JOHN CALVIN’S PASSION FOR - GOD GLORIFYING WORSHIP
e are again at that time of the year to remember the great works of God in Church history that is commonly known as the Protestant Reformation. This is especially displayed for all to see in Jehovah rising up men in whom He has placed within their hearts, a passion for His glory in upholding eternal Truth. The Protestant Reformation, also known as the Protestant Revolt, was the European Christianreform movement that established Protestantism as a constituent branch of contemporary Christianity. It was led by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants.
In order to call ourselves Reformed or Calvinist in this age of great apostasy, we must know what these men embraced and how they lived out what they believed as the truth over against the lie. Today as in the past, many call themselves Calvinist but know little if anything of the Biblical truths these great men embraced, lived and died for.
This Truth consisted of “The Watch Words” that echoed throughout Europe and then to America.
Sola gratia- salvation is comprehended in God's act of free grace to His elect in the merits of Jesus Christ
Solus Christus- Christ alone is to receive all glory and honor in our salvation and worship.
V- Soli Deo Gloria- Christians are to be motivated by God's glory and not their own recognition among men.
Following men directly at the heat of battle- we find God rising up a man commonly known as John Calvin:
Jean Cauvin; 10 July 1509 – 27 May 1564) was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530. After religious tensions provoked a violent uprising against Protestants in France, Calvin fled to Basel, Switzerland, where he published the first edition of his seminal work Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1536.
Calvin began his Institutes of the Christian Religion with the following statement in Chapter I:
early all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But, while joined by many bonds, which one precedes and brings forth, the other is not easy to discern. In the first place, no one can look upon himself without immediately turning his thoughts to the contemplation of God, in whom he “lives and moves”. For, quite clearly, the mighty gifts with which we are endowed are hardly from ourselves; indeed, our very being is nothing but subsistence in the one God. Then, by these benefits shed like dew from heaven upon us, we are led as by rivulets to the spring itself. Indeed, our very poverty better discloses the infinitude of benefits reposing in God.
In contrast to the above quote, people think of Calvin as a “joyless killjoy, ruining people’s lives in Geneva”. This negative view of Calvin had haunted this father of the faith since the 16th century. But, the great danger the church faces today is the practice of viewing the Bible as separate from our theology. We see signs that proclaim “ONE BOOK- ONE BODY” in direct contradiction to Eternal Truth. Calvin believed that there was no theology that did not come out of the Bible, but that out of the Bible came eternal Truth. It is deplorable when people dismiss the theology of the Reformation as being not adequately Biblical. In glaring contrast, most people today do not know one tenth as much about the Bible as John Calvin or Martin Luther did.
Calvin’s view of church life is meeting with God. As a result, worship must be structured according to God's word. Although the phrase "Regulative Principle" does not appear in Calvin's writings, the idea is pervasive. Calvin stated:
"I know how difficult it is to persuade the world that God disapproves of all modes of worship not expressly sanctioned by His Word. The opposite persuasion which cleaves to them, being seated, as it were, in their very bones and marrow is that whatever they do has in itself a sufficient sanction, provided it exhibits some kind of zeal for the honor of God." In our modern church age, most people think that if what they do in worship is sincere, God will be pleased. This is not true. It doesn't matter how sincere you are. If you're wrong, you're still wrong.
Again, according to Calvin:
"But since God not only regards as fruitless, but also plainly abominates, whatever we undertake from zeal to His worship, if at variance with His command, what do we gain by a contrary course? The words of God are clear and distinct, 'Obedience is better than sacrifice.' 'In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men,' (1 Sam. xv. 22; Matthew. xv 9). Every addition to His word, especially in this matter, is a lie. Mere "will worship" is vanity. This is the decision, and when once the judge has decided, it is no longer time to debate."
As we gather each Sabbath, may we always be mindful for what purpose Jehovah has called us together as His covenant people. We can find rock solid Authority in the Word’s of our Lord Jesus in: Matthew 4:22ff Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
May all those who confess Christ as our Lord and Savior always bear witness to an unbelieving world and a mocking apostate church, that we are content to follow our Reformed forefather’s passion, to worship God in the directives He has set forth in His Holy Word.