Home Reformation Today Faith on Fire
Faith on Fire PDF Print E-mail

We have been created to know the majesty of our Creator, and that we might come to love, honour, worship and serve Him with all reverence, awe and love. The main concern of our life should be to seek God, to serve Him and to glorify Him.

Insipid Self-Centeredness

Reformer John Calvin, taught that glorifying God supercedes personal salvation for every truly pious person. It is not very sound theology to confine a mans thoughts so much to himself, and not to set before him, as the primary motive for his existence, zeal to illustrate the glory of God I am persuaded that there is no man imbued with true piety who will not consider as insipid that long and laboured exhortation to zeal for heavenly life, a zeal which keeps a man entirely devoted to himself and does not, even by one expression, arouse him to sanctify the Name of God.

Much of what passes for Christianity today is actually quite self-centred, self-seeking and self-absorbed. This kind of bless me superficial, selfish, sensational, materialistic, obsession with our own salvation, needs and greeds, is far from true Biblical Christianity.

False Religion

The Reformers taught that false religion can be recognised by its lack of the fear of God. Those who disregard the judgment of God do so because their estimate of God is governed by the foolish and thoughtless conceit of their own mind, and not by His Infinite Majesty. They actually turn away from the true God It is not the Eternal God they are worshipping, but rather the dreams and illusions of their own hearts True Godliness consists, rather, of a pure and true zeal which loves God as a real Father and looks up to Him as a real Lord; embraces His Righteousness and detests offending Him more than it does dying. John Calvin

In his Institutesof the Christian Religion, Calvin wrote that true Christianity Establishes in us a true and solid piety, that is, faith mixed with fear but man, trusting in the enormous excellence of his nature, and forgetting where it had come from, and by whom it continued to exist, endeavoured to exalt himself apart from the Lord. He therefore had to be stripped of all Gods gifts, on which he foolishly prided himself, so that, divested and deprived of all glory, he might know this God, Who had so enriched him The flesh is impure, irreverent and abominable to God. For mans wisdom, blinded and steeped in numberless errors, sets itself against Gods wisdom. The will, wicked and full of corrupt affections, hates Gods justice more than anything; and human strength, incapable of any good deed whatever, is furiously inclined towards iniquity. Scripture often asserts that man is the slave of sin his mind is so far removed from Gods righteousness that he thinks of, deeply desires and undertakes nothing that is not evil, perverse, iniquitous and sullied he sins with full agreement of his own will, and he does it eagerly and in line with his own inclinations. The corruption of his heart is devoted to every kind of evilsin means both that perversity of human nature, which is the source of every vice and the evil desires which are born from it, and also the unjust and shameful acts which spring from these desires: murders, thefts, adulteries and other things of this sort.

True Christianity

Calvin taught that God calls us back from error to the right road, from death to life, from ruin to Salvation, from the rule of the devil to His own realm. To all those whom He pleases to re-establish as heirs to eternal life the Lord has ordained, as a first step, that they should be distressed in their conscience, bent beneath the weight of their sins, and moved to live in His fear. To begin with, therefore, He sets out His Law, which is what brings us to this state.

For Calvin, theological understanding and practical piety, truth and usefulness are inseparable. Theology first of all deals with knowledge knowledge of God and of ourselves but there is no true knowledge where there is no true piety.

The Knowledge of God

Piety is rooted in the knowledge of God. It includes our attitudes and actions. Attitudes which lead to adoration of God. And actions which lead to the service of God. This is no dry, academic, head knowledge. The Reformers taught a dynamic experiential faith, a mystical union with Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. A relationship of joyful fellowship with God. The Reformers emphasised a vibrant faith where head and heart work together, but where the heart is more important.

Attitude and Action

Zeal for religion must shape us to true Godliness.

Calvin taught that piety designates the right attitude of man towards God. Our attitude towards to God must including true knowledge of God, heartfelt worship, saving faith, the reverential fear of God, prayerful submission to Gods Will and devoted love for Him.

Knowing who God is (theology) must lead to the right attitudes of worship, love and fear towards God and doing what He wants, putting our faith into action, applying His Lordship to all areas of life.

Calvin taught that: The whole life of a Christian ought to be a practice of godliness.

Soli Deo Gloria

The entire goal of our lives must be to glorify God. We are Gods: let us therefore live for Him and die for Him. We are Gods: let His wisdom and will therefore rule all our actions. We are Gods: let all parts of our life accordingly strive towards Him as our only lawful goal.
We are called to take refuge in Christ for forgiveness of our sins, knowing Him through His Word, serving Him with a loving heart, doing good works in gratitude for His goodness and exercising self-denial to the point of loving our enemies. This requires total surrender to God Himself, His Word and His Will.

As John Calvins motto declares: My heart, promptly and sincerely in the service of my King.

Only in Christ can the Christian truly live as a willing servant of our Lord, a faithful soldier of our Commander and an obedient child of our Father. (Puritan Reformed Spirituality by Joel Beeke).

 

Related Articles

Copyright © 2017 Reformation Society. All Rights Reserved.