Friday, October 20, 2006

John Calvin on the Lord's Prayer - Part 1

Our Father who art in heaven.

"First of all this rule is presented to us: All prayers must be offered to God in the name of Christ, as no prayer in another name can be pleasing to God. For, since we call God our Father, it is certain that we understand beneath it the name of Christ also. Certainly, as there is no man in the world worthy to introduce himself to God and appear in his sight, this good heavenly Father (to free us from this confusion which should have rightly embarrassed us) has given us his Son Jesus to be our mediator and advocate toward him, by whose leading we may boldly approach God, having good confidence that, thanks to this intercessor, nothing which we will ask in his name shall be denied to us, since the Father cannot refuse him anything. And, since the throne of God is not only a throne of majesty but also of grace, we have the boldness to appear frankly in his name before that throne, in order to obtain mercy and find grace when we need it. And, in fact, as we have the ordered law of invoking God and we possess the promise that all those who will call upon him shall be heard, so there is also a special commandment to invoke him in the name of Christ and the promise given of obtaining what we will ask in his name (John 14:13; 16:23)."

"It is added here that God our Father is in the heavens. His marvelous majesty (which our spirit according to its rudeness cannot otherwise comprehend) is thus signified, inasmuch as there is nothing before our eyes more excellent and full of all majesty than the sky. The phrase 'in heaven' is equivalent to saying that God is lofty, mighty, incomprehensible. Now, when we hear that, we must lift on high our thoughts each and every time that God is mentioned, in order not to imagine of him anything carnal and earthly, not to measure him according to our comprehension nor to subordinate his will to our affections." (Instruction of Faith, pp. 59-60)

Instruction in Faith was written by John Calvin in 1537. I definitely recommend this little book.


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