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Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion is one of the most important and straightforward works of theology ever written, yet so few people actually read it.
The Christian Heritage Series presents all four books of the Institutes in complete, unabridged, easy-to-read volumes. John Calvin certainly writes good theology, but he also writes with beauty and clarity—and both these aspects are captured in Beveridge’s translation. Calvin is concerned that readers not be puffed up with new knowledge, rather he wants us to be drawn to the majesty and holiness of God in order to know our sin and our need for grace. Read this classic to grow closer to God.
“[Our] renewal, indeed, is not accomplished in a moment, a day, or a year, but by uninterrupted, sometimes even by slow progress God abolishes the remains of carnal corruption in His elect, cleanses them from pollution, and consecrates them as His temples, restoring all their inclinations to real purity, sothatduring their whole lives they may practice repentance, and know that death is the only termination to this warfare.”~From Book III of theInstitutes
Book 3 of theInstitutesis about the mode of procuring the grace of Christ, or what we might call individual salvation. Calvin does not get lost in technical terminology or relegate faith to mere intellectual belief. Instead, our individual salvation is the work of the Holy Spirit and results in faith, repentance, justification, and sanctification. Whether he is arguing against Catholic errors such as Purgatory or teaching about predestination or Christian liberty, Calvin shows the beauty of the utterly free forgiveness that we have in Jesus and how He who began a good work in us will surely complete it.
“But if you have picked up on any of the caricatures of John Calvin, you may be surprised to find him describing faith and repentance, justification and election, and holiness and heaven in ways that are startlingly moving. Do not let me mislead you, Calvin was a theologian and an academic. Calvin was a stern spiritual general of the church. His work is at war with the world, the flesh, and the devil, and he does not take the battle lightly. Paragraph after paragraph consists of volley after volley in which Calvin meticulously aims and fires the Word of God at sinful hearts, lofty arguments, and arrogant corruptions in the world and the church.... And yet, through the meticulous barrage, just when you might be tempted to think him some kind of Biblical or theological machine, his words crest again with an unmistakable light and warmth.”~From Toby Sumpter’s Introduction