Dead and Buried
There follows in the Creed: "He was dead and buried." Here again is to be seen how he in every respect took our place to pay the price of our redemption. Death held us captive under its yoke; Christ, in our stead, gave himself over to its power to deliver us from it. . . . By dying, he ensured that we would not die, or--which is the same thing--redeemed us to life by his own death. He differed from us, however, in this respect: he let himself be swallowed up by death, as it were, not to be engulfed in its abyss, but rather to engulf it that must soon have engulfed us; he let himself be subjected to it, not to be overwhelmed by its power, but rather to lay it low, when it was threatening us and exulting over our fallen state. Finally, his purpose was "that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage." This is the first fruit that his death brought to us.
The second effect of Christ's death upon us is this: by our participation in it, his death mortifies our earthly members so that they may no longer perform their functions; and it kills the old man in us that he may not flourish and bear fruit. Christ's burial has the same effect: we ourselves as partakers in it are buried with him to sin. . . . Therefore, in Christ's death and burial a twofold blessing is set forth for us to enjoy: liberation from the death to which we had been bound, and mortification of our flesh.
John Calvin, Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. from the 1559 Latin ed. by Ford Lewis Battles, 2 vols., in Library of Christian Classics, ed. John T. McNeill (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1960), Book II, chapter 16, section 7 (volume 1, pp. 511-512).