Wednesday, June 2, 2010
The Glory of Christ by John Owen
Well, the bloggers of this blog have begun another communal reading project. Having finished Altogether Lovely (Jonathan, Edwards. Altogether Lovely Jonathan Edwards on the glory and excellency of Jesus Christ. Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1997), we now haved moved on to a classic by John Owen; The Glory of Christ (Law, R. J. K. The Glory of Christ. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1994. Print.).
Joining us on this venture will be long-time friend Jim Sutherland who may even contribute a guest blog or two.
I'll kick things off by sharing some quotes from Chapter 1: Seeing Christ's Glory and Chapter 2: Christ's Glory as God's Representative.
By the same eternal fire wherewith He offered Himself a bloody sacrifice to make atonement for sin, He kindled in His most holy soul those desires for the application of all its benefits to His Church which are here expressed and wherein His intercession consists. (1)
No man shall ever behold the glory of Christ by sight hereafter who does not in some measure behold it here by faith. Grace is a necessary preparation for glory, and faith for sight. Where the subject (the soul) is not previously seasoned with grace and faith, it is not capable of glory or vision. Nay, persons not disposed to it cannot desire it, whatever they pretend; they only deceive their own souls in supposing that they do so. (4)
All men, indeed, think themselves fit enough for glory (what should hinder them?) if they could attain it; but it is because they know not what it is. Men shall not be clothed with glory whether they will or no. It is to be received in that exercise of the faculties of their souls which such persons have no ability for. Music has no pleasure in it to them who cannot hear; nor the most beautiful colors, to those who cannot see. It would be no benefit to a fish to take him from the bottom of the ocean, filled with cold and darkness, and place him under the beams of the sun; for he is no way meet to receive any refreshment from it. Heaven itself would not be more advantageous to persons not renewed by the Spirit of grace in this life. (9)
He is glorious in that He is the great representative of the nature of God and His will to us; which without Him would have been eternally hid from us, or been invisible to us; we should never have seen God at any time, here nor hereafter (John 1:18). (11)
This is the foundation of our religion, the Rock whereon the Church is built, the ground of all our hopes of salvation, of life and immortality: all is resolved into this, the representation that is made of the nature and will of God in the person and office of Christ. If this fail us, we are lost forever; if this Rock stand firm, the Church is safe here and shall be triumphant hereafter. (12)
Men may say what they please of a light within them, or of the power of reason to conduct them to that knowledge of God whereby they may live unto Him; but if they had nothing else, if they did not boast themselves of that light which had its foundation and original in divine revelation alone, they would not excel them who, in the best management of their own reasonings, "knew not God" but waxed vain in their imaginations. (14)
In brief, all the rage, blood, confusion, desolations, cruelties, oppressions, and villainies, which the world has been and is filled with, by which the souls of men have been and are flooded into eternal destruction, have all arisen from this corrupt fountain of the ignorance of God. (15)
Now this is all that may be known of God in a saving manner— especially His wisdom, His love, His goodness, grace, and mercy, in which the life of our souls depends—and the Lord Christ being appointed the only way and means hereof, how exceeding glorious must He be in the eyes of them that believe! (20)
If we abounded in this duty, in this exercise of faith, our life in walking before God would be more sweet and pleasant to us, and our spiritual light and strength would have a daily increase; we should more represent the glory of Christ in our ways and walking than usually we do, and death itself would be most welcome to us. (21)
In Him we behold the wisdom, goodness, love, grace, mercy, and power of God acting themselves in the contrivance, constitution, and efficacious accomplishment of the great work of our redemption. This gives an unutterable luster to the native amiableness of the divine excellencies. The wisdom and love of God are in themselves infinitely glorious, infinitely amiable; nothing can be added to them; there can be no increase of their essential glory. (25)