Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Glory of Christ by John Owen - Chapter 9 - The Glory of Christ's Union with the Church

From The Glory of Christ (Law, R. J. K. The Glory of Christ. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1994.) by John Owen:

"There is an intimate union between Christ and His church. This makes it right and just in the sight of God that what Christ did and suffered should be reckoned and imputed to us as if we had done and suffered the same things ourselves." (74)

"So it was necessary since God had purposed to save His church, to transfer the punishment from those who deserved it but could not bear it, to one who had not deserved it but could bear it. This transfer of punishment by divine dispensation is the foundation of the Christian faith, indeed of all the supernatural revelation contained in Scripture." (74)

"There is no injustice in God, so the transfer of the sins of some to others who are punished for them must be just and fair." (76)

Divine justice does not arbitrarily punish someone for the sins of others. There is always a special reason why the sins of some are transferred to others: there must be a special union or relationship between those who sin and those who are punished for their sins. Before the punishment of sin can be transferred to another there must be a special relationship or union between the two persons. We can take as examples, the relationship between parents and children, and also a king and his subjects, as in the case of David. The persons sinning and those suffering for their sins are treated as one body, in which when one member sins another member of the same body may justly suffer for that sin. The backside may be punished for what the hand has stolen or the mouth has spoken." (76)

"The union between Christ and his church did not arise by necessity of nature, but from a voluntary act of his will." (77)

"Although this mystical union does not actually take place until believers are united to Christ, yet the church of the elect was chosen to be Christ's spouse before his sufferings, in order that he might love her and suffer for her." (79)

"So by reason of this union it was just and right for God to impute our sins to Christ and his obedience and death to us, treating us as if we had obeyed and died for our own sins." (80)

" virtue of his mystical union with the church, the law was perfectly obeyed in us by being obeyed for us." (81)

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