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Christ’s union with us in the incarnation is the foundation for our union with him, both now and in the eternal future. It is a pledge of our sonship, as Calvin wrote, for “our common nature with Christ is the pledge of our fellowship with the Son of God; and clothed with our flesh he vanquished death and sin together that the victory and triumph might be ours. He offered as a sacrifice the flesh he received from us, that he might wipe out our guilt by his act of expiation and appease the Father’s righteous wrath.”
-Robert Letham, Union with Christ: In Scripture, History, and Theology (Phillisburg NJ: P&R, 2011) 41, quoting John Calvin, Institutes, 2.12.3
When we come to hear the sermon or take up Holy Scripture to read it, let us not have this foolish presumption of thinking that we shall easily understand by our own wit everything that is said to us and we read; but let us come with reverence waiting entirely on God, well aware that we have need to be taught by his Holy Spirit, and that without that we can in no way understand what is shown us in his Word.
-John Calvin, Commenting on 1 Timothy 3:9. Quoted in Peter Adam, Speaking God’s Words: A Practical Theology of Preaching (Vancouver, BC: Regent College Publishing, 1996), 144.
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:23)
The first thing which we ought to consider in this name is the divine majesty of Christ, so as to yield to him the reverence which is due to the only and eternal God. But we must not, at the same time, forget the fruit which God intended that we should collect and receive from this name. For whenever we contemplate the one person of Christ as God-man, we ought to hold it for certain that, if we are united to Christ by faith, we possess God.
~John Calvin, Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists
From the squalor of a borrowed stable,
By the spirit and a virgin’s faith;
To the anguish and the shame of scandal
Came the Saviour of the human race!
But the skies were filled, with the praise of heav’n,
Shepherds listen as the angels tell
Of the Gift of God, come down to man
At the dawning of Immanuel
King of heaven now the Friend of sinners,
Humble servant in the Father’s hands,
Filled with power and the Holy Spirit,
Filled with mercy for the broken man
Yes he walked my road, and He felt my pain,
Joys and sorrows that I know so well;
Yet His righteous steps, give me hope again –
I will follow my Immanuel!
Through the kisses of a friend’s betrayal,
He was lifted on a cruel cross;
He was punished for a world’s transgressions,
He was suffering to save the lost
He fights for breath, He fights for me
Loosing sinners from the claims of hell;
And with a shout, our souls are free –
Death defeated by Immanuel!
Now He’s standing in the place of honour,
Crowned with glory on the highest throne,
Interceding for His own beloved
Till His Father calls us to bring them home!
Then the skies will part, as the trumpet sounds
Hope of heaven or the fear of hell;
But the Bride will run, to her Lover’s arms,
Giving glory to Immanuel!
The only way by which we can persevere in the right faith is to hold to the foundation, and not in the smallest degree to depart from it. For he who holds not to Christ knows nothing but mere vanity, though he may comprehend heaven and earth. For in Christ are included all the treasures of celestial wisdom. There is no other way of being truly wise than by fixing all our thoughts on Christ alone.
–John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews, trans. John Owen (Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1853), 74-76. Calvin is commenting on Hebrews 13:8.
HT: Tolle Lege
Indeed, this restoration [of the image of God in the Christian] does not take place in one moment or one day or one year; but through continual and sometimes even slow advances God wipes out in his elect the corruptions of the flesh, cleanses them of guilt, consecrates them to himself as temples, renewing all their minds to true purity, that they may practice repentance throughout their lives and know that this warfare will end only at death.
Therefore, I think he has profited greatly who has learned to be very much displeased with himself, not so as to stick fast in this mire and progress no farther, but rather to hasten to God and yearn for him in order that, having been engrafted into the life and death of Christ, he may give attention to continual repentance.
~John Calvin, Institutes, III.iii. 9 and 20.
that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:17b-19)
The love of Christ is held out to us as the subject which ought to occupy our daily and nightly meditations, and in which we ought to be wholly immersed. He who holds in possession of this alone, has enough.
–John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians,
trans. T.H.L. Parker (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965), 169. (HT: Tolle Lege)