This past Sunday I preached on Colossians 1:10-12a, "A Worthy Walk". Paul writes:
"...that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing..." (Col. 1:10a)
Yesterday, I ran across some of Calvin's thoughts concerning such a walk in his "Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life". Notice this gem from pages 18 and 19:
"Because the Father has reconciled us to Himself in Christ, therefore He commands us to be conformed to Christ as to our pattern. ... Unless we ardently and prayerfully devote ourselves to Christ's righteousness we do not only faithlessly revolt from our Creator, but we also abjure Him as our Savior."
WHOA! That last sentence hits hard! While I may have been "loud" and "forceful" in my message, Calvin's words tower above anything I may have said.
Calvin begins with "unless we", preparing us for two, and only two, possibilities.
1. "we ardently and prayerfully devote ourselves to Christ's righteousness" - In other words we are to strive to be conformed to His image. Note the adjective "ardently" meaning "passionately". "Ardently...devote": we must "go all out" in our efforts to be like Christ, to be worthy of the Lord. That is one possibility.
2. On the other hand, if we do NOT put everything into being like Christ, Calvin says "we do not only faithlessly revolt from our Creator, but we also abjure Him as our Savior". "Abjure" means to "to give up strongly". To abjure the Lord brings to mind what Peter did when he denied Christ. Calvin says if I am not striving all out to be like Christ then I have revolted from my Creator and denied my Lord.
To Calvin, there is no third possibility. There is no "carnal Christian" category for those who claim to be Christians but who live like the lost in this world. Your life denounces your profession and, as a result, serves as a faithless revolt against God and a strong denial of Christ.
Oh that I could say so much in so few words as John Calvin! More importantly, though, may I forever strive to be conformed to the image of God's Son, to walk a worthy walk pleasing unto the Lord, so I may not be counted among those who rebel and deny our Lord.