What is Reformed Theology?
Reformed theology is a sweeping understanding of all of life under the sovereign authority of the covenant God of Israel revealed in Jesus Christ.
That last sentence is quite weighty and needs to be parsed out.
Reformed theology is a sweeping understanding of all of life…The Reformed faith is holistic and comprehensive. It insists, with Abraham Kuyper, that “no single piece of our mental world is to be hermetically sealed off from the rest, and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’” Whether it is Scripture, sex, or science, exegesis, economics, or education, preaching, painting, or poetry, every thought must be taken captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).
…under the sovereign authority… Reformed theology is well-known for its high view of God’s sovereignty. It is precisely because God “works all things after the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11) that there are no tidy “religious” and “non-religious” spheres. But such micro-management of his creation (if we can call it that) should never leave us discouraged, fretting that we are mere cogs in an impersonal system. On the contrary, God’s absolute rule over his creation is the very ground of human responsibility, value, dignity and worth. Knowing that God has each hair on our head numbered and accounted for (Lk. 12:6-7) is a great comfort in times of trial and distress (Rom. 8:28).
…of the covenant God of Israel revealed in Jesus Christ. The Reformers, such as John Calvin, insisted that to be a Christian is to be intimately united to the story of the Israelites. To be hidden in Christ is to be a part of the family of Abraham (Gal. 3:29), through whom God promised all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 12:3). Paul the apostle teaches that all who place their hope in the Messiah, irrespective of their ethnic origin, are ingrafted to the tree of Israel, God’s precious people. But this covenant God is known fully only in Jesus of Nazareth. This Jesus is the fullness of God in bodily form (Col. 1:19) who lays down his life in order to atone for his covenant-breaking people, taking the punishment that rightly belongs to us upon himself, restoring shalom between God and his people (Rom. 5:1), with the ultimate promise of a renewed heavens and earth (Rom. 8:21, 2 Pet. 3:13, Rev. 21).
This understanding of Reformed theology invigorates, encourages, strengthens, and drives me to press into all that God is for me in Jesus.
For more, see: