“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 NLT
I picture this heavenly gathering of saints cheering us on in our faith with Martin Luther and John Calvin among them. Calvin was a Frenchman living, like Luther, in the sixteenth century amidst the Reformation. He read Luther’s works and jumped into the fray but unlike Luther, Calvin was an intellectual. When the Holy Spirit got ahold of him he used his gifts to impact the Church with sound doctrine and inspired Bible teaching.
The Church has always had statements of faith, creeds, however, the Reformation brought greater understanding of what we believe. Calvin was a studier, teacher, pastor, professor, and defender of Christianity whose life was centered on Christ and the Church. The Holy Spirit burned two wonderful truths that drove him to influence believers around the world.
God showed Calvin, as he had previously shown Augustine and Luther, that He was to be central in our faith. That truth, imparted by the Holy Spirit, included divine election and predestination as Augustine and Luther taught. God had shown the apostle Paul (explained in the book of Romans) that we are born sinners and in that state we have no desire to know God and no ability to come to Him. Calvin went on to explain that you must know yourself before you can know God. When we recognize the low place of our sinfulness we can turn to Him in His high place of holiness. That enlightenment is due to His work of drawing us: not anything we’ve done. It’s called grace.
Secondly, the Spirit of Christ burned the truth of His sovereignty and supremacy. Calvin wrote, “this profound sense of His majesty is the key that unlocks the heart.” After he experienced the Holy Spirit and His majesty he devoted his short life (55 yrs.) to explaining and defending the truths of our Christian faith. His influence, through His writings, remains in Christian churches throughout the world.
Why blog about our Church Fathers? This study has redirected me to the authority and awe of God. They remind me that faith is all about the Lord and less about me. I love reading about the encounters these men had with God and know that we can also experience Him. As with Luther and Calvin, God’s placed spiritual gifts in us to be used for His glory and benefit the Church; the question remains, are you exercising your gifts?
What stirs you up, drives you, and even angers you? Let those God-given emotions direct you to be used for His glory and benefit other believers. Investigate ministries that focus on your interests and passions and allow the Spirit to funnel His love to the world.