20 February 2012

the undoubted power of His divine majesty

"The certainty [Scripture] deserves with us, it attains by the testimony of the Spirit. For even if it wins reverence for itself by its own majesty, it seriously affects us only when it is sealed upon our hearts through the Spirit.

"Therefore, illumined by His power, we believe neither by our own nor by anyone else's judgment that Scripture is from God; but above human judgment we affirm with utter certainty (just as if we were gazing upon the majesty of God Himself) that it has flowed to us from the very mouth of God by the ministry of men . . . Nor do we do this as those miserable men who habitually bind over their minds to the thralldom of superstition; but we feel that the undoubted power of His divine majesty lives and breathes there."

-John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion


"This is almost baffling. He says that his conviction concerning the majesty of God in Scripture . . . rests not in any human judgment, not even his own. What does he mean? As I have wrestled with this, the words of the apostle John have shed the most helpful light on what Calvin is trying to explain. Here are the key words from 1 John 5:6-11: The Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth . . . And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. In other words, 'the testimony of God,' that is, the inward witness of the Spirit, is greater than any human witness . . .

"And what is that testimony of God? It is not merely a word delivered to our judgment for reflection, for then our conviction would rely on our own reflection. What is it then? Verse 11 is the key: 'This is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life.'

"I take that to mean that God testifies to us of His reality and the reality of His Son and of the gospel by giving us life from the dead, so that we come alive to His self-authenticating glory in the gospel. In that instant we do not reason from premises to conclusions; rather we see that we are awake, and there is not even a prior human judgment about it to lean on.

"When Lazarus wakened in the tomb by the call or the 'testimony' of Christ, he knew without reasoning that he was alive and that this call awakened him."

-John Piper, God is the Gospel

1 comment:

  1. Like Chapter 1 point 5 of the WM confession:

    5. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture.k And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man’s salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments hereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.