Our Union with Christ as the Source of Gospel Joy

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This past weekend, I finished reading an advanced proof of The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung. As only top notch books can do, I was simultaneously blessed, convicted, and encouraged.

In the penultimate chapter, DeYoung makes the point that if “holiness is being like Christ . . . [and] being like Christ is possible only for those who are in Christ, . . . those in Christ should make it their aim to grow in fellowship with Christ.” To demonstrate this idea of fellowship and union with Christ, DeYoung points to the following paragraph from Calvin’s Institutes:

“We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ (Acts 4:12). We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else. If we seek salvation we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is “of him” (1 Cor. 1:30). If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in his anointing. If we seek strength, it lies in his dominion; if purity, in his conception; if gentleness, it appears in his birth. For by his birth he was made like us in all respects (Heb. 2:17) that he might learn to feel our pain (cf. Heb 5:2). If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion; if acquittal, in his condemnation; if remission of the curse, in his cross (Gal. 3:13); if satisfaction, in his sacrifice; if purification, in his blood; if reconciliation, in his descent into hell; if mortification of the flesh, in his tomb,; if newness of life, in his resurrection; if immortality, in the same; if inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom, in his entrance into heaven; if protection, if security, if abundant supply of all blessings, in his Kingdom; if untroubled expectation of judgement, in the power given to him to judge. In short, since rich store of every kind of good abounds in him, let us drink our fill from this fountain and from no other.”

—John Calvin, Institutes 2.16.19

All the joy of the gospel is found in Christ as we are unified with him. We are to abide in Christ and keep his commandments, so “that [his] joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). This is a lasting joy, a deep joy, a gospel joy that is truly “good news.”

Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in Our Holiness, Crossway, 2012
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