I was reading today in Calvin's commentary on Psalm 51:7 and found some words that strongly reminded me of Calvin's commentary on John 3:16. There Calvin says that "our minds cannot find calm repose, until we arrive at the unmerited love of God." Here's the quote from Calvin's comment on the Psalm:
The truth is, that we cannot properly pray for the pardon of sin until we have come to a persuasion that God will be reconciled to us. Who can venture to open his mouth in God’s presence unless he be assured of his fatherly favor? And pardon being the first thing we should pray for, it is plain that there is no inconsistency in having a persuasion of the grace of God, and yet proceeding to supplicate his forgiveness.
John Calvin, Comment. Psalm 51:7.
This idea that faith sees God as propitious toward us — as pacified, as an indulgent father — is a strong one in Calvin's theology; it runs like a vein of silver through his teaching. You find it cropping up everywhere.
The liberals, perhaps, overemphasized the fatherly love of God to the exclusion of faith in Christ, but some modern evangelicals may have improperly downplayed the fatherly love of God in reaction to the liberals. Calvin is calling me back.