John Calvin comments on the current American economy

Sort of.  By means of his commentary on Isaiah 26:3.  Read it yourself and tell me if I’m wrong…in fact, tell me if you think I’m right.

Isaiah 26:3 reads, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

Calvin’s thoughts on this verse as recorded in his commentary on Isaiah read as follows:

It is undoubtedly true that we ought constantly to hope in God, that we may perceive his continual faithfulness in defending us; and believers are always enjoined not to be driven about by any doubt, or uncertainty, or wavering, but firmly to rely on God alone.  Yet the meaning which is more easily obtained from this passage, and comes more naturally from the words of the Prophet, is, that it is a fixed and unchangeable decree of God, that all who hope in him shall enjoy eternal peace; for if fixed thought means the certainty and steadfastness of the godly, it would be superfluous to assign the reason, which is —

Because he hath trusted in thee…[It] is perfectly appropriate to say that, when we trust in God, he never disappoints our hope, because he has determined to guard us for ever.  Hence it follows, that, since the safety of the Church does not depend on the state of the world, it is not moved or shaken by the various changes which happen daily; but that, having been founded on the purpose of God, it stands with steady and unshaken firmness, so that it can never fall.

There is also, I think, an implied contrast between God’s fixed thought and our wandering imaginations; for at almost every moment there springs up something new which drives our thoughts hither and thither, and there is no change, however slight, that does not produce some doubt.  We ought therefore to hold this principle that we do wrong if we judge of God’s unshaken purpose by our fickle imaginations; as we shall elsewhere see, “As far as the heavens are [higher than] the earth, so far are my thoughts from your thoughts, O house of Israel.”  (Isaiah 55:9)  We ought therefore above all to hold it certain, that our salvation is not liable to change; because the purpose of God is unchangeable.

Thou wilt keep peace, peace.  What has now been stated explains the reason of the repetition of the word peace; for it denotes uninterrupted continuance for ever.  By the word peace I understand not only serenity of mind, but every kind of happiness; as if he had said, that the grace of God alone can enable us to live prosperously and happily.

I suppose it’s possible, especially considering the last sentence of Calvin’s comments, that someone will reconstruct what Calvin is saying, and indeed what God says, into some sort of “prosperity gospel,” which is no gospel at all, and is not from God.  John Calvin didn’t believe in a health-and-wealth gospel, and neither does God. 

The point is, no matter what happens in the lives of God’s people, and that includes hardship, pain, suffering, and a bad economy or no economy, they can still have true peace, because they trust in God alone, and not their portfolios or any other god.

3 comments on “John Calvin comments on the current American economy

  1. jsundberg says:

    I should have added that Calvin’s comments, written around 459 years ago, and the portion of Scripture known as Isaiah, written much earlier than that, show the timelessness of truth as found in Scripture and in the solid exposition of Scripture.

  2. Rob Osterman says:

    I think I would have to agree with you John. This is very much what we have been addressing in our evan/mission group at church.

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