The Promises made to Christ are also for you! (Institutes I.14.6)

“Universal are the statements that apply first of all to Christ, the Head of the church, then to all believers. “He has commanded his angels to guard you in all your ways.  They shall bear you in their hands, that you may not stumble upon a stone.” (John Calvin)

This is a fascinating statement made by John Calvin in his section of the Institutes dealing with Angels.  There is much fascination with angels and demons in our world these days.  Sometimes we hear people refer to guardian angels or besetting demons.  Calvin argues, in line with the Word, that the angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14).  But this statement goes far beyond a mere declaration of God’s care and concern for his people being worked out by his servants, the celestial beings.

Here Calvin draws upon his doctrine of the believer’s union with Christ.  Since all the Scripture points toward Jesus and is fulfilled in his life and ministry, the only way a Christian can be a recipient of the promises given to Christ is if they are members of Christ.  The only way a believer can be assured of God’s goodwill toward this is because they are assured of the Father’s goodwill towards his Son.  Thus the faithful worshipper of God is told in the Word that he is a part of the Body of Christ, whose head is Jesus:

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27)

And He (Jesus) is the head of the body, the Church (Colossians 1:18)

It is because of this truth that Calvin can declare God’s protection, provision and concern for the believer, but more than that, it is because of this union that we become heirs and recipients of all that Jesus Christ has been promised: We will rule with him.  We will be conformed to him.  We will be answered in our prayer to him.  We will be holy, blameless and pure.  And the Father will bear us up in the hands of angels that we will not stumble in our attainment of salvation.

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About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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