John Calvin on the Power of God

If you were reading through 365 Days with Calvin, today you’d be treated to this thought-provoking passage from Calvin’s message on Psalm 2:9, where he raises an interesting and somewhat uncomfortable question about the power of God: does it cause you to feel adoration or terror?

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john-calvinChrist has such power that he reigns over even those who are averse to his authority and refuse to obey him. Psalm 2:9 implies that the beauty and glory of the kingdom David speaks of here are obvious when people willingly run to Christ in the day of his power and show themselves as his obedient subjects. But the greater number of people will rise up against this king with a violence that spurns all restraint. So the psalmist states here that this king will prove himself superior to all such opposition. God exhibited a specimen of this unconquerable power in war primarily in the person of David, who vanquished and overthrew many enemies by force of arms. But the prediction is more fully verified in Christ, who, neither by sword nor spear, but by the breath of his mouth, smites the ungodly to their utter destruction. everyone will not voluntarily receive Christ’s yoke; many will be stiff-necked and rebellious. But even those he will subdue by force and compel them to submit to him.

While the prophets in other parts of Scripture celebrate the meekness, the mercy, and the gentleness of our Lord, the psalmist describes him here as rigorous, austere, and full of terror. But his severe and dreadful sovereignty is set before us here only to strike alarm into his enemies. Furthermore, it is not at all inconsistent with the kindness with which Christ tenderly and sweetly cherishes his people. He who is a loving shepherd to his gentle sheep must also treat wild beasts with severity, either to convert them from their cruelty or effectually to restrain it.

For Meditation: One day, every knee will bow to Christ the King. Think about that today as you interact with people and hear what they are doing. Will they and you bow in adoration or terror before the Son of the living God? has many powerful daily devotionals to choose from. Download 365 Days with Calvin for just $16.95, and enjoy it right away in your free Faithlife Study Bible app.

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