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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Understanding Mysteries

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by John Calvin


And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ. Ephesians 3:9




Scripture offers some rather mysterious teachings which are not easily understood. Have we perceived that? To understand, we must first humble ourselves and pray God to enlighten us by his Holy Spirit so we may profit from all his works and words. Moreover, let us yearn to learn the things that he shows us and be content with the understanding he gives us without yearning to know any more than what we learn in his school.


When we have such humility, our Lord will give us a sure resting place. Although his secrets are incomprehensible, and the teachings of the law and the gospel are mysteries above the grasp of the world, yet they are sufficient for our welfare and salvation. So that there is no muddle, no confusion, and no obscurity for us, God will guide us by his Holy Spirit, giving us the wisdom and discretion to know whatever he deems is for our profit.


But if we are unteachable and behave like runaway horses to search farther than we are allowed, God’s wisdom will certainly prove elusive. There will be such a diversity of things and so many subjects that we will be at our wits’ end. We shall remain utterly confused.


Even the faithful will clearly perceive what Paul says here so that they may ever be mindful to walk in awe and fear, not giving themselves too much rein or taking too much freedom to know more than our Lord wants them to know. Any doubt we might have entertained about how God will amaze us with his works is removed. Yet he will not have us wonder at those unless we allow ourselves to be taught by him.


FOR MEDITATION: It is foolish to presume that a creature should comprehend everything the Creator does. We think of ourselves far too highly if we rebel against the parts of God’s Word that we cannot understand. Our hearts should be overtaken with awe, not rebellion. Be aware and in awe of God and his work today.

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