“We must now examine this question. How do we receive those benefits which the Father bestowed on his only-begotten Son–not for Christ’s own private use, but that He might enrich poor and needy men?
First, we must understand that as long as Christ remains outside of us, and we are separated from Him, all that He has suffered and done for the salvation of the human race remains useless and of no value for us.
Therefore, to share with us what He has received from the Father, He had to become ours and to dwell within us. For this reason, He is called ‘our Head’ (Eph. 4:15), and ‘the first-born among many brethren’ (Rom. 8:29). We also, in turn, are said to be ‘engrafted into Him’ (Rom. 11:17), and to ‘put on Christ’ (Gal. 3:27).
For, as I have said, all that He possesses is nothing to us until we grow into one body with Him. It is true that we obtain this by faith.”
–John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, III.i.1.
This excerpt that has gripped me and, I assure you, there will be many more to come.
As of late, I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading the Institutes of Calvin and authors inspired by his theology. This quest for truth was spurred on by a yearning to go deeper in my belief of actually being “joined” or “united” to Christ. If Christ were actually physically inside of us, how different would our ministry and lives look? Wouldn’t loving and sacrificing and practicing selflessness with others look so much more organic and necessary in life? It would be a natural flow from the nature of Christ inside us.
This is becoming more clear: Christ must be in us (we must be bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh) to really truly love and “enrich poor and needy men”.