by John Calvin
If these matters had in bygone ages been treated and dealt with in proper order, so many tumults and dissensions would never have arisen. Paul says that in the upbuilding of Christian teaching we must keep the foundation that he had laid among the Corinthians [cf. 1 Cor. 3:10], “beside which no other can be laid, which is Jesus Christ” [1 Cor. 3:11]. What sort of foundation have we in Christ? Was he the beginning of our salvation in order that its fulfillment might follow from ourselves? Did he only open the way by which we might proceed under our own power? Certainly not. But, as Paul had set forth a little before, Christ, when we acknowledge him, is given us to be our righteousness [1 Cor. 1:30]. He alone is well founded in Christ who has perfect righteousness in himself: since the apostle does not say that He was sent to help us attain righteousness but himself to be our righteousness [1 Cor. 1:30]. Indeed, he states that “he has chosen us in him” from eternity “before the foundation of the world,” through no merit of our own “but according to the purpose of divine good pleasure” [Eph. 1:4–5, cf. Vg.]; that by his death we are redeemed from the condemnation of death and freed from ruin [cf. Col. 1:14, 20]; that we have been adopted unto him as sons and heirs by our Heavenly Father [cf. Rom. 8:17; Gal. 4:5–7]; that we have been reconciled through his blood [Rom. 5:9–10]; that, given into his protection, we are released from the danger of perishing and falling [John 10:28]; that thus ingrafted into him [cf. Rom. 11:19] we are already, in a manner, partakers of eternal life, having entered in the Kingdom of God through hope. Yet more: we experience such participation in him that, although we are still foolish in ourselves, he is our wisdom before God; while we are sinners, he is our righteousness; while we are unclean, he is our purity; while we are weak, while we are unarmed and exposed to Satan, yet ours is that power which has been given him in heaven and on earth [Matt. 28:18], by which to crush Satan for us and shatter the gates of hell; while we still bear about with us the body of death, he is yet our life. In brief, because all his things are ours and we have all things in him, in us there is nothing. Upon this foundation, I say, we must be built if we would grow into a holy temple to the Lord [cf. Eph. 2:21].
Institutes of the Christian Religion. (J. T. McNeill, Ed., F. L. Battles, Trans.) (Vol. 1, p. 793).