Friday, August 31, 2012

Calvin's Faith Facing Death

From Calvin's will, made on his deathbead:
I give thanks to God who had mercy on me. . . . He delivered me out of the deep darkness of idolatry in which I was plunged, that he might bring me into the light of the gospel. . . . I have no other defense or refuge for salvation than his free adoption, on which alone my salvation depends. With all my soul I embrace the mercy that he has exercised towards me through Jesus Christ, atoning for my sins with the merits of his death and passion, that in this way he might satisfy for all my offences and faults and blot them out form his remembrance. I testify also and declare that I earnestly beg him to be pleased so to wash and purify me in the blood that my Sovereign Redeemer has shed for the sins of mankind, that under his shadow I may be able to stand at the judgment-seat. . . . 
I also testify and declare that in all the battles and disputations in which I have been engaged with the enemies of the gospel, I have used no falsehood, no wicked and sophistical devices, but have acted straightforwardly and sincerely in defending the truth.  
Yet, alas, my ardour and zeal (if indeed worthy of the name) have been so slack and languid that I confess I have failed countless times to execute my office properly, and had not he, of his boundless goodness, assisted me . . . those mental powers that the Lord gave me would at his judgment-seat prove me more and more guilty of sin and sloth. 
For these reasons I testify and declare that I trust to no other security for my salvation than this alone, that as God is the Father of mercy, so he will show himself such a Father to me, who acknowledge myself to be a miserable sinner.
—J. I. Packer, Honoring the People of God: Collected Shorter Writings on Christian Leaders and Theologians (Vancoover: Regent College Publishing, 1999), 16.

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