The Golden Rule

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Daily Reformation, Luke 6:31-35

From the Reformer

Where our own advantage is concerned, there is not one of us, who cannot explain minutely and ingeniously what ought to be done. And since every man shows himself to be a skillful teacher of justice for his own advantage, how comes it, that the same knowledge does not readily occur to him, when the profit or loss of another is at stake, but because we wish to be wise for ourselves only, and no man cares about his neighbors? What is more, we maliciously and purposely shut our eyes upon the rule of justice, which shines in our hearts. Christ therefore shows, that every man may be a rule of acting properly and justly towards his neighbors, if he do to others what he requires to be done to him. He thus refutes all the vain pretenses, which men contrive for hiding or disguising their injustice. Perfect justice would undoubtedly prevail among us, if we were as faithful in learning active charity, (if we may use the expression,) as we are skillful in teaching passive charity.

—John Calvin, Commentary on Matthew, Mark, Luke

Pulling It Together

In Christ, we see the most holy ambition, the Golden Rule, where one considers others before himself. His thoughts were always for the good of others; this is what led him down the road to Calvary. When one places the good of others before his own, he must then rely upon God for his own blessing because he is so busy pursuing the good of his brothers and sisters. Nowhere is this any clearer than in the passion of Jesus. He suffered so willingly on the cross because he shared his Father’s passion. His passion is you.

As a Christian, you are called to be Christlike; you are to adopt his perspective. You must press for the advantage of others ahead of your own. The guide for doing good for others is simple: do for them exactly as you would like them to do for you—something you are passionate about and know very well. When this becomes your ambition, you will have removed your thoughts from your own concerns and allowed God to take care of you. Not only will you be following the desires of God’s heart, but you will have become dependent upon him alone.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

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