[K:NWTS 24/2 (Sep 2009) 12]

Calvin on Christian Pilgrims

Here follows the thing that was treated [before], namely the [Israelites] eating of the Paschal lamb with their staves in their hands, their shoes on their feet and their loins girded up (Ex. 12:11). For we cannot have the company of Jesus Christ unless we are as wayfarers in this world, to go on forward to seek our inheritance elsewhere (2 Cor. 5:6, 8). And St. Paul, in the epistle to the Colossians (3:3) says plainly that our life is hidden with Christ, and that we must be as dead men, if we will be united to the Son of God. And why? For he is in heaven, and therefore it follows that our life ought not to be tied here to the earth. What is to be done then? If we will have Jesus Christ to avow us to be members of his body and to quicken us by his Spirit, we must get us out of the world (not that we should not dwell in it, but that we should not be wedded to it)…. God’s children should be conversant in this earthly life and yet nevertheless be heirs and citizens of the kingdom of heaven. Accordingly, as the apostle says to the Hebrews (11:16) that God can well find in his heart to take us for his children, if we are not tied to this world, but pass on beyond it. Wherefore let us mark that to have fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ, we must depart out of this world: that is to say, our earthly affections must not reign in us… we must not be snarled here, but we must consider that seeing God has set us here to make a journey, yea and a short journey, every one of us ought to hasten himself a pace and to look well to the ridding ourselves of the things that may hinder us from attaining to the heavenly life. And we must understand that if we do so, Jesus Christ will come unto us and reach his hand to strengthen us (John Calvin, “Sermon 98 on Deuteronomy,” Sermons of M. John Calvin upon the Fifth Book of Moses Called Deuteronomie [1583/1987] 604. Spelling and grammar has been modernized).