Saturday, April 18, 2009

4-18 Sharing the Glory of Christ's Resurrection

Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

Romans 8:28-30- “And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

Calvin: “The same are glorified who are now pressed with the Cross so that their miseries and reproaches do not damage them at all. Although glorification is not yet exhibited but in our Head, yet because we do in a manner see in Him now the inheritance of eternal life, His glory brings such an assurance of our glory that our hope is worthily matched or compared to present possession.”

There is a sense in which we experience the benefits of Christ’s resurrection here and now. While only Christ is raised from the dead (“the firstborn” in Romans 8:29), yet if we believe in his resurrection this gives us so much hope and assurance that it lightens our load. Dr. Ronald Wallace has a great section on this (p. 84 of “Calvin’s Doctrine of the Christian Life): Calvin notes that Paul in Romans 8:30 uses the present tense and describes the present state of the justified as being also now a state of glorification. The basic principle in Calvin’s thinking on this matter is that what has already happened to Christ the Head can be regarded and legitimately spoken of as having already happened to those who are the members of His body by virtue of the union effected by faith. What is possessed by Christ is also already the possession of those who are in Christ.”
It is a little bit like a baby who is being born, the head is already into the world, while the body is still coming out. Jesus, the Bible says is the head of the church (his body- Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:22; 5:23; I Cor. 12). He is “the firstborn among many” according to the Romans 8 passage above. It is like the engine of the train has passed through the tunnel, and we are the box cars heading through too, though some of us haven’t even entered the tunnel yet. There is a sense in which we are justified now, and that assures our glorification. It is like we have been attached to the engine now, and that assures our going through to the other side. So the resurrection of Christ is not just something academic. It is something that affects the way we live-giving us hope and assurance in this life. Though the mountain is high- we will go through. Though the tunnel is dark and uncertain, we have heard that the engine has made it through and we will make it through as well.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your resurrection that assures me of my own resurrection. Thank you for the hope and confidence I can have even now that nothing will defeat your purpose and plan- not even death. Thank you for making me a part of your plan and purpose. Grant me the confidence I need to be bold for you in this life. Amen.

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