Monthly Archives: March 2009

Forthcoming Calvin 500 Titles

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In the year the John Calvin’s 500th anniversary of his birth is being celebrated all over the world, I am looking forward to some titles due to come out in conjunction with the anniversary celebration:

 

Ford Lewis Battles, The Piety of John Calvin: A Collection of His Spiritual Prose, Poems and Hymns (P&R [reprint])

 

Frans Breukelman, The Structure of Sacred Doctrine in Calvin’s Theology (Eerdmans)

 

 Sung Wook Chung, editor, John Calvin and Evangelical Theology: Legacy and Prospect (Westminster/John Knox)

 

Machiel Van Den Berg, Calvin and His Friends (Eerdmans)

 

Martin Hirzel and Martin Smallman, editors, John Calvin’s Impact on Church and Society, 1509-2009 (Eerdmans)

 

Anthony N. S. Lane,  A Reader’s Guide to Calvin’s Institutes (Baker Academic)

 

W. Robert Godfrey, John Calvin: Pilgrim and Pastor (Crossway)

 

You might also enjoy the recently released, John Calvin: A Pilgrim’s Life, by Herman Selderhuis (IVP Academic)

 

 

Calvin Catechism: Fri March 27 Q 86: Comfort in the Coming of Christ

Fri March 27 Q 86: Comfort in the Coming of Christ

 


86. Does the fact that Christ is to come gain to judge the world bring us any consolation?
Yes, indeed. For we are certain that He will appear only for our salvation.


A very consistent idea in Scripture is that God will not sweep away the righteous as he does the wicked. Instead the Lord will distinguish his elect from the sons of the Evil One:

 

Gen 18:23 Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?   25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

 

Ps 1:5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

 

I Cor 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

 

Phil 3:19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Without this distinction between the Lord’s own and the wicked, all persons ever born would perish, for we all come into this world in the likeness of the original transgressor, Adam. But we are sure that we will not perish, but be distinguished from the wicked, because of the work of Christ for us.

 

The return of Christ our King will bring about a terrible end for his enemies. But it means that we will be swept away into his presence, among the assembly of the righteous, into the kingdom of God, receiving the fullness of our citizenship from our Savior, which will include vindication. In this we find comfort in the coming of the Judge. May you come quickly, Lord Jesus!

 

 

 

 

 On Facebook.

 

 

NYT Science Page: Jurassic Sea Preditor: The Wonder of God’s Creation

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“Therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6).

The New York Times Science page reported of the findings of “Preditor X,” mentioning also a special to appear on the History Channel. Reading the report and seeing the HC video clip reminded me of how small I am before the Creator. For, if this “Preditor X” is not Levianthan – and I am not saying it is – than woe to him who questions the sovereign goodness of the one who can stick a hook in the nose of Leviathan–that unknown creature even greater than Preditor X. Job is right: we all should bow in dust and ashes.

I also am reminded of the great chapter in, The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God’s Delight in Being God, on “The Pleasure of God in His Creation.”  About 18 years ago the illustration on the revelation of God in the creation from an article in Ranger Rick started to open my eyes to new wonders about our God. I have clipped a portion of the sermon-printed version from desiringgod.org and pasted in below. May we all read and marvel at the works of the Almighty!

It seems to me that creation praises God by simply being what it was created to be in all its incredible variety. And since most of the creation is beyond the awareness of mankind (in the reaches of space, and in the heights of mountains and at the bottom of the sea), it wasn’t created merely to serve purposes that have to do with us. It was created for the enjoyment of God.

Ranger Rick arrives in our house. I open it and read about the European water spider that lives at the bottom of a lake, but breathes air. It does a somersault on the surface of the water and catches a bubble of air, and holds it over the breathing holes in the middle of its body while it swims to the bottom of the lake and spins a silk web among the seaweed. Then it goes up and brings down bubble after bubble until a little balloon of air is formed where it can live and eat and mate.

I sit there with my mouth open and I think God smiles and says, “Yes, John, and I have been enjoying that little piece of art for 10,000 years before anybody on earth knew it existed. And if you only knew how many millions of other wonders there are beyond your sight that I behold with gladness everyday!”

Right here in our text, Psalm 104:25-26 it says,

Yonder is the sea, great and wide, which teems with things innumerable, living things both small and great. There go the ships, and Leviathan which thou didst form to sport in it.

Why did God create great sea monsters? Just to play, to frolic, in the ocean where no man can see but only God. The teeming ocean declares the glory of God, and praises him a hundred miles from any human eye. That’s the second statement about why God rejoices in his works.

See also this National Geographic post.

Kathryn Jean Lopez: Stem Cells, Washing Machines, Feminism, Obama

kathryn-lopezNRO Editor Kathryn Jean Lopez as written a good piece on contemporary feminism entitled, “Stem Cells, Washing Machines, and Women’s Lib.” Here is an excerpt:

But back from the eggs to the washing machines — a story in which the hot-button hyperbole has almost totally obscured the facts. The mass media have accused the Vatican of asserting that washing machines have done more for women’s lib than affordable birth control. In truth, the ruckus arose from an opinion piece (written by a woman) in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. The title, in the most commonly cited English translation, was: “The Washing Machine and the Liberation of Women — Put in the Detergent, Close the Lid and Relax.” Addressing the question of what 20th-century phenomenon did the most for women, the author wrote, “The debate is heated. Some say the pill, some say abortion rights and some the right to work outside the home. Some, however, dare to go further: the washing machine.”

If you think she is crazy, you should know there are a lot of us who buy into that line of thinking. I wrote a piece years ago titled “How Birth Control Changed America for the Worst.” And with every Yaz birth-control-pill commercial in primetime, I become more convinced. Women weren’t liberated when they were told they could act like men sexually, because anyone who lives in the real world knows that biologically and practically, such a thing is impossible. And if you doubt that, watch Jennifer Aniston’s character in He’s Just Not That into You. It was the sexual revolution that made her misery possible — living into her 40s with a guy who didn’t have to think about real commitment thanks to the Pill. If you think that’s just a movie, talk to the girls coming out of the theater after any showing. They’ll tell you it just about perfectly depicts the social scene they live with in 2009 America.

Calvin Catecism: Sat Mar 14 Q 72

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Sat Mar 14 Q 72: The End of Evil Within


72. Do we not have any other benefit from it?
Yes, we do. If we are true members of Christ, our old man is crucified, our flesh is mortified, so that evil desires no longer reign in us.  

 

The Biblical imagery of the end of sin in us is of a man who has been crucified. Our Adamic ways have been nailed to a cross, left to asphyxiate and die in shame. Yet the Biblical command requires of us (by grace) to crucify the “flesh:”

 

Rom 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

 

 

Col 3:5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

 

Wisely, the catechism recognizes “true members of Christ,” who, as Paul says, “have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5:24). Evil may be with us, following as one crucified hoping to be revived by a failure on our part to appropriate the Cross/the Gospel to all of life – that is, to live by grace in the power of the Spirit. But believers no longer allow evil or sin to stand in the ruling position (Rom 6:12). Only Christ rules in the lives of believers for only Christ is their King. When temptation to evil comes, we must go back to the Cross and leave the “old man” there with Christ.

 

 

Recommended Reading: The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin by Kris Lundgaard, and The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges.

 

Equipped For Life Broadcast and Engagements

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Thank you to Pastor Christopher Brooks, apologist, Senior Pastor of Evangel Ministries and host of Equipped For Life Radio Broadcast, for inviting me to join his show today. Soon the broadcast will be archived here. For today’s listeners, information on the book can be found at the Where Are All The Brothers? page tab above. The book can be purchased here.

In addition to today’s broadcast, I will be speaking at the following events:

March 28, Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference, Fredericksburg, VA

April 2-4, Southwest Christian Fellowship Men’s Retreat, Atlanta, GA

April 24-26, Los Angeles Bible School Men’s Conference, Los Angeles, CA

May 20, Fourth Presbyterian Church, Fourth Night–Wednesday Adult Bible Study, Bethesda, MD (make up from January 28 snow date)

June 22, Paterson Sovereignty of God Conference, Paterson, NJ

Stem Cells and the Case for Life (From the Crossway Blog)

case-for-lifeWith President Obama’s executive order repealing the policy that limited federal tax dollars for stem cell research, this month’s publication of Scott Klusendorf’s The Case for Life couldn’t be more timely.

Klusendorf is the president of Life Training Institute, where he trains pro-life advocates to persuasively defend their views. Join us as he discusses the controversy of stem cell research as it relates to the pro-life position:

1. What are stem cells and why are  scientists eager to use them in treating disease?
Stem cells are fast growing, unspecialized cells that can reproduce themselves and grow new organs for the body. All 210 different types of human tissue originate from these primitive  cells. Because they have the potential to grow into almost any kind of tissue—including nerves, bones, and muscle, scientists believe that the introduction of healthy stem cells into a patient may restore lost function to damaged  organs, especially the brain.

2. Why is stem cell research focused, at  least in part, on embryos?
Human embryos have an abundant supply of stem cells which scientists are eager to harvest in hopes of treating Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other illnesses. The practice of  securing these early cells is known as embryonic stem cell research (ESCR).  The problem is that you must destroy the embryo to secure its stem cells.

3. Does that mean Christians should oppose all stem cell research?
Absolutely not. Pro-life advocates agree that we should save lives. We also support funding stem-cell research. But, we’re opposed to one kind of stem-cell research that requires destroying  defenseless human embryos so that other humans may (allegedly) benefit. That’s immoral.

4. The President and others have stated that embryonic stem cell research is morally complex. Do you agree?
Despite claims to the contrary, ESCR is not morally complicated. It comes down to just one question: Is the embryo a member of the human family? If so, killing it to benefit others is a serious  moral wrong. It treats the embryonic human being as a commodity we trade to  enhance our own well being. If, however, the embryos in question are not  human, why not put them in the crosshairs of scientists? Unfortunately, that is precisely the question President Obama ignored when he signed an executive order designating federal funds for destructive embryo research.

5. What about the claim that embryos leftover in fertility clinics are going to die anyway, so why not put them to  good use saving lives?
True, they will die—because people want to kill them for research! Nevertheless, a 2004 study shows that most of these embryos are still wanted by their parents (who pay high fees to store them). And unless Congress wants to override parental rights, few are truly available for research.

Moreover, there are moral considerations that call into question “they’re going to die anyway” argument. Suppose you oversee a Cambodian orphanage with 200 toddlers that are abandoned. The  facility cannot care for them any longer. Water levels are critically low and food supplies are exhausted. It’s only a matter of time before starvation and disease set in. A scientist has offered to take the toddlers off your hands and use them for grisly medical research designed to cure cancer. He confronts you with the hard facts: Many of these children will die soon and there’s nothing you can do to prevent it, so why let all those organs go to waste? Nonetheless, you refuse. You could never, even for a moment, consider turning  the kids over to the scientist on grounds that “these kids are going to die anyway so let’s put them to good use.” True, given your impoverished  circumstances, you are powerless to save them, but you would never be complicit in actively killing vulnerable human beings, which is what ESCR  does.

Of course, there are many other examples to consider. In short, unless one begins with the assumption that the embryos in question are not human beings, the “they’re  gonna die anyway” claim doesn’t work. All of us are going to die sometime. Do those of us who will die later have the right to kill and exploit those who will die sooner? So once again, we’re back to the question we started with:  What are these “excess” embryos? If they are human beings, I see only one morally acceptable option: Wait for adoptive parents.

6. President Obama said that ideology should  not interfere with science. What do you make of that claim?

Well, the claim that ideology should not get in the way of science is itself an ideological claim, and a highly controversial one at that. I found this the most troubling part of his speech. If he is correct that scientific progress trumps morality, one can hardly condemn Hitler for grisly medical experiments on Jews. Nor can one criticize the Tuskegee experiments of the 1940s in which black men suffering from syphilis were promised treatment, only to have it denied so scientists could study the disease. Pro-life advocates are not anti-science. We are not anti-cures. We just insist that scientific progress must be tied to moral truth.

7. You claimed in a previous interview that the President presented the nation with a false choice: medical progress versus moral considerations.

That’s exactly what he did. Not only is embryonic stem cell research immoral, but it may be unnecessary. First, numerous  peer-reviewed studies indicate that adult stem cells are more effective at treating disease than previously thought. Unlike embryo stem cell research, we can extract these adult cells without harming the donor. Critics of the pro-life view, like the late actor Christopher Reeve, insist that these adult cells won’t work. However, the evidence suggests just the opposite. So far, adult stem cells are outperforming their embryonic counterparts.

Second, new research suggests we can pursue embryo cell treatments in morally acceptable ways. Altered Nuclear Transfer (or ANT) is one new technology which seeks a morally acceptable means of producing pluripotent stem cells (the functional equivalent of embryonic stem cells) without the creation and destruction of human embryos. Instead, researchers will use biological entities that have some of the properties of  embryos, but are not living organisms. In 2007, researchers in Japan and the United States, using slightly different methods, successfully coaxed ordinary adult skin cells to function just like pluripotent embryonic ones. This remarkable breakthrough demonstrated that pluripotent cells can be obtained without destroying human embryos. This should come as thrilling news for everyone in the cloning debate intent on using embryo cells.

8. President Obama said he would strictly forbid using federal funds for reproductive cloning. The headlines even said, “Obama Says No to Cloning!” Did the President ban cloning?

Here’s what’s going on. Advocates of ESCR, including the President, want us to distinguish “therapeutic cloning” from “reproductive” cloning. But the distinction is misleading because all cloning is reproductive. So-called “reproductive” cloning means allowing the cloned human to live. “Therapeutic” cloning means creating him for research, but killing him before  birth. In either case, the act of cloning is exactly the same and results in a  living human embryo.

To learn more and be equipped to engage our culture in this area, check out Scott Klusendorf’s new book, The Case for Life. Or, it may be of interest to listen to Scott as he makes a compelling pro-life case without appeal to a particular religious position.

From the Crossway Blog. Pick up an ESV Study Bible while you are at the blog.

Michael Foust: Q&A: Frequently asked stem cell questions

stem-cellsPosted on Mar 9, 2009 | by Michael Foust

WASHINGTON (BP)–President Obama’s executive order March 9 will drastically expand the federal government’s role in embryonic stem cell research. Following is a list of frequently asked questions, along with answers, about stem cells.

– What are stem cells?

Stem cells are the body’s master cells from which all cells and tissues are formed. Because some types of stem cells in theory can develop into any type of tissue, they seemingly hold the promise to cure diseases and other ailments.

– Where are stem cells found?

Generally, in two sources: 1) throughout the human body, such as in skin cells, and 2) in embryos. Stem cells found in the human body are referred to as “adult stem cells,” while stem cells in the second category are known as “embryonic stem cells.” Adult stem cell research is harmless and is not controversial. Embryonic stem cell research, though, requires the destruction of embryos and is very controversial. President Obama’s executive order pertained primarily to this second category.

– What did President Obama’s executive order do?

Obama’s order overturned President Bush’s stem cell limits, which had prohibited federal funds from being used for conducting research on embryonic stem cell lines created after Aug. 9, 2001 (the date of Bush’s announcement). Obama’s order allows taxpayer dollars to be used for funding research on hundreds of other embryonic stem cell lines.

– Was embryonic stem cell research banned prior to Obama’s order?

No. All embryonic stem cell research has been legal in the private sector, and some of it (see above) already was receiving federal funding.

– Didn’t Obama say he was opposed to human cloning?

Not really. Obama appeared to rule out human cloning in his statement, but he also issued a qualifier. He said, “We will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction.” Obama apparently is opposed to reproductive cloning — that is, the actual cloning of a person whereby a baby is born — but he is leaving the door open for federal funds being used for therapeutic cloning, which is the cloning of an embryo in order to harvest its stem cells. In other words, he may be for cloning, as long as the cloned embryo is destroyed. Opponents call it “cloning and killing.” The same laboratory procedure — known as somatic cell nuclear transfer — is used for both types of cloning.

– Why do some people oppose embryonic stem cell research?

For three basic reasons: 1) it requires the destruction of embryos, tiny human beings, 2) adult stem cell research, thus far, has had more success, and 3) a new form of stem cell research known as “induced pluripotent” stem cell research could provide embryonic-like stem cells without the ethical dilemma. Some opponents of embryonic stem cell research also say the “extra” embryos used in the research should instead be given a chance to be adopted in “snowflake” embryo adoption programs, whereby they would be implanted in a woman and grow into a baby.

– What are induced pluripotent stem cells?

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) are a new form of stem cells whereby scientists reprogram adult skin cells into embryonic-like stem cells — and thus provide scientists with the stem cells they desire without the need to destroy embryos. Embryos are not destroyed or created during the process. iPS stem cells were introduced to the world during a breakthrough announcement in 2007, and on March 2 of this year scientists announced they had found a better way to make them that would be safer for patients. One scientist involved in the March 2 announcement said iPS stem cells perhaps could eliminate “the need for human embryos as a source of stem cells.”

– What does “pluripotent” mean?

The term “pluripotent” means the stem cells theoretically can morph into any of the body’s issues. Embryonic stem cells also are pluripotent. By contrast, adult stem cells are “multipotent,” meaning they can morph into many, though not all, of the body’s cell types. iPS stem cells would have an advantage over embryonic stem cells in that they would already have the patient’s own DNA — because the patient’s skin cell was used to make them. They would, then, be less likely to be rejected by the patient’s body. There have yet to be any human trials using iPS stem cells.

– If induced pluripotent stem cell research shows so much progress, then why do scientists support embryonic stem cell research?

Scientists who back research involving embryos say they are excited about the potential of iPS research but want both types to be funded to determine which one is more successful.

– Has embryonic stem cell research in the private sector found any cures?

No. Scientists have struggled to control embryonic stem cells in the lab. Often, experiments involving such stem cells in animals have led to tumors. Bernadine Healy, the head of the National Institutes of Health under the first President Bush, wrote in a March 4 column for U.S. News & World Report that “several events” since Obama took office have “reinforced the notion that embryonic stem cells, once thought to hold the cure for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and diabetes, are obsolete.” She pointed in part to the iPS breakthrough.

– Has adult stem cell research led to any cures?

Although scientists who work with adult stem cell research probably wouldn’t use the word “cure,” they have seen adult stem cells do wonders in specific patients. One organization that keeps track of such advances — known as Do No Harm — says adult stem cells have treated 73 different ailments, including diabetes and leukemia. In fact, most of the attention-grabbing headlines relating to advances in stem cell research involve adult stem cells, not embryonic stem cells.

– How long will it take scientists to find cures involving embryonic stem cells?

No one knows, but it likely is years away, at best. In 2006 a California institute, set up to oversee $3 billion in public embryonic stem cell funding, released a report with its goals. The report promised no cures at the end of a 10-year period and said the institute simply hoped to have “preliminary evidence” from at least one embryonic stem cell trial at the end of the period. Scientists’ understanding of embryonic stem cells, the report said, is “incomplete.”
–30–
Michael Foust is an assistant editor of Baptist Press.

From Baptist Press: http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=30032

 

Life Together: The Grace of Christian Community, or Not Taking Christian Fellowship for Granted

Life Together “It is not simply to be taken for granted that the Christian has the privilege of living among other Christians….[Between] the death of Christ and the Last Day it is only by a gracious anticipation of the last things that Christians are privileged to live in visible fellowship with other Christians. It is by the grace of God that a congregation is permitted to gather visibly in this world to share God’s word and sacrament. Not all Christians receive this blessing. The imprisoned, the sick, the scattered lonely, the proclaimers of the Gospel in heathen lands stand alone. They know that the visible fellowship is a blessing. They remember, as the Psalmist did, how they went ‘with the multitude…to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday’ (Ps. 42:4). But they remain alone in far countries, a scattered seed according to God’s will….The prisoner, the sick person, the Christian in exile sees in the companionship of a fellow Christian a physical sign of the gracious presence of the triune God. Visitor and visited in loneliness recognize in each other the Christ who is present in the body; they receive and meet each other as one meets the Lord, in reverence, humility, and joy. They receive each other’s benedictions as the benedictions of the Lord Jesus Christ. But if there is so much blessing and joy even in a single encounter of brother with brother, how inexhaustible are the riches that open up for those who by God’s will are privileged to live in daily fellowship of life with other Christians!..Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren.”

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together (New York: Harper One, 1954): 17, 18-19, 20. Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) was imprisoned and executed by the Nazis for his resistance to Hitler.

Fri Mar 6 Q. 65: The Propitiation: Jesus Wrestling Down Hell

Fri Mar 6 Q. 65: The Propitiation: Jesus Wrestling Down Hell

 

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65. What is the meaning of the additional clause: “He descended into hell”?
That He not only suffered natural death, which is the separation of the body from the soul, but also that His soul was pierced with amazing anguish, which St. Peter calls the pains of death (Acts 2:24).

 


It is hard for me to suggest, as some have done, that Calvin, in commenting on this part of the Creed, was offering simply a summary of the meaning of “he suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried.” Calvin does see a summary, but he also sees “a mystery” contained therein. For in the Institutes he writes,

 

“If Christ had died only a bodily death, it would have been ineffectual. No — it was expedient at the same time for him to undergo the severity of God’s vengeance, to appease his wrath and satisfy his just judgment. For this reason, he must also grapple hand to hand with the armies of hell and the dread of everlasting death…The point is that the Creed sets forth what Christ suffered in the sight of men, and then appositely speaks of that invisible and incomprehensible judgment which he underwent in the sight of God in order that we might know not only that Christ’s body was given as the price of our redemption, but that he paid a greater and more excellent price in suffering in his soul the terrible torments of a condemned and forsaken man…He had, therefore, to conquer that fear which by nature continually torments and oppresses all mortals. This he could do only by fighting it. Now it will soon be more apparent that his was no common sorrow or one engendered by a light cause. Therefore, by his wrestling hand to hand with the devil’s power, with the dread of death, with the pains of hell, he was victorious and triumphed over them, that in death we may not now fear those things which our Prince has swallowed up [cf. 1 Peter 3:22, Vg.]” (Institutes, II.16.10-11).

 

However, in setting forth what Calvin actually said,  I also do not agree with Calvin or the Creed on the personal descent into hell, for I think the weight of Scripture is against (or at the least, silent on) the Descent. But it is not silent about Christ experiencing the full wrath of God for our sins in our place. For as Paul writes, 

 

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Rom 3:23-26; cf. Heb 2:17; I Jn 2:2; 4:10).

 

As the Propitiation, Christ took upon himself the very wrath of God due to us for our sins. In doing so, and then in rising from the dead, he did wrestle down death and hell, being victorious over them. Therefore, his very own, who are elect in him, too escape death and hell because he has stepped into the fight on their behalf – on our behalf! – wrestling down death and hell before they could defeat us.

 

 

Beholding the wonder of this atonement, I therefore could not agree more with Calvin—that it would be wise for us to “duly to feel how much our salvation cost the Son of God” (II.16.12).

 

 

 

Recommended for further enjoyment:  1 Peter (TNTC) by Wayne Grudem, in which he gives very lengthy (but easy to follow) discussion on the history of the inclusion of “he descended into hell” into the Creed as he comments on I Pet 3:18-19. The TNTC series, formerly published by Eerdmans, is being republished by InterVarsity. Grudem discusses the same in his Systematic Theology (Zondervan, 1995).