For Calvin, the only possible way to receive God’s mercy is with absolute humility, which he defines as “an unfeigned submission of our hearts, stricken down in earnest with an awareness of its own misery and want” (Institutes 3.12.6).  Without such humility, we remain persuaded of our own righteousness when, in fact, we ought to be confident only in the mercy of God.  We will never find sufficient consolation in Christ, Calvin observes, “unless we have already experienced desolation in ourselves” (3.12.8).  But, when we are truly humbled before God, our hearts are open to receive the free gift of His justifying grace. – Philip Graham Ryken (born in 1966)

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