Tuesday, September 26, 2006

glorying Christianity

"...we must understand that as long as Christ remains outside of us, and we are separated from him, all that he has suffered and done for the salvation of the human remains useless and of no value for us."
-- p537, Calvin ICR III.i.1

"...how can there be saving faith except in so far as it engrafts us in the body of Christ?"
-- p576, Calvin ICR III.i.39
Calvin conditions his extensive discussion of Christian life upon union with Christ. The life set free from sin by grace is reborn united to Christ. He is now our life. Inseparably. He is counted to us as righteousness, and is our life. No mere lifestyle choice or shallow creed, but a new existence. Piper hits the mark when he asks us to consider the prospect of heaven without Christ - we would not be happy. Our eternity is not some self-indulgent hope, but forever face-to-face with Christ.
"...it is a token of the most miserable blindness to charge with arrogance Christians who dare to glory in the presence of the Holy Spirit, without which glorying Christianity itself does not stand! but, actually, they declare by their own example how truly Christ spoke: 'My Spirit was unknown to the world; he is recognised only by those among whom he abides' ...such glorying is so far from arrogance that if any man is ashamed to confess it, in that very act he betrays his extreme ungratefulness by wickedly suppressing God's goodness, more than he testifies to his modesty or submission"
-- p587-8 Calvin ICR III.i.40-41
New life marked by the Holy Spirit is the essence of our Christian life. We glory in the Cross, we glory in the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives (boasting, humbly).
"...we must not treat the atonement as if its direct benefits to the believers are the whole of our salvation, for they are not. Benefits that the atonement brings us directly are forgiveness and justification, that is, full cancellation of our demerit and present acceptance of our sinful persons into the covenant fellowship of our holy God; permanent peace with thsi God and adption into his family, establishing us as his heirs... But the taproot of our entire salvation, and the true NT frame for cataloguing its ingredient, is our union with Christ himself by the Holy Spirit"
-- Packer, The Atonement in the Life of the Christian, in Hill and James, Glory of the Atonement, pp409-425.
The Cross achieves our liberation from this present evil age, freeing us from the slavery of sin and idolatry, religious zealotry or more obvious evil. And set free from that old life we are bought into union with Christ. New Life. The application of our redemption. A cross-centred life!

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