Imitation of the Saints

John Calvin, in his commentary on Luke 9:54, says this:

Here we see to what we are driven by a foolish imitation of the holy fathers. James and John plead the example of Elijah, but they do not consider how far they differ from Elijah. … Neglecting the exercise of judgment, they were apes rather than imitators of the holy fathers. … Therefore the examples of the saints are no defense to us, unless the same Spirit that directed them dwell in us.

The church is filled with tradition. It’s hard to escape. Sometimes, it’s a comfort, and sometimes, it’s almost smothering. But, good or bad, just because there’s an example — even an example in Scripture (much less the example of a few years’ or decades’ practice) — doesn’t mean it’s what God wants us to do now. We’re not the same people, and our context isn’t the same context.


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