Saturday, 14 November 2015

2. Knowledge of God involves trust and reverence

“What is God? Men who pose this question are merely  toying with idle speculations.  It is more important for us to know what sort he is and what is consistent with his nature”

Calvin believes that knowledge of God should teach us fear and reverence and that we should learn that we owe our lives to God.  Could it be that our twenty first century world has overlooked this aspect for so many of us think we owe out lives to technology or medicine or some combination thereof?  Calvin suggests that it is our depravity that stops us from seeking God and then goes on to describe what he calls the “pious mind”.

In this he means that the Christian mind should not be trying to “dream up any god it pleases”.  Is that the mistake of the secular world –we are free to dream up gods of money, football, celebrity and the like/ but the Church is not immune: the language of secular culture is often imported in the Church. The language of God does not sit comfortably with our politically correct world. For Calvin contends that the “pious mind” sees God as a righteous judge armed with the severity to punish wickedness”.  Such a mind can accept there will be judgment but that those who love and revere God do not need to live in fear and dread.

From this section Calvin concludes that real religion involves faith and earnest fear of God.  From  this religion comes legitimate worship.  But Calvin warns those of us to do recognise and worship God saying that if there is “great ostentation in ceremonies” then sincerity of heart is rare indeed”. Where do you see evidence of this as you look around day by day? –In wider society, in Church life or in both?