The great reformer, theologian, and pastor, John Calvin wrote a massive work called Institutes of the Christian Religion. I am working my way through it with a small, but growing, group of men at the moment. It is much easier to tackle a work of such magnitude when others are tackling with you. I may, from time to time (and indeed, already have), share some of Calvin’s extraordinary work with you on this blog.
Calvin writes of sin that it’s root can be found in “unfaithfulness” (2.2.4). This is interesting, as the common expression of the root of sin, the very cause and foundation of sin, is usually pride. He quotes Augustine as saying as much; “pride was the beginning of all evils.” He then moves on to stating that , since Eve was deceived to contravene God’s command, then “disobedience was the beginning of the fall.” And then he says the following; that “the first man revolted from God’s authority,” not only because of Satan’s deception, but also because he was “contemptuous of truth.” He rejected what God had clearly and authoritatively said. “And surely” writes Calvin, ” once we hold God’s Word in contempt, we shake off all reverence for him.”
Calvin says that the root of Adam’s rebellion was Adam’s refusal to listen to God’s word. Many Reformed theologians say that this breaking God’s command to not eat of the Tree was “unfaithfulness” to a covenant of works. Calvin does not say as much, but he does show that it was Adam’s lack of faith in God and to his commands, his “unfaithfulness”, which was the root of all sin. This same unfaithfulness is at the root of our sin too. May God help us to be faithful to God and what he says, and may we thank him for Jesus Christ, our faithful Saviour and Lord. He is faithful for us.
“Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.” (Hebrews 3:5-6)
Image credit: some rights reserved by Christopher Woo.