannot turn itself to good."

Source: Martin Luther

"We are all sinners by nature ,therefore we are held under the yoke of sin . But if the whole man is subject to the dominion of sin , surely the will , which is it’s principal seat , must be bound with the closest of chains."

Source: John Calvin

"Before the fall, man had been created with a free will, so that, had he been willing, he might have kept the law; his nature was pure; the disease of sin had not yet reached him … But having desired to be as God, he died – and not he alone, but all his posterity. Since then in Adam all men are dead, no one can recall them to life, until the Spirit, which is God himself, raises them from the dead."

Source: Ulrich Zwingli

"Free will I have often heard of, but I have never seen it. I have always met with will, and plenty of it, but it has either been led captive by sin or held in the blessed bonds of grace."

Source: C. H. Spurgeon

"There has been no such thing as freedom since Adam fell. Adam was free. Not a single child of Adam has ever been free… Man’s will has been bound ever since the fall of Adam. By nature man is not free to choose God … Do not talk to me about free will; there is no such thing. There is no such thing as free will in fallen man. The Bible teaches that."

Source: Martyn Lloyd-Jones Romans – Assurance

"The choices a fallen man makes are voluntary and self-determined, not coerced, but are in bondage and taken captive by sin, so they make evil choices of necessity, so they are not free. Free from coercion yes, but not free from necessity, due to a corruption of nature. Calvin said, "We do not say that fallen man is forced unwillingly into sinning, but rather that because his will is corrupt he is held captive under the yoke of sin (Rom 7:6; 2 Tim 2:26) and therefore sins of necessity."

"We do not make choices contrary to our desires or natures, nor separately from God’s meticulous providence."

Source: John Hendryx

"…we allow that man has choice and that it is self-determined, so that if he does anything evil, it should be imputed to him and to his own voluntary choosing. … We deny that choice is free, because through man’s innate wickedness it is of necessity driven to what is evil and cannot seek anything but evil. … we do not say that man is dragged unwillingly into sinning, but that because his will is corrupt he is held captive under the yoke of sin and therefore of necessity will in an evil way. For where there is bondage, there is necessity. But it makes a great difference whether the bondage is voluntary or coerced."

Source: John Calvin from Bondage and Liberation of the Will

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… ignorance of Providence is the greatest of all miseries, and the knowledge of it the highest happiness.

source: John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.

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… our Lord came forth very man, adopted the person of Adam, and assumed his name, that he might in his stead obey the Father; that he might present our flesh as the price of satisfaction to the just judgement of God, and in the same flesh pay the penalty which we had incurred.

Source: Calvin’s Institutes, Book 2 Chapter 12.

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… while [David] pines away with grief, and is deprived of all strength, he is nevertheless supported by so strong a hope that he ceases not to call upon God. David, therefore, was not so overwhelmed in deep sorrow, and other direful sufferings, as that the hidden light of faith could not shine inwardly in his heart; nor did he groan so much under the weighty load of his temptations, as to be prevented from arousing himself to call upon God.

He struggled through many obstacles to be able to make the confession which he here makes. He next defines the manner of his faith, namely, that he reflected with himself thus that God would never fail him nor forsake him. Let us mark his manner of speech: “I have said, Thou art my God”. In these words he intimates that he was so entirely persuaded of this truth, that God was his God, that he would not admit even a suggestion to the contrary. And until this persuasion prevails so as to take possession of our minds, we shall always waver in uncertainty.

Source: Calvin’s Commentaries (Psalm 31:14)

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Psalm 107:6

It is unnecessary to allude here to the sarcastic retort of the ancient buffoon, who, on entering a temple, and beholding a number of tablets which several merchants had suspended there as memorials of their having escaped shipwreck, through the kind interposition of the gods, smartly and facetiously remarked, But the deaths of those who have been drowned are not enumerated, the number of which is innumerable. But even if a hundredfold more were drowned in the sea than safely reach the harbour, this does not in the least degree detract from the glory of the goodness of God, who, while he is merciful, is at the same time also just, so that the dispensing of the one does not interfere with the exercise of the other. The same observation applies to travelers that stray from the path, and wander up and down in the desert. If many of them perish for hunger and thirst, if many are devoured by wild animals, if many die from cold, these are nothing else than so many tokens of the judgments of God, which he designs for our consideration. From which we infer that the same thing would happen to all men, were it not the will of God to save a portion of them; and thus interposing as a judge between them, he preserves some for the sake of showing his mercy, and pours out his judgments upon others to declare his justice.

Psalm 107:10-11

The Spirit of God makes mention here of another species of danger in which God manifestly discovers his power and grace in the protecting and delivering of men. The world, as I said, calls these vicissitudes the sport of fortune; and hardly one among a hundred can be found who ascribes them to the superintending providence of God. It is a very different kind of practical wisdom which God expects at our hands; namely, that we ought to meditate on his judgments in the time of adversity, and on his goodness in delivering us from it. For surely it is not by mere chance that a person falls into the hands of enemies or robbers; neither is it by chance that he is rescued from them. But this is what we must constantly keep in view, that all afflictions are God’s rod, and that therefore there is no remedy for them elsewhere than in his grace. Moreover, until men are persuaded that all their troubles come upon them by the appointment of God, it will never come into their minds to supplicate him for deliverance.

source: Calvin’s Commentaries

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Creation and the workings of providence are the theatre of God’s glory.

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