What Can We Bring to God?

In the midst of his discussion of “The Means of Grace” Calvin examines what allows the believer to come into the presence of God. Another way of saying it would be, “What makes me worthy of entering into God’s presence and asking anything of him?” Here’s how Calvin responds:

This is the worthiness – the best and only kind we can bring to God – to offer our vileness and (so to speak) our unworthiness to him so that his mercy may make us worthy of him; to despair in ourselves so that we may be comforted in him; to abase ourselves so that we may be lifted up by him; to accuse ourselves so that we may be justified by him; moreover, to aspire to that unity which he commends to us in his Supper; and, as he makes all of us one in himself, to desire one soul, one heart, one tongue for us all. If we have weighed and considered these things well, these thoughts, though they may stagger us, will never lay us low. – The Institutes of the Christian Religion, Chapter XVII, Section 42.