Saturday, January 24, 2009

I0124-Institutes Proper View of Holy Scripture

Jim provides us with the following observations:

When reading the institutes I am amazed at how Calvin speaks to his contemporaries. Especially to those who falsely imagine that there is some other way than the scriptures of reaching God. These same fellows are thriving well in our day and they have a very large following. Calvin in speaking about them says, "not so much gripped by error but carried away by frenzy". They seem to be frantically looking for some new thing that will draw unbelievers to their throne room. "Jump, roll, holler, laugh, we will do whatever we have to do to get your attention". Anything but the reading and teaching of the Word.

He goes on to say, "exalting the office of the Spirit". Like some today would say, "why do we need the word, we have the Spirit that guides us, we are looking for something NEW, something that will give us excitement here and now". As if to say that Word and doctrine are insignificant or must be put in subjection to their new ideas. In similar fashion other religions subject the word of God to the authority of their religion. They never go to the word seeking the truth but instead come to the word with a set of their own ideas and end up taking out of the word only those things which support their own thinking. "The blind leading the blind"! Thanks be to God for having revealed Himself to us in the Word.

Paul tells us that the scripture are "foolishness to those who are perishing,but to us who are being saved it is the power of God". Therefore Calvin says, " But those who wish to prove to unbelievers that the scripture is the Word of God are acting foolishly, for only by faith can this be known". So then, Word and Sacrament are foolish to all but God's elect who find life and peace in them. Praise be to God.

I Would like to add to Jim's words above, what I read in J.C. Ryle's Expository Thoughts on Matthew 1.1-17 this afternon:

Let us thank God daily for giving us the Scriptures. The poorest Englishman who understands his Bible, knows more about religion than the wisest philosophers of Greece and Bome.

Let us remember our deep responsibility. We shall all be judged at the last day according to our light. To whomsoever much is given, of them much will be required.

Let us read our Bibles reverently and diligently, with an honest determination to believe and practise all we find in them. It is no light matter how we use this book. Eternal life or death depends on the spirit in which it is used.

Above all let us humbly pray for the teaching of the Holy Spirit. He alone can apply truth to our hearts, and make us profit by what we read.

The New Testament begins with the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. No part of the Bible is so important as this, and no part is so full and complete. Four distinct Gospels tell us the story of Christ's doing and dying. Four times over we read the precious account of His works and words. How thankful we ought to be for this ! To know Christ is life eternal. To believe in Christ is to have peace with God. To follow Christ is to be a true Christian. To be with

Christ will be heaven itself. We can never hear too much about Jesus Christ.

The Gospel of St. Matthew begins with a long list of names. Sixteen verses are taken up with tracing a pedigree from Abraham to David, and from David to the family in which Jesus was born. Let no one think that these verses are useless. Nothing is useless in creation. The least mosses, and the smallest insects, serve some good end. Nothing is useless in the Bible. Every word of it is inspired. The chapters and verses which seem at first sight unprofitable, are all given for some good purpose Look again at these sixteen verses, and you will see in them useful and instructive lessons.

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