2 JULY 365 Days with Calvin

Persevering in Doing Good

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Matthew 24:12

suggested further reading: 2 Timothy 3

Every person ought to know how far and wide evil extends, but very few observe it. For as a consequence of the superior clearness with which the light of the gospel discovers the malice of men, even good and properly regulated minds grow cool and almost lose the desire to exercise benevolence. All reason with themselves that the duties they perform to one person or to another are thrown away, since experience and daily practice show that almost all are ungrateful, treacherous, or wicked. This is unquestionably a weighty and dangerous temptation, for what could be more unreasonable than to approve of a doctrine by which the desire of doing good and the demands of charity appear to be diminished?

When the gospel makes its appearance, charity, which ought to kindle the hearts of all men with its warmth, rather grows cool. But we must observe the source of this evil, which Christ points out, namely, that many lose courage because through their weakness they are unable to stem the flood of iniquity which flows on every hand. On the other hand, Christ requires courage from his followers to persist in striving against iniquity. Paul also enjoins us not to be weary of performing deeds of kindness and beneficence (2 Thes. 3:13).

Although the charity of many, when overwhelmed by the mass of iniquities, should give way, Christ warns believers that they must surmount this obstacle lest, overcome by bad examples, they apostatize. Therefore he repeats the statement in Matthew 24:13 that no man can be saved unless “he strive lawfully” (2 Tim. 2:5) so as to persevere to the end.

for meditation: How often do we rationalize our way out of duties? Having observed its apparent futility, we abandon what God has commanded us to perform, as if we were excused from these duties. But this is foolish disobedience; we can neither see the ultimate end of things, nor are we called to judge which commands of God seem most useful and profitable to obey. Is there a Christian duty you have been shirking?[1]

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 202). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

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