April 21, 2009

The Calling In

Here is a passage from Calvin I find myself disagreeing with as I work through " The Institutes of the Christian Religion this year:

"The calling of the Gentiles, therefore, is a notable mark of the excellence of the New Testament over the Old. Indeed, this had been attested before by many very clear utterances of the prophets, but in such a way that its fulfillment was postponed until the Kingdom of the
Messiah. Even Christ at the beginning of his preaching made no immediate progress toward it...For it seemed completely unreasonable that the Lord, who for so many ages had singled out Israel from all other nations, should suddenly change his plan and abandon that choice. Prophecies had indeed foretold this. But men could not heed these prophecies without being startled by the newness of the thing that met their eyes...
John Calvin - The Institutes of the Christian Religion: 2.11.12

If I were to find the NT superior to the OT, it would be because Jesus is clearly talked about here: His life, His ministry, His teachings. But the Bible is the Bible and it is all superior to any other book, because it is inspired, written by God through the agency of His personally selected human authors.

God's plan is fulfilled perfectly through Jesus. The nation of Israel was not the light to the world, the nation of priests that God called them to be. They fell short because we are human. The Gentiles, called in by the ministry of Christ, fall short because we are human. Jesus succeeded because He is God, who came to earth as God incarnate. The agency of people will always be inadequate to fulfill the agency of the divine unless the divine steps in and brings it there. God designed it the way he did because it was the way to get us where we are.

To me, there is no superiority of one part of the Bible over another, just as there is no superiority of one type of people over another. The Bible is superior because it is the Word of God.

Any superiority I have is in Christ, for He has lifted me up where I could not go to on my own.


Anonymous said...

Well said!

Andy C said...

Thanks! And thanks for stopping by.

Laurie M. said...

Ah, I took his use of the term "New Testament" to be synonymous with New "Covenant", contrasting it with the relative merits of the Old Covenant. Scripture clearly states the New Covenant to be superior (cf. Heb. 7:22; 8:6-7)

Andy C said...

A good way to look at it. The new is definitely superior to the old in this case. The old points to Christ, the new points out Christ.