Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Calvin Quotes on the Ascension

I don't usually add a lot of extra quotes to my sermons, but this Sunday, I included a few from John Calvin that are worth repeating.

1. I think too many Christian do not realize, believe or see the significance of the fact that after Jesus' resurrection he ascends into heaven so therefore their is a human being in bodily form in heaven. This would cut through all the metaphysical debate of what heaven is and where it is. There is a person who is in a resurrected body who is in heaven--therefore (despite the denial of some) heaven is a place with some sort of (for lack of a better way of saying it) 'spatial' component because a human body can and does take up residence there. This of course connects the believer on earth to Christ in heaven because he/she is united to Christ:
“Since he [Jesus] entered heaven in our flesh, as if in our name, it follows, as the apostle says, that in a sense we already “sit with God in the heavenly places in him” [Eph. 2:6], so that we do not await heaven with a bare hope, but in our Head already possess it.”
--John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2.16.16
2. The compassion of God is turned towards man because of Christ's ministry in heaven. This becomes the ground of confidence and hope, as Hebrews says an 'anchor for our souls.'
“Since no man is worthy to present himself to God and come into his sight, the Heavenly Father himself, to free us at once from shame and fear, which might well have thrown our hearts into despair, has given us His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord to be our advocate [1 John 2:1] and mediator with him [1 Tim. 2:5; cf. Heb. 8:6 and 9:15], by whose guidance we may confidently come to him, with such an intercessor, trusting nothing we ask in his name will be denied us, as nothing can be denied to him by the Father…
“For as soon as God’s dread majesty comes to mind, we cannot but tremble and be driven far away by the recognition of our own unworthiness, until Christ comes forward as intermediary, to change the throne of dreadful glory into the throne of grace.”
--Institutes of the Christian Religion. 3.20.17

3. We no longer have to fear the glory of God that radiates from the throne of God.
He [Christ] fills with grace and kindness the throne that for miserable sinners would other wise have been filled with dread.”
--Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2.16.16
4. Christ has turned the Father's gaze towards us. We have an advocate in heaven:

“For, having entered a sanctuary not made with hands, he appears before the Father’s face as our constant advocate and intercessor [Heb. 7:25; 9:11-12; Rom. 8:34]. Thus he turns the Father’s eyes to his own righteousness to avert his gaze from our sins. He so reconciles the Father’s heart to us that by his intercession he prepares a way and access for us to the Father’s throne.”
--John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2.16.16

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"The Voyages..." Forays into Biblical studies, Biblical exegesis, theology, exposition, life, and occasionally some Star Trek...