I've been reading a whole bunch of stuff, mainly Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, but besides that, a lot of Bavinck, Kierkegaard, and Luther. One passage in the Institutes of Christian Religion which really made me think recently, was one where Calvin once again quotes Augustine (he quotes him every other page) speaking about predestination and grace, and he related it to the man Christ, rather than the God Christ. It made me realize that I don't consider Jesus a man enough, and regardless of whether or not I understand that he is fully man and fully divine, it's tough for me to hear someone speak of the manhood of Christ without having an initial negative reaction, even though I know there's nothing wrong with recognizing his manhood. But rather than lessening my respect for Jesus Christ, I discovered that thinking more upon his fully human nature only amplified how I already felt about him. It is good to know he is fully man and fully divine, but I think it's something entirely different, and something I haven't attained to yet, to truly understand what that means.
>We must devote an additional Chapter to the solution of this question. For there are some men, more subtle than orthodox, who, though they confess that Christ obtained salvation for us, yet cannot bear the word merit, by which they suppose the grace of God is obscured. So they maintain that Christ is only the instrument or minister, not, as he is called by Peter, the Author, or Leader, and “Prince of life.” I grant, indeed, if any man would oppose Christ simply and alone to the judgment of God, there would be no room for merit; because it is impossible to find in man any excellence which can merit the favour of God; nay, as Augustine most truly observes, “The brightest illustration of predestination and grace is the Saviour himself, the man Christ Jesus, who has acquired this character in his human nature, without any previous merit either of works or of faith. Let any one tell me, how that man merited the honour of being assumed into one person with the Word, who is coëternal with the Father, and so becoming the only begotten Son of God. Thus the fountain of grace appears in our Head, and from him diffuses its streams through all his members according to their respective capacities. Every one, from the commencement of his faith, is made a Christian, by the same grace, by which this man, from the commencement of his existence, was made the Christ.” Again, in another treatise, Augustine says, “There is not a more illustrious example of predestination than the Mediator himself. For he who made of the seed of David this righteous man, so that he never was unrighteous, without any previous merit of his will, converts unrighteous persons into righteous ones, and makes them members of that Head,” &c. When we speak of the merit of Christ, therefore, we do not consider him as the origin of it, but we ascend to the ordination of God, which is the first cause; because it was of his mere good pleasure, that God appointed him Mediator to procure salvation for us. And thus it betrays ignorance to oppose the merit of Christ to the mercy of God. For it is a common maxim, that between two things, of which one succeeds or is subordinate to the other, there can be no opposition. There is no reason, therefore, why the justification of men should not be gratuitous from the mere mercy of God, and why at the same time the merit of Christ should not intervene, which is subservient to the mercy of God. But to our works are directly and equally opposed the gratuitous favour of God and the obedience of Christ, each in its respective place. For Christ could merit nothing except by the good pleasure of God, by which he had been predestinated to appease the Divine wrath by his sacrifice, and to abolish our transgressions by his obedience. To conclude, since the merit of Christ depends solely on the grace of God, which appointed this method of salvation for us, therefore his merit and that grace are with equal propriety opposed to all the righteousnesses of men.