Institutes of the Christian Religion

The undertaking of reading and studying through Institutes over the course of this year I am discovering, pales in comparison to the enormity of the task of its completion by its author. The final major revision of this work in 1559 was done while Calvin was stricken with a severe form of malaria, one in which he thought death was immanent. However, this was not going to stop him from carrying out the great task “for God’s church.” He labored intensely to be a blessing to the Church.

Calvin wrote in his letter to the reader, that “God has filled my mind with zeal to spread his Kingdom and to further the pubic good.” (pg. 4) Sounds like a lofty ideal, but nonetheless, something I am taking to prayer. I desire God to fill my mind with zeal to do His work, to proclaim His Kingdom and to serve in the interest of the public good.

One thing quite quite evident is the clarity and focus he had with regards to his calling as a teacher in the church. His purpose was clear — “to benefit the church by maintaining the pure doctrine of godliness.” This he did under the threat of persecution and continuous slander and false accusations. This reminds me of Paul’s admonition to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Lord, give me that clarity of purpose and fill my mind with zeal to do thy holy work.

–DM