25 JUNE 365 Days with Calvin

Experiencing Only Temporary Faith

Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. Matthew 13:21

suggested further reading: 2 Chronicles 25

Christ says people with temporary faith eventually feel uneasy when they begin to experience the offense of the cross. Certainly, as the heat of the sun uncovers the barrenness of the soil, so persecution and the cross lay open the pride of those who are slightly influenced by but are not actually moved by earnest feelings of piety.

According to Matthew and Mark, such people are temporary. They may profess for a time that they are disciples of Christ, but they soon fall away through temptation. So they only imagine that they have true faith. According to Luke, their faith is temporary because the honor that they render to the gospel merely resembles faith.

They are not truly regenerated by the incorruptible seed that never fades, as Peter tells us (1 Peter 1:4). The words of Isaiah, “The word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isa. 40:8; 1 Peter 1:25), are only fulfilled in the hearts of believers in whom the truth of God, once fixed, never passes away but retains its vigor to the end.

Still, people who take delight in the Word of God and cherish some reverence for it do in some manner believe, for they are vastly different from unbelievers who give no credit to God when he speaks or who reject his Word.

But let us be sure from this teaching that no one partakes of true faith except those who are sealed with the Spirit of adoption and who sincerely call on God as their Father. Because that Spirit is never extinguished, it is impossible that the true faith that the Spirit engraves on the hearts of the godly will ever pass away or be destroyed.

for meditation: We may repent of our sins outwardly and even respect God’s Word, absorbing its teaching week after week at church and in Bible study, and getting a certain amount of joy from it. But if we repeatedly succumb to temptation without heart-sorrow and fail to change our ways, even when we are reprimanded by other godly people, we should beware lest our faith be only temporary.[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 195). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

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