Monday, January 15, 2018

Calvin on unbelief (John 6:64a)

But there are some of you that believe not (John 6:64a).

I preached yesterday at CRBC on John 6:59-71. In reading Calvin’s commentary on the passage, I was struck by his analysis of John 6:64a:

….for unbelief, as it is always proud, will never understand any thing in the words of Christ, which it despises and disdains. Wherefore, if we wish to profit at all under this Teacher, let us bring minds well disposed to listen to him; for if the entrance to his doctrine be not opened by humility and reverence, our understandings are harder than stones, and will not receive any part of sound doctrine. And therefore, when in the present day we see so few people in the world profiting by the Gospel, we ought to remember that this arises from the depravity of men. For how many will you find who deny themselves, and truly submit to Christ? As to his saying only that there were SOME who did not believe, though almost all of them were liable to this charge, his reason for doing so appears to have been that, if there were any who were not yet beyond the possibility of cure, they might not cast down their minds in despair.



Mad Jack said...

It depends on what he means by unbelief. Certain things were made clear to me before I became a believer, which if they hadn't, I never would have accepted Jesus as my savior. One example is communion, which I didn't understand until it was explained.

The idea of having an open mind is certainly valid. I've heard many Christians and biblical scholars decide that a certain verse means one thing, then support that belief with other verses - all generally taken out of context.

I'm doing well, by the way. The Lord has given me a very nice, comfortable life.

Jeffrey T. Riddle said...

MJ, glad to hear you are well and of the Lord's kindnesses to you.

I don't think Calvin would disagree that the Lord is at work in men's lives before they are converted. I am working my way through Augustine's Confessions right now and he often notes ways that the Lord was providentially at work in his life before his conversion.