“Christ is the law and the gospel in His own person” by Herman Bavinck

“According to the New Testament, all the different testimonies of the Law and the Prophets culminate in Christ. The whole Old Testament is basically fulfilled in Him. In Him all the promises of God are yes and amen (Rom. 15:8; 2 Cor. 1:20).

He is the true Messiah, the king of David’s house (Matt. 2:2; 21:5; 27:11, 37; Luke 1:32); the prophet who proclaims good news to the poor (Luke 4:17); the priest who, according to the Letter to the Hebrews, in His person, office, appointment, sacrifice, and sanctuary far exceeds the priesthood of the Old Testament.

He is the Servant of the Lord who as a slave (δουλος, Phil. 2:7–8) came to serve (Mark 10:45), submitted to the law (Gal. 4:4), fulfilled all righteousness (Matt. 3:15), and was obedient to the death on the cross (Rom. 5:19; Phil. 2:8; Heb. 5:8).

As such Jesus made a distinction between the kingdom of God as it was now being founded by Him in a spiritual sense and as it would one day be revealed in glory; between His first and His second coming, events that in Old Testament prophecy still coincided; between His work in the state of humiliation and that in the state of exaltation. The Christ had to enter glory through suffering (Luke 24:26).

The work that Christ now accomplishes in the state of humiliation is described in the New Testament from many different angles. It is a work that the Father gave Him to do (John 4:34; 5:36; 17:4); generally speaking, it consisted in doing God’s will (Matt. 26:42; John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38) and specifically included the “exegesis” of God (John 1:18), the revelation and glorification of His name (17:4, 6, 26), the communication of God’s words (17:8, 14), and so on.

Christ is a prophet, mighty in words and deeds (Luke 24:19); He is not a new legislator but interprets the law (Matt. 5–7; 22:40; Luke 9:23; 10:28; John 13:34; 1 John 2:7–8), proclaims the gospel (Matt. 12:16–21; Luke 4:17–21), and in both preaches Himself as the fulfiller of the former and the content of the latter.

He is the law and the gospel in His own person. He is not a prophet only by the words He speaks but primarily by what He is. He is the Logos (John 1:1), full of grace and truth (John 1:17–18), anointed without measure with the Spirit (John 3:34), the revelation of the Father (John 14:9; Col. 2:9).

The source of His message is Himself, not inspiration but incarnation. God did not even speak with Him as He did with Moses, face to face, but was in Him and spoke through Him (Heb. 1:3). He is not one prophet among many, but the supreme, the only prophet.

He is the source and center of all prophecy; and all knowledge of God, both in the Old Testament before His incarnation and in the New Testament after His resurrection and ascension, is from Him (1 Pet. 1:11; 3:19; Matt. 11:27).

The will of God that Jesus came to do further included the miracles He performed. The one work (ἐργον) is differentiated in many works (ἐργα, John 5:36), which are the works of His Father (John 5:20; 9:3; 10:32, 37; 14:10).

They prove that the Father loves Him and dwells in Him (John 5:20; 10:38; 14:10), bear witness that the Father sent Him (John 5:36; 10:25), and manifest His divine glory (John 2:11; 11:4, 40). He not only performs miracles but in His person is Himself the absolute miracle.

As the incarnate Spirit-conceived, risen and glorified Son of God, He is Himself the greatest miracle, the center of all miracles, the author of the re-creation of all things, the firstborn of the dead, preeminent in everything (Col. 1:18).”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 3: Sin and Salvation in Christ, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 3: 337-338.

“The whole sum and all parts of our salvation are contained in Jesus Christ” by John Calvin

“Now since we see that the whole sum and all parts of our salvation are contained in Jesus Christ, we must beware of ascribing the tiniest portion of it to anything else.

If we are looking for salvation, the name of Jesus alone tells us that salvation is in Him (Acts 4:12).

If we desire the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we will find them in His anointing.

If we seek strength, it is in His sovereign power.

If purity is our aim, it is set before us in His conception.

If we would find gentleness and kindness, it is in His birth, through which He was made like us, that He might learn compassion (Heb. 5:2).

If we ask for redemption, His passion provides it.

In His condemnation we have our absolution.

If we want pardon from sins curse, that gift lies in His cross.

Atonement we have in His sacrifice, and cleansing in His blood.

Our reconciliation was effected by His descent into hell: the mortification of our flesh is in His burial, and newness of life in His resurrection, through which we also have the hope of immortality.

If we look for the heavenly inheritance, it is attested for us by His ascension.

If we seek help and comfort and abundance of all good things, we have them in His kingdom.

If we would safely await the judgment, we have that blessing since He is our Judge.

In sum, since the rich store of all that is good resides in Him, we must draw it from Him and from no other source.

For there are those who, not content with Him, shift restlessly from one hope to another; and though they continue perhaps to look mostly to Him, they fail to follow the proper path because they direct some of their thoughts elsewhere.

Even so, our minds can never entertain such feelings of distrust once we have truly experienced Christ’s riches.”

–John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion (trans. Robert White; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1541/2014), 256-257.

“The condescending love of God” by Thomas Brooks

“Doth the Lord give the best and greatest gifts to His people? Then you that are His people, sit down and wonder at this condescending love of God.

Oh! What is in thy soul or in my soul, that should cause the Lord to give such gifts to us as He hath given? We were all equal in sin and misery; nay, doubtless, we have actually outsinned thousands, to whom these precious gifts are denied.

Let us therefore sit down and wonder at this condescending love of God.

Oh! We were once poor wretches sitting upon the dunghill, yea, wallowing in our blood, and yet behold the King of kings, the Lord of lords, hath so far condescended in His love, as to bestow Himself, His Spirit, His grace, and all the jewels of His royal crown upon us.

Oh! What heart can conceive, what tongue can express, this matchless love! ‘I will be thine forever,’ says Christ, and ‘My Spirit shall be thine forever,’ and ‘My grace shall be thine forever,’ and ‘My glory shall be thine forever,’ and ‘My righteousness shall be thine forever.’ ‘All I am and all I have, shall be thine forever.’

O sirs! What condescending love is this! Oh! What a Christ is this!”

–Thomas Brooks, “The Unsearchable Riches of Christ,” The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, Volume 3, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1866), 117.

“On His heart from all eternity” by Thomas Brooks

“The greatest design of Christ in this world is mightily to endear the hearts of His people; and indeed it was that which was in His eye and upon His heart from all eternity.

It was this design that caused Him to lay down His crown and to take up our cross, to put off His robes and to put on our rags, to be condemned that we might be justified, to undergo the wrath of the Almighty that we might for ever be in the arms of His mercy.

He gives His Spirit, His grace, yea, and His very self, and all to endear the hearts of His people to Himself. When Isaac would endear the heart of Rebekah, then the bracelets, the jewels, and the earrings are cast into her bosom, Gen. 24:53.

So the Lord Jesus casts His heavenly bracelets, jewels, and earrings into the bosoms, into the laps, of His people, out of a design to endear Himself unto them.

Proverbs 17:8, ‘A gift is a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it; whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.’ In the Hebrew it is thus, ‘a gift is as a stone of grace,’ אבן־חן, that is, it makes a man very acceptable and gracious in the eyes of others.

Certainly the gifts that Jesus Christ gives to His do render Him very acceptable and precious in their eyes. Christ to them is the crown of crowns, the heaven of heavens, the glory of glories; He is the most sparkling diamond in the ring of glory.

Proverbs 18:16, ‘A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.’ The gifts that Jesus Christ gives widen the heart and enlarge the soul of a believer to take in more of Himself.

Naturally we are narrow-mouthed heavenward and wide-mouthed earthward; but the Lord Jesus, by casting in His jewels, His pearls, His precious gifts, into the soul, doth widen the soul, and enlarge the soul, and make it more capacious to entertain Himself.

Christ by His gifts causes all doors to stand open, that ‘the King of glory may enter in,’ Psalm 24:7–10.”

–Thomas Brooks, “The Unsearchable Riches of Christ,” The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, Volume 3, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; G. Herbert, 1866), 114.

“Jesus hath given us His all” by Charles Spurgeon

“And the glory which Thou gavest me I have given them.” — John 17:22

“Behold the superlative liberality of the Lord Jesus, for He hath given us His all. Although a tithe of His possessions would have made a universe of angels rich beyond all thought, yet was He not content until He had given us all that He had.

It would have been surprising grace if He had allowed us to eat the crumbs of His bounty beneath the table of His mercy; but He will do nothing by halves, He makes us sit with Him and share the feast.

Had He given us some small pension from His royal coffers, we should have had cause to love Him eternally; but no, He will have His bride as rich as Himself, and He will not have a glory or a grace in which she shall not share.

He has not been content with less than making us joint-heirs with Himself, so that we might have equal possessions. He has emptied all His estate into the coffers of the Church, and hath all things common with His redeemed.

There is not one room in His house the key of which He will withhold from His people. He gives them full liberty to take all that He hath to be their own; He loves them to make free with His treasure, and appropriate as much as they can possibly carry.

The boundless fulness of His all-sufficiency is as free to the believer as the air he breathes. Christ hath put the flagon of His love and grace to the believer’s lip, and bidden him drink on for ever.

For could he drain it, he is welcome to do so, and as he cannot exhaust it, he is bidden to drink abundantly, for it is all his own. What truer proof of fellowship can heaven or earth afford?

When I stand before the throne
Dressed in beauty not my own;
When I see Thee as Thou art,
Love Thee with unsinning heart;
Then, Lord, shall I fully know—
Not till then—how much I owe.

–Charles Spurgeon, “June 30 –  Morning” in Morning and Evening (Geanies House, Fearn, Scotland, UK: Christian Focus, 1994),  382.

“He is the fountain which never dries up” by John Calvin

“We should be satisfied with the benefits of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that when we are grafted into His body and made one with Him by belief of the gospel, then we may assure ourselves that He is the fountain which never dries up, nor can ever become exhausted, and that in Him we have all variety of good things, and all perfection.”

–John Calvin, Sermons on Ephesians (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1974), 355.

“Union with Christ” by Constantine Campbell

“Virtually every element of Christ’s work that is of interest to Paul is connected in some way to union with Christ. Salvation, redemption, reconciliation, creation, election, predestination, adoption, sanctification, headship, provision, His death, resurrection, ascension, glorification, self-giving, the gifts of grace, peace, eternal life, the Spirit, spiritual riches and blessings, freedom, and the fulfillment of God’s promises are all related to union with Christ.”

–Constantine Campbell, Paul and Union with Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 331-332.

“Beyond description” by Herman Bavinck

“What Christ acquired by this sacrifice is beyond description. For Himself He acquired by it His entire exaltation, His resurrection (Eph. 1:20), His ascension to heaven (1 Pet. 3:22), His seating at the right hand of God (Eph. 1:20; Heb. 12:2), His elevation as head of the church (Eph. 1:22), the name that is above every name (Phil. 2:9–11), the glory of the mediator (John 17:5; Heb. 2:9), power over all things in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:22; 1 Cor. 15:24f.), the final judgment (John 5:22, 27).

In addition He acquired for His own, for humanity, for the world, an interminable series of blessings. In His person He is Himself the sum of all those blessings: the light of the world (John 8:12), the true bread (6:35), the true vine (15:1), the way, the truth, the resurrection, and the life (11:25; 14:6), our wisdom, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30), our peace (Eph. 2:14), the firstborn and the firstfruits who is followed by many others (Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:23), the second and last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45), the head of the church (Eph. 1:22), the cornerstone of the temple of God (Eph. 2:20); and for that reason there is no participation in His benefits except by communion with His person.

Yet from Him flow all the benefits, the whole of salvation (Matt. 1:21; Luke 2:11; John 3:17; 12:47), and more specifically the forgiveness of sins (Matt. 26:28; Eph. 1:7); the removal of our sins (John 1:29; 1 John 3:5); the cleansing or deliverance of a bad conscience (Heb. 10:22); justification (Rom. 4:25); righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30); sonship (Gal. 3:26; 4:5–6; Eph. 1:5); confident access to God (Eph. 2:18; 3:12); God’s laying aside His wrath in virtue of Christ’s sacrifice, that is, the sacrifice of atonement (Rom. 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10; Heb. 2:17); the disposition in God that replaced it, the new reconciled—no longer hostile but favorable—disposition of peace toward the world (Rom. 5:10f.; 2 Cor. 5:18–20); the disposition of people vis-à-vis God (Rom. 5:1); further, the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 15:26; Acts 2; Gal. 4:6); the second birth and the power to become children of God (John 1:12–13); sanctification (1 Cor. 1:30); participation in Christ’s death (Rom. 6:3f.); the dying to sin (Rom. 6:6f.; Gal. 2:20); the being crucified to the world (Gal. 6:14); the cleansing (Eph. 5:26; 1 John 1:7, 9) and the washing away of sins (1 Cor. 6:11; Rev. 1:5; 7:14) by being sprinkled with the blood of Christ (Heb. 9:22; 12:24; 1 Pet. 1:2); walking in the Spirit and in the newness of life (Rom. 6:4); participation in the resurrection and ascension of Christ (Rom. 6:5; Eph. 2:6; Phil. 3:20); the imitation of Christ (Matt. 10:38; 1 Pet. 2:21f.); increased freedom from the curse of the law (Rom. 6:14; 7:1–6; Gal. 3:13; Col. 2:14); the fulfillment of the old and the inauguration of a new covenant (Mark 14:24; Heb. 7:22; 9:15; 12:24); redemption from the power of Satan (Luke 11:22; John 14:30; Col. 2:15; 1 John 3:8; Col. 1:13); victory over the world (John 16:33; 1 John 4:4, 5:4); deliverance from death and from the fear of death (Rom. 5:12f.; 1 Cor. 15:55f.; Heb. 2:15); escape from judgment (Heb. 10:27–28); and, finally, the resurrection of the last day (John 11:25; 1 Cor. 15:21); ascension (Eph. 2:6); glorification (John 17:24); the heavenly inheritance (John 14:2; 1 Pet. 1:4); eternal life already beginning here with the inception of faith (John 3:15, 36) and one day fully manifesting itself in glory (Mark 10:30; Rom. 6:22); the new heaven and new earth (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1, 5); and the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21; 1 Cor. 15:24–28).”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 3: Sin and Salvation in Christ, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006), 3:337-338.