Daily Reformation, John 2:13-22
From the Reformer
We now understand for what purpose the Prophet says that God had a controversy with Judah; for it was not his design to terrify the Jews themselves, or to exhort them to repentance, except it may be by the way; but his object was to present an example to the Israelites, that they might fear; for they ought to have thought within themselves, “If this shall be done in the green, what shall become of the dry tree? (Lk 23:31) If God will exercise with so much severity his vengeance against our brethren the Jews, among whom pure religion as yet exists, what sort of end and how dreadful is that which awaits us, who have departed from the law, the worship, the teaching, and the obedience of God, who are become truce-breakers, and degenerate, and in every way profane?”
Hence he immediately adds, And will punish Jacob. “God will indeed begin with the tribe of Judah; this will be the prelude, and he will treat the Jews more mildly than you; but against you he will thunder in full force. It will not then be a remonstrance to draw you to repentance, but a punishment such as ye deserve; for he has already contended with you more than enough.”
—John Calvin, Commentary on Hosea (12:2)
Pulling It Together
Pure religion is that which draws one closer and deeper with God. Simply put, sin was that which separated us from that relationship, so it with is sin that God dealt the mortal blow. Sin no longer reigns in the Christian temple but, sadly, it still is practiced. Lie? The stinging whip of Christ will touch you. Covet? The torch will be placed at your feet. Cheat? Your life will be overthrown. These adulteries separate you from the intimacy with God that he seeks. All else is false religion. Confess it; leave it behind; get right with God now, for he will drive the sin from you one way or the other—so as to draw you closer and deeper to him.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers