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Safe at last

"But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly..."

Taking Calvin's doctrinal bulwarks of providence and predestination out of context leads to their being caricatured. Enthusiasts turn them into vicious sticks to beat those who do not conform to their rigid model of what it means to be a Christian. Objectors recoil at their cold exclusivity. A truer, warmer, fairer picture emerges when we replace Calvin's teaching into its original environment of welcoming the rejected, persecuted, and oppressed immigrants of 16th century Europe. Here at last was the reassurance that somebody cared, that somebody had a purpose for them - and that somebody was no less than Almighty God!

In the meantime, the Psalms warmed Calvin's own soul, giving expression to his innermost feelings and revealing the God who sustained him. Through this experience of double revelation, Calvin received the answer to Augustine's famous prayer: Let me know you, O God; let me know myself. Understanding who we are in relation to God prepares us for our new life in Christ, where we are fortified by the Holy Spirit to resist the wiles of the Devil and the weakness of the flesh. Here we discover that we are not alone but embraced by our new and greater family: the communion of saints, on earth and in heaven.



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