“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List.
Knowing God Should Point Us to the Future
When we come to know God through His creation, we should be moved to worship Him. When we see how things turn out in this life, we should also have hope of future life. In this lifetime, the Lord only partially reveals His mercy and judgment. The partial revelation of His mercy and judgment should compel us to believe that a full revelation of each one is coming in the future.
Furthermore, when we see the righteous persecuted by the wicked, assaulted with various injuries, overwhelmed by calamities, and cut deeply by an insulting tongue, such things should cause us to believe that there will be a future life where the righteous will receive a reward from God. On the other hand, when we see the wicked flourish, prosper, and acquire money and fame, we should know that the future for them would be one of judgment and misery.
When we see God disciplining His children in this lifetime, we can conclude that the wicked will surely not escape His punishment in eternity. Augustine speaks to this reality: “If all sin were punished right away, then we might reason that there will be no final Judgment. On the other hand, if no sin were punished now at all, then we might conclude that there is no God.”
Therefore, all of God’s different works must be viewed together. When they are, they come together like magnificent picture. The picture of God’s works invite all people to know Him. When we know Him, we will love Him. Now, while His character and all of His divine perfections are vividly displayed in the created world, the only way to really see how they reveal God is to look inside ourselves. When we do so, we will see that the Lord displays His wisdom, power, energy, justice, goodness, and mercy in our own lives. Although King David complains that ungodly people do not take any time to ponder the deep truths about God (Psalm 92:6), he also understands that the wonders of God’s wisdom are everywhere (Psalm 40).