Building on Faith

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Daily Reformation, Acts 14:11-15

From the Reformer

We have already explained that the design of the Apostle was, to set before us the dignity of the glory of heaven, to which God invites us, and thus to draw us away from the vanity of this world. Moreover, he sets the corruption of the world in opposition to the divine nature; but he shews that this corruption is not in the elements which surround us, but in our heart, because there vicious and depraved affections prevail…

—John Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles

Pulling It Together

One always risks getting carried away with his own “inventions,” as Calvin claims Plato did. We end up worshiping men, false gods, and self when we ignore the specifics God has given us in his word. Those revealed details begin with looking expressly to God. We must turn away from self and turn to Christ. Looking to God is primary if one is to reflect the divine nature. It goes further than this, yes, but only by radiating from this main feature. This is why faith is at the top of Peter’s list in 2 Peter 1:5-7. The remaining qualities change the human nature into the divine nature, but only in so much as these qualities radiate from faith—only in so much as these qualities are really divine and not those of our own choosing or practiced as we decide. Virtue is important, but only if right behavior conforms to God’s standards and not our own. Knowledge is also critical but erudition without relationship—without knowing God—is futile bookishness. The same may be applied to self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. Each and all of these qualities fall short, being just finer characteristics in the human nature, unless they radiate specifically from and back to the divine by faith.

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

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