John Calvin’s Deathbed Confession

John Calvin on his Deathbed – pure gospel to the very end!

Before we leave John Calvin, I couldn’t resist adding this wonderful statement from his last will and testament. Here he is, in Geneva, dying. And so he calls for a scribe and begins to dictate his will.

At the beginning of the document he firstly, gives thanks to God for the gospel. And he does so in such a beautiful manner that a careful reading of the following section from the Will would cause any true child of God to both identify with the sentiments and truths expressed and to worship the triune God for His amazing grace.

From his Will, 1564
‘I render thanks to God, not only because he has had compassion on me,
his poor creature, to draw me out of the abyss of idolatry in which I was plunged,
in order to bring me to the light of his gospel and make me a partaker of the doctrine of salvation, of which I was altogether unworthy,
and continuing his mercy he has supported me amid so many sins and shortcomings, which were such that I well deserved to be rejected by him a hundred thousand times
– but what is more, he has so far extended his mercy towards me as to make use of me and of my labour, to convey and announce the truth of his gospel;
protesting that it is my wish to live and die in this faith which he has bestowed on me, having no other hope nor refuge except in his gratuitous adoption, upon which all my salvation is founded;
embracing the grace which he has given me in our Lord Jesus Christ, and accepting the merits of his death and passion,
in order that by this means all my sins may be buried;
and praying him so to wash and cleanse me by the blood of this great Redeemer, which has been shed for us poor sinners,
that I may appear before his face, bearing as it were, his image.’ (Letters p. 249-250)

Quoted in Letters of John Calvin’ Banner of Truth (1980 edition)

Read about the birth of the Reformation in England: It all started with a testimony!

© 2009 Lex Loizides


One thought on “John Calvin’s Deathbed Confession

  1. A.F March 1, 2013 / 8:55 am

    John Calvin was truly a man after God’s own heart, much like David in the Bible. It is evident that even on his deathbed he had a heart of gratitude towards our Lord and Saviour. I believe that if every Christian is able to harness the fundamental attitude Calvin had there would not be the problem of apathetic Christianity as so present in the world today. What is also remarkable about his character is the admittance of wrongs and his humility. In the above text as spoken by Calvin he says that “unworthy” of salvation. Although many may know this (hence why Jesus came and died for all mankind’s sin) it is only after truly accepting this fact that genuine humility has manifested. The character of Calvin was also shown in the text above. He details all of his human deficiencies and how they would have prevented him from accomplishing God’s work were it not for Jesus sacrifice. Now, after accepting Christ he was privileged enough to be part of Gods’ plan and preach the Good News wherever he went. This was the reason why Calvin was so earnest tp preach wherever he went; because those who have been forgiven much love much. So in order to show his love he spoke of the Truth.

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