Here is an encouraging quote from John Calvin, which I read in a free book that someone sent me in the mail, entitled “365 Days with Calvin,” edited by Joel Beeke. I suspect there will be more encouraging devotions from Calvin in the future.
He is currently giving thoughts and quotes from Calvin’s writings on the book of Galatians, which we are studying in our home fellowships. This post is from the December 1st meditation.
Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ – Galatians 1:3
Notice that, in all his epistles, Paul constantly reminds us of the grace of God and the love he bears toward all believers. He says, Grace be to you and peace. This word peace includes all worldly prosperity. By it Paul is asking God to provide those things that he considers for our good. He will shower his riches upon us and reveal his bounty so that we might praise him for his goodness.
However, the wealth of this world will be harmful for us unless we have found favor with the Lord. Hence, Paul speaks here in an orderly way, always placing God’s grace and free pardon before an increase in worldly prosperity. Though we may ask God to bless us with those things he thinks we need, we must not forget the most important blessing is to be members of his church and assured of God’s love in our hearts.
The light of God’s countenance should suffice us. Although God permits us to ask for good things from his hand, we must keep a tight rein on our desires. God may afflict us with many sorrows, and at such times we need to value his grace above anything else. We should then be content, even if everything else was taken away. If we live in comfort, surrounded by all kinds of pleasures and delights, we will still be miserable if we do not have the peace of conscience that comes from knowing that God loves and accepts us.
We should not desire earthly goods more than the love of God. For what if God, who loves us, wishes to test our patience by making us suffer in this world and subjects us to many trials? Even then, we must prize his love abolve all else and patiently bear all trials, though it seems as if everything is against us.