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Posts Tagged ‘reverence’


It has been over a decade since I’ve read The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin.  I’ve been wanting to read it again, and I started today. 

Today I read through Book I, chapters 1-2.  Chapter 2 ends with this idea:

“Here indeed is pure and real religion: faith so joined with an earnest fear of God that this fear also embraces willing reverence and carries with it such legitimate worship as is prescribed in the law.” (I, 2, 2)

Faith is joined in fear.  We believe what God says and we hold Him in such reverence that we worship Him as He deems right.  True faith does not lead us to take God lightly; rather we take Him and His Word seriously.  How does Calvin get there?

True wisdom is comprised of knowledge of God and knowledge of ourselves.  Calvin argues that we cannot know ourselves accurately apart from knowing God.  We learn about God as we learn about ourselves.  He doesn’t go there just yet, but this is based on the fact that we are made in the image of God (imago dei).  You can’t possess true wisdom without knowing God.  You can’t possess true wisdom without knowing yourself.  This is essentially the path of the Proverbs.

“For we always seem to ourselves righteous and upright and wise and holy- this pride is innate in all of us- unless by clear proofs we stand convinced of our own unrighteousness, foulness, folly, and impurity.  Moreover, we are not thus convinced if we look merely to ourselves and not also to the Lord, who is the sole standarnd by which this judgment must be measured.”  (I, 1, 2)

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