Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil from your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the or-phan, plead for the widow. Come now, let us argue it out, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be-come like wool. Isaiah 1:17,18
THIS WEEK’S LENT DEVOTIONAL CLASSIC READING COMES FROM JOHN CALVIN.
I call “piety” that reverence joined with love of God which the knowledge of his benefits induces. For until men recognize that they owe everything to God, that they are nourished by his fatherly care, that he is the Author of their every good, that they should seek nothing beyond him-they will never yield him willing service. Nay, unless they establish their complete happiness in him, they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to him.
You cannot behold him clearly unless you acknowledge him to be the fountainhead and source of every good. From this too would arise the desire to cleave to him and trust in him, but for the fact that man’s depravity seduces his mind from rightly seeking him.
The pious mind does not dream up for itself any god it pleases but contemplates the one and only true God. It thus recognizes God because it knows that he governs all things; and trusts that he is its guide and protector, therefore giving itself over completely to trust in him… Besides, this mind restrains itself from sinning, not out of dread of punishment alone; but because it loves and reveres God as Father, it worships and adores him as Lord. Even if there were no hell, it would still shudder at offending him alone.
Here indeed is pure and real religion: faith so joined with an earnest fear of God that this fear also embraces willing reverence and carries with it such legitimate worship as is prescribed in the law.
Therefore, it is worship of God alone that renders men higher than the brutes, and through it alone they aspire to immortality. John Calvin’s Institutes 1.2.1, 2
So may all of us here and throughout the earth, being kept in perfect peace and quietness, serve Thee in all godliness and virtue, and being delivered and protected from the fear of our enemies, give praise unto Thee all the days of our life, through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.