Calvin Fridays: Hidden As If Buried

Court room in old city hall, Toronto

“For Christ’s righteousness, which as it alone is perfect can bear the sight of God, must appear in court on our behalf, and stand surety in judgment. Furnished with this righteousness, we obtain continual forgiveness of sins in faith. Covered with this purity, the sordidness and uncleanness of our imperfections are not ascibed to us but are hidden as if buried that they may not come into God’s judgment, until the hour arrives when, the old man slain and clearly destroyed in us, the divine goodness will receive us into blessed peace with the new Adam.”- John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 14, Section 12.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”- Galatians 2:20.

What better hope is there today? If we stand before God naked and pleading our merits, we will be undone by His holiness and splendor. And yet Christians stand, today, hidden and buried. Christians are hidden in Christ, for He covers them as a shroud, sheltering them and fortifying them. He is their sole righteousness, their only plea. Christians will stand before the Judge on that day and lift up only Jesus, pleading the merits of His blood. His people are not only hidden, they are buried. Paul here describes himself as having been put to death by a cross. His old man has been stifled, has been put to death and will be put to death, but it is, nevertheless, buried. His new life is Christ. What better offer can the Son of God give us? What more could we want? Do we want something to work for? Do we want to earn something? Then all of our good works will be burned up in the sight of Infinite and Piercing Perfection. All of our shady and impure motives will be revealed when all is exposed. All the selfishness of our good works will stand out as a beacon of imperfection, blazing like the sun in front of the Father. And then what will we say? Christians know the better way, for Christ has offered a better way. His way is for us to be put to death, our old man to be crucified, so we can become new, so He, by His Spirit, can indwell us and change us from the inside. He offers to give us His record of righteousness, earned for thirty three years. And since Christ was the God-Man, this righteousness is God-righteousness. It alone can bear the penetrating nature of God’s gaze. It alone can endure. It is by hiding in Christ, our old man buried and crucified, that we shall survive that great Judgment Day. It is by being in Christ that we will come out on the other side, as a train passes through a dark mountain pass, to Glorious, Beautiful Day.

Railroad Tunnel in Romania


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