The Comfort of Faith in God’s Power

Faith is comforted twice over in relation to God’s power. First, because it knows that he has ample ability to do good. Thus, in order to further the salvation of believers he puts forth his hand to rule and govern all things; heaven and earth are his possession and domain, and every creature depends on his goodwill. Faith is comforted in the second place because it finds ample assurance in his protection, since whatever might do harm is subject to his will, and the devil and his devices are restrained as by a curb. Everything, in short, which might impede our salvation is subject to his control.

– John Calvin

The Perfection of the Christian Life

The newness of our life therefore is this, that we walk in purity before God, eschew all corruption and uncleanness, and separate ourselves from all the defilements of the world, in order that we may offer ourselves in sacrifice to God; at the same time we must walk in integrity and uprightness with our neighbours. The performance of these two things is all that is requisite to the perfection of the Christian life.

– John Calvin, Sermons on Ephesians, p. 437

Happy New Year!

I hope to blog more often this year. God willing, I hope to reread Calvin’s Institutes, this time in the Beveridge translation. Also, I plan to read the ESV Study Bible (I gave away my hard bound copy to my pastor and bought a leather bound copy instead) including the notes – hopefully!

Here are some ESV Bible reading plans. And here’s a reading plan for Calvin’s Institutes.

Calvin’s Birthday in Bacolod!

Today a group of Reformed theology-minded Christians gathered together at West Negros University, Bacolod City to celebrate John Calvin’s 500th birthday. Atty. Jerry Basiao talked on John Calvin and the Sovereignty of God; Atty. Juan Rubrico talked on Why Calvin Matters; and I talked on Calvin and Preaching. My talk was based on the 1st seven distinctives of Calvin’s preaching as found in Steve Lawson’s book, The Expository Genius of John Calvin, as follows:

1. Biblical Authority

2. Divine Presence

3. Pulpit Priority

4. Sequential Exposition

5. Diligent Mind

6. Devoted Heart

7. Relentless Will

We had a great time! It is only right to give honor to whom honor is due. We honor John Calvin because he honored God with his life and by his preaching. Benjamin Warfield said of Calvin,”No man ever had a profounder sense of God than he.” Calvin himself said,

The thing (O God) at which I chiefly aimed, and for which I most diligently labored, was that the glory of thy goodness and justice… might shine forth conspicuous, that the virtue and blessings of thy Christ…might be fully displayed.

(Source: John Piper’s Legacy of Sovereign Joy)

The Theologian

From R.C. Sproul’s Right Now Counts Forever:

Calvin in debate could draw on his encyclopedic knowledge of biblical passages, as well as the ability to quote at length from ancient thinkers such as Augustine and Cicero. But above all things, Calvin sought to be true to the Word of God. He was the biblical theologian par excellence who was at the same time a singularly gifted systematic theologian.

We owe a great debt to this man. He is God’s gift to the church, not only for the sixteenth century but for all time. We therefore join the multitudes who are celebrating the 500th birthday of John Calvin in the year 2009.

Read the whole thing: The Theologian | Ligonier Ministries

Why Calvin Still Matters

W. Robert Godfrey – Calvin: Why He Still Matters.

Calvin still matters because the church still needs truth communicated effectively so that we might be sure that we know the truth, that we have been set free by the truth, and that we will live forever in Jesus who is the truth. John Calvin still matters because while he has many spiritual children, he remains in my judgment one of the greatest teachers the church has ever known in his balance, as well as in his insight and his passion. Time spent with John Calvin is time still well spent, and still a blessing for the church today.

Calvin Study Group in Bacolod

Last night I attended a study group started by some friends who are members of a local Christian Reformed Church (Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church). Atty. Jerry Basiao was the study group leader. They were studying John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. I thought to myself, “Isn’t this something? Who would have thought that in such a small country as the Philippines, and in a relatively small city like Bacolod City, there would be a study group on John Calvin’s Institutes!” Someone stepped to the front and began reading a portion of ch. 1 of the Institutes on the knowledge of God and the knowledge of self. Then Atty. Basiao took over, explained a bit, and began addressing questions to the other members. Then came the fun part: We began sharing inputs, asking questions, offering our interpretations of what Calvin probably meant – it was fun! There were serious moments too, as when Elder Godfrey Serfino (an elder of Ebenezer) asked the group, How do we apply the things we’ve learned to the life of the church? (We were a mixed group actually: some Reformed, some Baptist; we even had a walk-in visitor from Pontevedra whose denominational affiliation we knew nothing about). The session lasted around 2 hours, after which we closed in prayer. Atty. Basiao encouraged each one of us to get our own copy of the Institutes. A couple of members began inspecting the books of John Calvin which the group reader (Bryan I think his name was) brought with him.  We all had an enjoyable time. What a way to spend Phlippine Independence Day!