I just got a copy of the Banner Of Truth edition of, “Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.” This edition is the last one he wrote. He wrote it in French and it has been translated into English. I have another edition from Hendrickson that was earlier and translated from Latin into English by Henry Beveridge. I have to say, the Banner of Truth edition that was translated by Robert White is much more accessible. I’m enjoying it. It is much easier to follow and read. It is almost like reading a modern work. I highly recommend it if you have ever wanted to read Calvin, but found the Latin to English translations difficult. I’ve been told by a very educated man that Latin is a comparatively small language. I can see how the difference between the source material being written in French provides for the English translation being as easy to read as it is. If you don’t have this edition, go Get it.
We tend to be stuck in man centered thinking when it comes to human suffering, and death. We call it evil. It feels wrong to us because we are the ones it is happening to. The problem is that we are falling for a trick and a lie. The devil would have you judge God, when suffering, and death, are a judgment from God against us. You see, there was this thing that happened long ago in a garden. Adam and his wife Eve, decided to sin against God. They believed a lie too. When they ate of the one tree they were specifically warned, commanded not to eat of, they became the subjects of God’s righteous, just, and holy judgment. He placed them under a curse and punished them. All of their descendants would be born with sinful natures. All of their descendants would be sinners. The original sin was punished with more sin. Because of our sin, we deserve death and Hell. We deserve every bit of it.
So why is it that when something bad happens to us we automatically think it is unwarranted, unjust, and evil? We presuppose that God only does things to us, and for us that are pleasing to us. Our hubris knows no bounds. We are so man-centered (anthropocentric) that we can’t see we’ve inverted the positions. We’ve put ourselves in the seat of the Judge. We’ve put God in the defendants box. How on Earth did we get to this point? The primary answer is sin. I think in our fallen state we remain in ignorance of God’s word. In it, He tells us who He is, and who we are in relation to Him. He is our glorious Creator, Savior, and Master. He sustains us by the power of His word. He made a way for us to be reconciled to Him, by Him. We are His finite, sinful creatures who He made from dirt, in His image. We were made for His glory, for His pleasure.
I’d like to remind you brothers of the exclusivity of Christ, lest any of our number compromise to spare the emotions of a loved one, or to be accepted by men. We bring a good message, that is only good to those who are being saved. To the unrepentant, hard hearted man, who is not counted among the elect, the good news is offensive. Not only will he refuse to admit he is a sinner, he will insist he is good. He most certainly will not admit that there is only one way to God. If the reprobate confess to believe in a god, they will require it of you to approve, and celebrate many ways to the god they’ve imagined. If you don’t, you will be called all sorts of hateful names. You will be called, intolerant, bigoted, hateful, and you shall count it as joy. You will be told to stop, or lose your job. You will be told to stop, or lose your property. You will be told to stop, or lose your family. Ultimately, you will be told to stop, or lose your life. What are our lives for I ask you, if not to glorify God in the propagation of His gospel message? If we falter, and we will, we must repent, and begin again the work that He has for us. Remember Peter! He denied our Lord, his Lord, and Christ Jesus did not discard him, but used him greatly. Peter, ultimately was martyred. He was to be crucified. He asked to be crucified upside down, as he was not worthy of the cross of Christ, a cross that says of the man who hangs on it, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE ” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Do we take our King to mean something other than what He has said? Do we reduce the sovereign Kings oration as simply the ramblings of a crazed man? Certainly not! I exhort you brothers, be bold for the exclusivity of Christ Jesus, our Prophet, Priest, and King!