f The Wittenberg Door: John Calvin on Holiness

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

John Calvin on Holiness

Sanctification is a slow, painful process that lasts until Glory. Indeed, we’ll only make small strides in this life. But strive we must. The holiness of our Lord must always be before our eyes. (How easy it is to lose sight of this, Lord help us!) John Calvin spilled much ink on this topic and his insights are valuable. Ligonier summarizes some of Calvin’s thoughts over at their blog. Here’s how it begins:

Holiness consists in conformity to Christ. Calvin writes, “Because the Father has reconciled us to Himself in Christ, therefore He commands us to be conformed to Christ as to our pattern.” Indeed, he continues, “Unless we ardently and prayerfully devote ourselves to Christ’s righteousness we do not only faithlessly revolt from our Creator, but we also abjure Him as our Savior.”

This is strong language. The word ardently conveys the idea of eager zealousness, or as we might say today, “going all out” or “giving 100 percent.” The word abjure means “to renounce strongly,” as in Peter’s third denial of the Lord when “he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, ‘I do not know the man’” (Matt. 26:74).

Calvin leaves no room for a middle ground. Either we ardently pursue the example of Christ or else we strongly renounce Him by our conduct and lifestyle. How different this standard is from the attitude of so many of today’s Christians, who are quite casual or halfhearted in their pursuit of Christlikeness. But from Calvin’s matter-of-fact writing style, it is clear that he regards a zealous pursuit of holiness as the normal Christian life.

You can read the entire post here.

--The Catechizer

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