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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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    "I've Been Reading...": Quotable Quotes from Excellent Books, Issue 7- C. R. Biggs

    Calvin on To Whom we Belong and the Necessity of Prayer

    May you be greatly encouraged by some selections on God's love for us and the necessity of prayer today from Calvin's Institutes. We are a privileged people who have so great a Savior and Lord. As Mary says in Luke 1:46ff in what has come to be known as the "Magnificat": "My soul rejoices ("magnifies" or "in enlarged") in the LORD..." Mary's soul is enlarged, she is full of the knowledge and love of God, as she reflects on what God has done for her and for all believers in the Person and Work of Christ.

    Let us also be reminded that to reflect upon our Great God is to have our own souls "enlarged" and to rejoice, praying unceasingly as we live as His people! To that end, may the quotations to day be a blessing to you.

    Calvin writes:
    "We are not our own: let not our reason nor our will, therefore, sway our plans and deeds. We are not our own: let us therefore not set it as our goal to seek what is expedient for us according to the flesh. We are not our own: in so far as we can, let us therefore forget ourselves and all that is ours. Conversely, we are God's: let us therefore live for him and die for him. We are God's: let his wisdom and will therefore rule all our actions. We are God's: let all the parts of our life accordingly strive toward him as our only lawful goal [Rom. 14:8; cf. 1 Cor. 6:19]....


    Let this therefore be the first step, that a man depart from himself in order that he may apply the whole force of his ability in the service of the Lord. I call 'service' not only what lies in obedience to God's Word but what turns the mind of man, empty of its own carnal sense, wholly to the bidding of God's Spirit." - John Calvin, 'Institutes', III.vii.1



    Calvin on the Necessity of Prayer

    "...We clearly see how destitute and devoid of all good things man is, and how he lacks all aids to salvation. Therefore, if he seeks resources to succor him in his need, he must go outside himself and get them elsewhere....But after we have been instructed by faith to recognize that whatever we need and whatever we lack is in God, and in our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom the Father willed all the fullness of his bounty to abide [cf. Col. 1:19; John 1:16] so that we may all draw from it as from an overflowing spring, it remains for us to seek in him, and in prayers to ask of him, what we have learned to be in him." Calvin, 'Institutes of the Christian Religion', III.xx.1


    "It is therefore, by the benefit of prayer that we reach those riches which are laid up for us with the Heavenly Father. For there is a communion of men with God by which, having entered the heavenly sanctuary, they appeal to him in person concerning his promises in order to experience, where necessity so demands, that what they believed was not vain, although he had promised it in word alone. Therefore we see that to us nothing is promised to be expected from the Lord, which we are not also bidden to ask of him in prayers. So true is it that we dig up by prayer the treasures that were pointed out by the Lord's gospel, and which our faith has gazed upon.

    Words fail to explain how necessary prayer is, and in how many ways the exercise of prayer is profitable. Surely, with good reason the Heavenly Father affirms that the only stronghold of safety is in calling upon his name [cf. Joel 2:32]. By so doing we invoke the presence of his providence, through which he watches over and guards our affairs, and of his power, through which he sustains us, weak as we are and well-nigh overcome, and of his goodness, through which he receives us, miserably burdened with sins, unto grace; and, in short, it is by prayer that we call him to reveal himself as wholly present to us." -Calvin, 'Institutes of the Christian Religion', III.xx.2


    "Since no man is worthy to present himself to God and come into his sight, the Heavenly Father himself, to free us at once from shame and fear, which might well have thrown our hearts into despair, has given us his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, to be our advocate [1 John 2:1] and mediator with him [1 Tim. 2:5; cf. Heb. 8:6; 9:15], by whose guidance we may confidently come to him, and with such and intercessor, trusting nothing we ask in his name will be denied us...

    Now, since he is the only way, and the one access, by which it is granted us to come to God [cf. John 14:6], to those who turn aside from this way and forsake this access, no way and no access to God remain; nothing is left in his throne but wrath, judgment and terror." - John Calvin, 'Institutes', III.xx.17, 19.

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    Posted by Charles Biggs on June 27, 2007 08:19 AM

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