Monday, 2 January 2012

Blogging the Institutes - Book I, ch. 1

The knowledge of God and of ourselves are mutually connected.

It's a new year and I thought it was about time I resurrected the blog. I can't promise how long I will keep it up though. :-)

Having started a few years ago I also thought it was about time I got round to finishing Calvin's Institutes so I decided to use the blog to record memorable quotes and reflections along the way.

Calvin begins with the thought that without knowledge of self we cannot really know God. It is only though an awareness of our imperfections that we will seek the one who alone is perfect. We will not seek after God until we are displeased with ourselves he says. I must admit, even as a Christian, I find this principle still at work in me all too often. How easily we think ourselves to be God!

Calvin continues that it is equally true that without knowledge of God we cannot really know ourselves. For,

"Since we are all naturally prone to hypocrisy, any empty semblance of righteousness is quite enough to satisfy us instead of righteousness itself. And since nothing appears within us or around us that is not tainted with very great impurity, so long as we keep our mind within the confines of human pollution, anything which is in some small degree less defiled delights us as if it were most pure just as an eye, to which nothing but black had been previously presented, deems an object of a whitish, or even of a brownish hue, to be perfectly white."
Again, I am reminded how easily we will compare ourselves to others and think ourselves not so corrupt. Why do we want to settle for a righteousness of our own instead of resting in the perfect righteousness that is ours by faith in Christ Jesus?

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