Thursday, April 1, 2010

Calvin - Chapter 4

Chapter 4: This knowledge is either smothered and corrupted, partly by ignorance, partly by malice

Last time in chapter 3, we saw how God has implanted a knowledge of himself in mankind. This time we see that it is not a true knowledge.
God has shows a seed if religion in all men. But scarcely one man in a hundred is met with who fosters it ... and none in whom it ripens ... all degenerate from the true knowledge of him. And so it happens that no real piety remains in the world. (ch IV, pt 1, pg 47)

Some of the ways the knowledge of God in the world is false are:

1. Through superstition, or a willing change of your view of God
in seeking God, miserable men do not rise above themselves as they should, but measure him by the yardstick of their own carnal stupidity; and neglect sound investigation; thus out of curiosity they fly off into empty speculations (ch IV, pt 1, pg 47). Cathy liked this one too!
As a result they are worshipping a figment of their imagination.

2. Men consciously turn away from God, often as a result of "insolent and habitual sinning". Don't we know that to be true?!

3. Fashioning God to our own whim, trying to make him fit in with our preferences.
But they do not realize that true religion ought to be conformed to God's will as to a universal rule; that God remains ever like himself. and is not a specter or a phantasm to be transformed according to anyone's whim. (ch IV, pt 3, p 49).
We cannot fashion ourselves a God how we want him to be, rather He is who He is, whether we like it or not.

4. Hypocrisy - although following a semblance of religion or religious piety, one continues to life their life in sin and ignorance of God.
For where they ought to have remained consistently obedient throughout life, they boldly rebel against him in almost all their deeds, and are zealous to placate him with merely a few paltry sacrifices. Where they ought to serve him in sanctity of life and integrity of heart, they trump up frivolous trifles and worthless little observances with which to win his favor. (ch IV, pt 4, p51)

In the end, people who fall into these categories have not been ignorant of God, but have held themselves back from him by stubbornness. Something we can all be guilty of! A stubborn refusal to accept God on his terms, who He is, what He has done, why He has done it and that we need it.

Perhaps this Easter is a good time to reflect again on what God has done in Christ and how much we need it.

For April - Chapters 5 & 6

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