A Written Guide and Teacher

In today’s reading of the Institutes, Calvin concludes Chapter 5, “The Knowledge of God Displayed in the Fabric and Constant Government of the Universe,” and begins Chapter 6, “The Need of Scripture, As A Guide And Teacher, In Coming To God As Creator.”

Calvin states that although the LORD has revealed Himself in the “seed of religion” given to every man, man has not comprehended the knowledge of God because of the darkness of their ignorance, to which they have added presumption and wantonness. Thus, they have devised some “peculiar form of deity, to meet their own views” as a substitute for the True Deity. In so doing, “we pass by the true God” and draw away the praise of justice, wisdom and goodness that is due to God and give it to another or ourselves. Several examples of this superstition and error are cited by the author. To these we could add many examples of contemporary cults and false religions. All cults are justifiably condemned.

God also manifests Himself through Creation which exhibits “so many bright lamps lighted up to show forth the glory of its Author”, but they are “insufficient of themselves to lead us into the right path.”

As wonderful as the “seeds of religion” and creation are in manifesting a knowledge of the LORD, there needed to be, and there is, a greater help to knowing Him. That greater help is the Scripture.

Scripture is a …

gift of singular value, when, for the instruction of the Church, he employs not dumb teachers merely, but opens his own sacred mouth; when he not only proclaims that some God must be worshipped, but at the same time declares that He is the God to whom worship is due; when he not only teaches his elect to have respect to God, but manifests himself as God to whom this respect should be paid.”

In the course of Chapter 6, Calvin intends to show that Scripture contains “sure marks which distinguish God, as the Creator of the world, from the whole herd of fictitious gods.” From this he will proceed to “consider the work of Redemption”. He will also “show that God, the Maker of the world, is manifested to us in Scripture, and his true character expounded, so as to save us from wandering up and down, as in a labyrinth, in search of some doubtful deity.” (1.6.1)

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I am thankful that both the Written Word and the Living Word show us the “narrow way” to God, Jesus Christ, and that I don’t have to wander, wonder and guess about how to have a personal, saving relationship with God.

LORD, as I read through Your Word and the Institutes this week,  “Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Thy law” (Psalm 119:18), and ” … revive me in Thy ways. Establish Thy word to Thy servant, As that which produces reverence for Thee” (Psalms 119:37b, 38).

 

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