Unto Us a Child Is Born – J. Calvin

Christmas-2015For this fourth and final Sunday in December – Christmas Day – we post an excerpt from a sermon of John Calvin (1509-1564) found in the book Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas (ed. Nancy Guthrie; Crossway, 2008).

The title is “Unto Us a Child Is Born” and is based on Isaiah 9:6-7. Here are a few of Calvin’s thoughts on this glorious OT gospel passage:

He is called Mighty God for the same reason that in Isaiah 7:14 he was called Immanuel. If in Christ we find nothing but human flesh and nature, our glorying will be foolish and vain, and our hope will rest on an uncertain and insecure foundation. But if he shows himself to be to us God, even the Mighty God, we may rely on him with safety.

It is good for us that he is called strong or mighty because our contest is with the devil, death, and sin (see Eph.6:12), enemies too powerful and strong, by whom we would be vanquished immediately if Christ’s strength had not made us invincible.

Thus we learn from this title that there is in Christ abundance of protection for defending our salvation, so that we desire nothing beyond him; he is God, who is pleased to show himself strong on our behalf.

This application may be regarded as the key to this and similar passages, leading us to distinguish between Christ’s mysterious essence and the power by which he has revealed himself to us (pp.74-75).