Friday, April 10, 2009

Christ: Sacrifice and Victor

Yet we must not understand that he fell under a curse that overwhelmed him; rather - in taking the curse upon himself - he crushed, broke, and scattered its whole force. Hence faith apprehends an acquittal in the condemnation of Christ, a blessing in his curse. Paul with good reason, therefore, magnificently proclaims the triumph that Christ obtained for himself on the cross, as if the cross, which was full of shame, had been changed into a triumphal chariot! For he says that "Christ nailed to the cross the written bond which stood against us . . . and disarmed the principalities . . . and made a public example of them" [Col. 2:14-15]. And no wonder! For "Christ . . . through the eternal Spirit offered himself," as another apostle testifies [Heb. 9:14]. From this came that transmutation of nature. But that these things may take root firmly and deeply in our hearts, let us keep sacrifice and cleansing constantly in mind. For we could not believe with assurance that Christ is our redemption, ransom, and propitiation unless he had been a sacrificial victim. Blood is accordingly mentioned wherever Scripture discusses the mode of redemption. Yet Christ's shed blood served, not only as a satisfaction, but also as a laver [cf. Eph. 5:26; Titus 3:5; Rev. 1:5] to wash away our corruption.

-John Calvin, Institutes 2.16.6

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