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Devitonal Classics

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By Santrina
Words 1672
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Devotional Classics is a book which contains writings by a large selection of spiritual giants. It provides an amazing perspective of Christianity from a wide variety of demonstrations, walks of faith, vocations, and time periods which started from the early church fathers up to current writers. It is an excellent compilation of portions of mostly classic Christian works in devotional format. This devotional book offers a full and a complete overview of all sides of devotional life. It is a great companion to the Scriptures as it has biblical references and study questions as part of each reading. Each chapter gives me an excerpt and some thought provoking reflections by Foster and Smith. Most of the readings are profound and worthy of in-depth reading. It has made me think, contemplate and overall grow in my spiritual journey. In this paper, I will demonstrate why John Calvin is important to be studied in the 21st century. I have chosen his devotional writing as a reflection of my spiritual insights and its application to my spiritual journey.

Why John Calvin
Many theologians such as Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin and more throughout history have made a big impact on their culture, times, society, and/or religion. One of the theologians that stands out to me is John Calvin, who had a great influence during his time, the early to middle sixteenth century. Calvin is considered by many to have been the father and founder of the Presbyterian and the Reformed Protestant churches. Calvin devoted almost his whole life to promoting both Presbyterian and Protestant Reformation, and he made a significant impact that is still seen today in Christianity. Many also consider Calvin as the father of the modern day grammatico-historical method of hermeneutics. Calvin was a true biblical exegete. For Calvin, the meaning of the text was the meaning of the text. What drove him to handle the Word with such precision was due to his commitment to biblical exegesis. To answer what grammatico-historical hermeneutics is, it is simply an interpreting rule in which the interpreter considers the historical context and grammatical structure for the specific text that he wishes to understand in the way that the biblical author originally intended to convey. Calvin understood that without the proper exegesis of Scripture, there is no expositional preaching. In other words, biblical exegesis is the foundational work for proper expository preaching. It is important to know biblical exegesis because there will always be old heresies cropping up appearing as new teachings. We must always be on guard against false teaching by grounding our faith on correct biblical interpretation. Having an understanding of biblical exegesis helps to protect us from spiritual and theological error. These biblical hermeneutics principles are still applicable in the 21st century churches and for many generations to come. For this reason, I have chosen John Calvin, who was one of the greatest biblical exegetes God gave to His church in the Christianity history. Warfield says, “… then between Luther the Reformer to our day, the greatest man God gave his church is none other than John Calvin.”

Spiritual Insights from John Calvin
Be a Living Sacrifice
In the book of Devotional Classics, Calvin stresses “The Joy of Self-Denial”. I have attained a beneficial spiritual insight as Calvin refers to Romans 12:1-2, “to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship”. The idea contained in sacrifice is that of dedication of ourselves. We are to dedicate our bodies to God. A spiritual act of worship must offer, or present before God all our living energies and powers directed consciously to God’s service. The apostle Paul tells us, however, that God would prefer that we become a sacrifice while alive. Let every act of our living body be an act of worship, let every act of our mind pleasing the Lord and reflect the glory of God (Rom. 12: 1-2). The apostle Paul keeps reminding us, “Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life, and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness” (Rom. 6:13). Presenting a living, holy body to God includes our mind and our acts — giving our body to do righteousness that is pleasing to God. A body is holy not because of what it looks like, or what shape it is, but of what it does and how it acts. The Scripture also teaches that we are to offer up a sacrifice of praise to God which means the fruit of lips that acknowledge the name of Christ. When the lips join the heart in praise to God, the body also becomes a holy, living sacrifice (Heb. 13:15). When we do good deeds in Jesus’ name with our hands and our presence, our body becomes a holy sacrifice of worship which is devoted to God’s purposes of righteousness. Through John Calvin’s devotional message, I am once confirmed that I am called to live a worshipful life and a righteousness life that is pleasing to God. The goal of my life is to live a worshipful life to reflect God’s glory and a righteousness life to act like Christ.

The apostle Paul states “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” (1 Cor. 6:19). The Scripture claims that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and therefore we should surrender fully to the leading and authority of the Holy Spirit. We surrender our bodies, our minds and our souls to the Holy Spirit and follow His guidance. Calvin continues to address that our lives are not our own, they belong to the Lord whether we live or die. “…You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Cor. 6:20). My life is bought at a high cost by the atonement of Christ, I am not my own but God’s own. I am not living for myself but living for God. Therefore, I should let God’s wisdom and will be in control of my daily actions. Let every part of my existence be instructed by the Lord, abandon my ego and sinful desires. I am determined to let my life to be a living sacrifice for the glory of God.

Be Transformed by the Holy Spirit
Paul keeps teaching believers not to choose this world and not to follow the secular patterns of living but to be transformed by the renewing in our mind (Rom. 12:2). To be transformed by the Holy Spirit and let the Spirit to renew our mind. The Scripture demands that we surrender our reason to the Holy Spirit and let Him direct our lives. Once our mind is being transformed by the Holy Spirit we will be changed into the image of Christ and into the person God has called us to be. Being transformed is becoming an entirely different person than we were before the time we were saved. The Holy Spirit transforms us through our prayers and the Word of God. The Spirit uses the Word of God to change us like the Son of God. To become like Christ we must let the Spirit transforms our lives. The Lord speaks and reveals to us through the Holy Spirit. The Bible stresses, through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us (2 Tim. 3:17). What a great benefit that I have the Holy Spirit to renew my acts and mind so that I can completely devote myself to the glory of God. When my mind is renewed by the Holy Spirit, I will be able to reckon with God in my daily lives. Through the power of the Spirit I can be transformed from worldliness to true spirituality. It is the will of God for me to be a living sacrifice for Jesus Christ. In fact, it is all I need to be made complete thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16). As the result, I will be able to test and approve what God's will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will (Rom. 12:2b).

The joy of self-denial is to consecrate and offer myself to God as a living sacrifice. It is the will of God for me to be a living sacrifice for Christ. When I think, speak and act, I do it for the glory of God. I am not my own because I am bought at a high cost by Christ. I am God’s own and my live belong to Him alone. I desire my life to be transformed and my mind to be renewed by the Holy Spirit and surrender completely to the leadership of the Spirit. Calvin’s devotional Scripture from Romans 12:1-2 has helped me to understand clearly that I am a living sacrifice to God, I should not conforming to this world. but be transformed by the Holy Spirit. I believe there are no shortcuts or magical formula for renewing my mind. I must filled by the Spirit of God and let God’s Word to fill my mind. As Jesus prayed to the Father, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (Jhn. 17:17).

Sources Consulted
Foster, J. Richard and Smith James Bryant. Devotional Classics: For Spiritual Renewal. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2005.
Terry, Milton S. Biblical Hermeneutics: A Treatise on the Interpretation of the Old and New Testaments. Eugene, Wpif: Stock Publishers, 1999.
Warfield, Benjamin B. The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, Vol. 5: Calvin and Calvinism. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2003.
Warren, Rick. The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002.

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