"( Paraphrase- Since I was too stubbornly devoted to the superstitions of my religion to be easily removed from the profound abyss of mire) God, by a sudden conversion subdued and brought my mind to a teachable frame, which was more hardened in such matters than might have been expected from one at my early period of life."
"Having thus received some taste and knowledge of true godliness I was immediately inflamed with so intense a desire to make progress therein, and although I did not altogether leave off other studies, I yet pursued them with less ardor."
I love Sinclair Ferguson's quote about this:
"His language here is strikingly different from that of contemporary evangelicalism. It is hard to imagine him speaking about 'letting Jesus into my heart' or 'praying to receive Jesus': indeed, for Calvin, the movement of conversion is not 'getting Christ in' but 'getting into Christ"."
Ferguson pointed out two distinctives about this conversion:
Before conversion- he was hardened and unteachable- had a distaste for things of God
Post conversion- inflamed with desire- his mind now softened to a teachable frame- his rebellion was overcome by grace- and he had a desire to progress in 'true godliness'.
Obviously, there can be a lot of landmines here and we would do well to walk through the Scriptures on Soteriology- but this view of conversion is very important in an environment like the one I teach.
The positives of a Christian school do outweigh the negatives. But I have always believed a unintended consequence of a Christian school is a spiritual hardening that comes from those who continually reject the terms of the covenant. They are covenant breakers.
If I ever have a permanent classroom, I think I will post a sign: Jesus says in Matthew 13:12- To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. (NLT)
So I have my hard heads- they sit in mockery and judgment. I love them. I cry out to God to break their callousness and call them home. I want to improve as a teacher so that only the gospel will be the offense.
But I am not discouraged.
Who knows? My most uninterested, rebellious student could be the next John Calvin.
He just needs to get into Jesus.