Putting Faith into Practice: A Little Book on the Christian Life

A Little Book on the Christian Life by John Calvin

“There are two main parts to the instruction from Scripture on the Christian life that follow. The first is that a love of righteousness, to which we are not naturally prone, must be implanted and poured into our hearts. The second is that we need some model that will keep us from losing our way in our pursuit of righteousness.”

This short book is an extract of a single chapter of the second edition of John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, originally entitled “A Distinguished Little Book on the Life of a Christian Man.” It was first published in 1550 as a stand-alone work in booklet form, and was later published as different versions with the titles Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life and A Guide to Christian Living. With this 2017 new edition, translated from the official Latin edition of The Institutes, the editors state as their goal “to produce a translation that we believe Calvin himself would have been pleased with…aimed at faithfulness not just to Calvin’s meaning but, so much as possible, to his own words,” and to “make Calvin’s meaning as clear as possible to English readers.”

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Learning to Love God’s Way: Equipped to Love

equippedtolovenewEquipped to Love: Building Idolatry-Free Relationships by Norm Wakefield

“Every relationship is an opportunity to love, and every situation is an opportunity to trust.”


In honor of it being Valentine’s Day week, I thought I would repost my review of this excellent book. No matter how much we love someone, it’s hard to always love them the way we ought to. And we can never love others perfectly as God loves.

John Calvin is quoted as stating, “Our hearts are idol factories.” An idol is something or someone to which we look to supply what only God can supply. From the day we are born, we naturally seek to have our needs and our desires met, when and how we want them to be. Before knowing God, we only know to look to our parents and our surroundings to make us feel satisfied, happy, and secure. Without realizing it, we have begun the process of manufacturing idols in our life, controlling and manipulating others around us in order to get what we want. Of course no one but God can completely and perfectly meet our every need, so inevitably we become frustrated, dissatisfied, disappointed, or resentful. Eventually we turn to new idols, but mostly we make an idol out of Self – depending on our own wisdom, strength, etc. to get what we want for ourselves.

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Becoming Holy on Purpose: A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life

Cover of "A Serious Call to a Devout and ...A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life by William Law

“He is the devout man who considers and serves God in everything and who makes all of his life an act of devotion by doing everything in the name of God and under such rules as are conformable to His glory.”
(Note: I read the 1955 abridged edition, which was edited by a group of laymen to make it more accessible to the 20th century reader.)

William Law’s book, published in England in 1728, was written in a time and society in which just about everyone professed to be a Christian and attended church. This may seem like a good thing, but during this time, the Christian Church in England (and America) was in a state of spiritual decline. Law observed that there were many nominal Christians who appeared to value the teachings of the Bible and attended church on Sundays but were not serious about living out Christ’s teachings in their every day life. This book is not intended to tell the reader how to become a Christian, but rather, how to be a “good” Christian. Law is basically challenging those who profess the name of Christ to take it seriously and to live out what they claim to be. A Serious Call may feel a bit moralistic or legalistic at times, but it needs to be kept in mind that the author is not implying that by living a good life a person can earn his salvation or even earn more favor with God. It is a reminder that if I am truly a Christian, I am “dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ” and should “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which I have been called” (Rom. 6:4; Eph 4:1). Continue reading “Becoming Holy on Purpose: A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life”