Calvin on Piety

I want to share with you some excellent quotes from my reading corner about the meaning and importance of a word that we have almost forgotten and need to use more often: PIETY

The book: Living for God’s Glory by Joel R. Beeke
Chapter 13, Calvin’s Exalting Piety

“For him [Calvin], piety was not only a positive trait, it was the essence of true biblical Christianity. For him, theological understanding and practical piety, truth and usefulness, were inseparable.”


“In the preface of his Institutes, which he addressed to King Francis I, Calvin says that the book’s purpose is solely to transmit certain rudiments by which those who are touched with any zeal for religion might be shaped to true godliness [pietas]”


“For Calvin, piety designates a proper attitude toward God, and obedience to Him. Flowing out of the knowledge of who and what God is (theology), piety includes heartfelt worship, saving faith, filial fear, prayerful submission, and reverential love.”


“In his first catechism, Calvin writes, ‘True piety consists in a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death.'”


“Such piety embraces all life. Calvin writes, ‘The whole life of Christians ought to be a sort of practice of godliness'”


The goal of piety is to recognize and praise the glory of God -glory that shines in God’s attributes, in the structure of the world, and in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ… As a result the pious man’s deepest concern is God himself and the things of God -God’s Word, God’s authority, God’s gospel, God’s truth. He yearns to know more of God and to commune more with Him.”

But how do we glorify God? Calvin writes, ‘God has prescribed for us a way in which he will be glorified by us, namely, piety, which consists in the obedience of his Word… Obedience to God’s word means taking refuge in Christ for forgiveness of our sins, knowing Him through the Scriptures, serving Him with a loving heart, doing good works in gratitude for His goodness, and exercising self-denial to the point of loving our enemies. This response involves total surrender to God Himself, his Word and His will (see Romans 11: 33-12:2)”


“The believer who excels in piety learns to grasp Christ so firmly by faith that Christ dwells within his heart, though He remains in heaven. The pious live by what they find in Christ rather than  by what they find in themselves.”

May His grace abound!


5 thoughts on “Calvin on Piety

What Do You Think?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s