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The Gospel: Not a Doctrine of the Tongue But of Life

Posted on Jul. 31, 2014

“Let us ask those who possess nothing but church membership, and yet want to be called Christians, how they can glory in the sacred name of Christ?  For no one has any communion with Christ but he who has received the true knowledge of him from the word of the gospel... External knowledge of Christ is found to be only a false and dangerous make-believe, however eloquently and freely lip servants may talk about the gospel. The gospel is not a doctrine of the tongue, but of life. It cannot be grasped by reason and memory only, but it is fully understood when it possesses the whole soul and penetrates to the inner recesses of the heart. Let nominal Christians cease from insulting God by boasting themselves to be what they are not, and let them show themselves disciples not unworthy of Christ, their Master. We must assign first place to the knowledge of our religion, for that is the beginning of salvation. But our religion will be unprofitable, if it does not change our heart, pervade our manners, and transform us into new creatures.” 

John Calvin, Golden Booklet of a True Christian Life, p. 20-21, Baker Books, 2004