Calvin on Philippians 2.21

For those of us obsessed with what God will do in some other time in some other place, Calvin drew out the implications of Philippians 2.21:

“For you must give up your own right if you would discharge your duty: a regard to your own interest must not be put in preference to Christ’s glory, or even placed upon a level with it. Withersoever Christ calls you, you must go promptly, leaving off all other things. Your calling ought to be regarded by you in such a way, that you shall turn away all your powers of perception from everything that would impede you. It might be in your power to live elsewhere in greater opulence, but God has bound you to the Church, which affords you but a very moderate sustenance. You might elsewhere have more honour [sic], but God has assigned you a situation, in which you live in a humble style. You might have elsewhere a more salubrious [healthful] sky, or a more delightful region, but it is here that your station is appointed. You might wish to have to do with a more humane people. You feel offended with their ingratitude, or barbarity, or pride; in short, you have no sympathy with the disposition or the manners of the nation in which you are, but you must struggle with yourself, and do violence in a manner to opposing inclinations, that you may keep by the trade you have got; for you are not free, or at your own disposal. In fine, forget yourself, if you would serve God.” (Commentaries, Baker: 2003, vol. XXI, “Epistle to the Philippians,” p77-78)

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