Christianity 201

September 13, 2014

Calvin on the Sufficiency of Christ

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.
 ~ II Cor. 3:5

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
 ~II Peter 1:3

Gloria Furman is a wife, mother, cross-cultural worker, and the author of Glimpses of Grace and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full. Before we let her share today’s devotional, I want you to hear some of her story:

When my husband Dave and I got married in 2002, we knew that we wanted to serve in cross-cultural ministry. But we didn’t know any of the “w’s”—where, what, when. While we prepared for the “w’s” we completed seminary degrees and the details began to fall into place. A month before graduation our first child was born, and the next year the three of us stepped off the plane and onto the sizzling tarmac of an airport in the Middle East. In 2010, Redeemer Church of Dubai was planted. In our years here in the desert the Lord graciously blessed us with three more children. Life anywhere is a challenging, tremendous gift from God, and life in Arabia is no different.

To read more of her blog, start by clicking the title below to read today’s devotional at source.

Looking for bread in all the wrong places

Mindless snacking. Perhaps we all have a tendency to do this to some degree. I suppose it isn’t too harmful if you’re crunching on carrot sticks and not walnut brownie mix.

Sadly, we can even mindlessly feed junk food to our soul. A lot of times we hardly ever notice that we’re doing this until a friend mercifully points it out. Those can be awkward conversations, but we all need people in our life who are willing to step into the awkward fray and bring out Isaiah 55:2 for our consideration. Friend, why are you spending your money on things that aren’t bread, and working for things that don’t satisfy? Eat what is good instead!

When Jesus meets people who are looking for bread in all the wrong places, he consistently points thirsty and hungry people to himself. He is the one who gives water from the fountain of life (John 4:14, Rev. 21:6) and he is the one who gives the food that endures to eternal life (John 6:27). This is no mindless soul food snacking– Jesus is inviting us to a feast! The cost of bread in Jesus’ kingdom is simply to be hungry for him.

Isaiah 12:3 says, “With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Our faith does the work of dropping our bucket into the well of salvation, joyfully drawing upon Christ for everything we need.

I love how John Calvin has carefully parsed out the implications of Christ’s sufficiency in the packed-solid sentences below (I added some bullet points for fun). This quote from Institutes is worth a slow read.

“We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ. We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else.

  • If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is ‘of him.’
  • If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in his anointing.
  • If we seek strength, it lies in his dominion;
  • if purity, in his conception;
  • if gentleness, it appears in his birth. For by his birth he was made like us in all respects that he might learn to feel our pain.
  • If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion;
  • if acquittal, in his condemnation;
  • if remission of the curse, in his cross;
  • if satisfaction, in his sacrifice;
  • if purification, in his blood;
  • if reconciliation, in his descent into hell;
  • if mortification of the flesh, in his tomb;
  • if newness of life, in his resurrection;
  • if immortality, in the same;
  • if inheritance of all blessings, in his Kingdom;
  • if untroubled expectation of judgment, in the power given to him to judge.

In short, since rich store of every kind of good abounds in him, let us drink our fill from this fountain, and from no other.” (John Calvin, Institutes 2:16.19)

Perhaps eternity is an eternity long because we’ll need that much time to drink our fill of the infinite perfections of Jesus.


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