His Death, Our Life

John Calvin’s essay, “Christ the End of the Law,” is a wonderful piece of Reformation literature.  I’ve mentioned it before (HERE), noting how Calvin interpreted the Old Testament in a Christ centered way, following many in the Christian church before him.  Later in that  same essay, Calvin explains the beauty of the gospel in an almost poetic way.  I’ve put the paragraph in line-by-line format so you can read it like a poem.

For he humbled himself to exalt us;
He made himself a slave to set us free;
He became poor to enrich us;
He was sold to redeem us;
captive to deliver us,
condemned to absolve us;
He was made malediction for our benediction,
oblation of sins for our justice;
He was disfigured to re-figure us;
He died for our life,
In such manner that by him harshness is softened,
wrath appeased,
darkness enlightened,
iniquity justified,
weakness is made strength,
affliction is consoled,
sin is impeached,
despite is despised,
dread is emboldened,
debt is acquitted,
labor is lightened,
sorrow turned into joy,
misfortune into fortune,
difficulty is made easy,
disorder made ordered,
division united,
ignominy is ennobled,
rebellion subjected,
threat is threatened,
ambushes are driven out,
assaults assailed,
striving is overpowered,
combat is combated,
war is warred,
vengeance is avenged,
torment tormented,
damnation damned,
abyss is thrown into the abyss,
hell is helled,
death is dead,
mortality immortality.
In short, mercy has swallowed up all misery,
and goodness [has swallowed up] all wretchedness.
For all those things which used to be the arms of the devil
to combat us and the sting of death to pierce us,
are turned for us into an exercise of which we can profit,
so that we can boast with the apostle, saying,
“O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?”

John Calvin, “Christ the End of the Law” in Thy Word is Still Truth, p. 279-280.

rev shane lems
covenant presbyterian church (OPC)
hammond, wi


3 comments on “His Death, Our Life

  1. Beautifully stated truths.


  2. johntjeffery says:

    Oh my! Tears! Hand over mouth! My heart gets thumping when I read stuff like this! And it probably still suffers in translation!


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