Thursday, December 14, 2017
Calvin on John 6:27b as a proof for the covenant of redemption
John 6:27: Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
In expositing John 6:15-27 for last Sunday’s sermon, I was struck by the last line in v. 27: “for him hath God the Father sealed [esphagisen].”
In his commentary, Calvin likewise notes, “he was appointed to us for that purpose.” He adds:
The ancient writers have misinterpreted and tortured this passage, by maintaining that Christ is said to be sealed, because he is the stamp and lively image of the Father. For he does not enter into abstruse discussions about his eternal essence, but explains what he has been commissioned and enjoined to do, what is his office in relation to us, and what we ought to seek and expect from him.
Calvin then contends:
Thus Christ—that it may be not appear as if he claimed anything of himself, or by private authority—declares that this office was enjoined on him by the Father, and that this decree of the Father was manifested, as if a seal had been engraven upon him.
So, according to Calvin’s view, what is being referred to here is the sealing of the Son of Man to do the work appointed to him by God the Father. It is, then, a proof, alongside verses like Luke 22:29, for the covenant of redemption or the covenant of peace. The Son has been sealed gladly to perform the will of the Father.