John Calvin on the task of preaching and the 2nd commandment

The second commandment forbids images of the persons of the Godhead. In the month of December it is easy to forget this. So how can Paul say that Jesus was publicly portrayed as crucified before the eyes of the Galatians (Galatians 3:1-5)? Did he draw them a picture, or put on a tragic drama? No, in the new covenant, we see Jesus publicly portrayed as crucified in the preaching of the word, and in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper (the symbol of His sufferings that He Himself has authorized). John Calvin speaks beautifully of the former: “Let those who want to discharge the ministry of the gospel learn aright to speak, to penetrate into consciences, so that people may see Christ crucified and his blood flow. When the church has such painters as these, she no longer needs wood and stone, that is dead images, she no longer requires pictures and icons.” (Quoted by Carl Kalberkamp in his sermon on Galatians 3:1-5, 12/7/14)

Preachers, pray that we will grow in our ability to penetrate the consciences of God’s people with artistry and skill, setting forth the sufferings of Christ in verbal form such that our people, and the lost, are convicted of their sin and of the sufficiency of Jesus’ atoning work. Brothers and sisters, pray for us (Colossians 4:3)!



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