Beholding Christ as Antidote to Worldliness

John Owen on seeing Christ’s glory: It is by beholding the glory of Christ by faith that we are spiritually edified and built up in this world, for as we behold his glory, the life and power of faith grow stronger and stronger. It is by faith that we grow to love Christ. So if we desire strong faith and powerful love, which give us rest, peace and satisfaction, we must seek them by diligently beholding the glory of Christ by faith. In this duty I desire to live and to die. On Christ’s glory I would fix all my thoughts and desires, and the more I see of the glory of Christ, the more the painted beauties of this world will wither in my eyes and I will be more and more crucified to this world. It will become to me like something dead and putrid, impossible for me to enjoy. –The Glory of Christ (1684) (HT: The Gospel

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Sin is aversion of God

From Triumph Over Temptation by John Owen as edited by James M. Houston under the subtitle Sin Is Aversion of God: “The actions and operations of sin are twofold: first by aversion and second by opposition.” (57) “Sin is first of all aversion of God. Sin is indisposed to duty whereby communion with God is obtained. All weariness of duty, all carnality, and all formality in duty spring from this root…In other words, God is saying, “Do you have any spiritual duty to perform? Do you propose to seek communion with God? Look then to yourself, to take care of the inclinations of your heart, for they will wander and be deflected by aversion to what you propose.” ” (58) On keeping the soul from sin’s aversion: Have a disposition of heart fixed upon God. “It is utterly impossible to keep the heart in a holy frame in any one duty, unless it is also in all duties before God. If sin

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John Owen on Stirring the Mind to Contemplate the Glory of Christ

My thanks to Matt Harmon for this: In his treatise “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,” John Owen offers five “directions” for stirring up the minds of believers to contemplate the glory of Christ (chapter 4): Let us get it fixed on our souls and minds, that this glory of Christ in the divine constitution of his person is the best, the most noble, useful, beneficial object that we can be conversant about in our thoughts, or cleave unto in our affections. Our second direction unto the same end is, that we diligently study the Scripture, and the revelations that are made of this glory of Christ therein. Another direction to this same end is, that having attained the light of the knowledge of the glory of Christ from the Scripture, or by the dispensation of the truth in the preaching of the gospel, we would esteem it our duty frequently to meditate thereon. Let your occasional thoughts

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Beholding the Glory of Christ

“How, then, can we behold the glory of Christ? We need, firstly, a spiritual understanding of his glory as revealed in Scripture. Secondly, we need to think much about him if we wish to enjoy him fully (1 Pet. 1:8). If we are satisfied with vague ideas about him we shall find no transforming power communicated to us. But when we cling wholeheartedly to him and our minds are filled with thoughts of him and we constantly delight ourselves in him, then spiritual power will flow from him to purify our hearts, increase our holiness, strengthen our graces, and sometimes fill us ‘with joy inexpressible and full of glory.’” – John Owen, The Glory of Christ, abridged and made easy by R. J. K. Law (Carlisle, Pa.: Banner of Truth Trust, 1994), 115. (HT: Of First Importance)

Gladness in the Gospel

“Truth will readily be exchanged for error when no more sweetness and joy is to be found in it than is to be found in error. When we find any of the good truths of the gospel coming home to our souls with power, giving us gladness of heart and transforming us into the image and likeness of it, the Holy Spirit is then at his work. He is pouring out his oil.” – John Owen, Communion with God, abridged by R.J.K. Law (Carlisle, Pa.: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1991), 189. (HT: Of First Importance)

Christ is all-glorious!

Christ is all-glorious: glorious in his throne, which is at “the right hand of the Majesty on high” glorious in his commission, which is “all power in heaven and earth” glorious in his name, a name above every name—“Lord of lords, and King of kings” glorious in his scepter—“a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of his kingdom” glorious in his attendants—“his chariots are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels,” among them he rides on the heavens, and sends out the voice of his strength, attended with ten thousand times ten thousand of his holy ones glorious in his subjects—all creatures in heaven and in earth, nothing is left that is not put in subjection to him glorious in his way of rule, and the administration of his kingdom—full of sweetness, efficacy, power, serenity, holiness, righteousness, and grace, in and toward his elect—of terror, vengeance, and certain destruction toward the rebellious angels and men glorious in the issue of his

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For Whom Did Christ Die? – John Owen

The Father imposed His wrath due unto, and the Son underwent punishment for, either: All the sins of all men. All the sins of some men, or Some of the sins of all men. In which case it may be said: That if the last be true, all men have some sins to answer for, and so, none are saved. That if the second be true, then Christ, in their stead suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the whole world, and this is the truth. But if the first be the case, why are not all men free from the punishment due unto their sins? You answer, “Because of unbelief.” I ask, Is this unbelief a sin, or is it not? If it be, then Christ suffered the punishment due unto it, or He did not. If He did, why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which He died? If He did

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What the Contemplation of Christ’s Glory Brings

The constant contemplation of the glory of Christ will give rest, satisfaction, and complacency unto the souls of them who are exercised therein. Our minds are apt to be filled with a multitude of perplexed thoughts; – fears, cares, dangers, distresses, passions, and lusts, do make various impressions on the minds of men, filling them with disorder, darkness, and confusion. But where the soul is fixed in its thoughts and contemplations on this glorious object, it will be brought into and kept in a holy, serene, spiritual frame. For “to be spiritually-minded is life and peace.” And this it does by taking off our hearts from all undue regard unto all things below, in comparison of the great worth, beauty, and glory of what we are conversant withal. See Phil. 3.7-11. A defect herein makes many of us strangers unto a heavenly life, and to live beneath the spiritual refreshments and satisfactions that the Gospel does tender unto us. (John

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The Glory of Christ – seen by revelation not imagination

CHAPTER VII THE GLORY OF CHRIST IN HIS EXALTATION AFTER THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE WORK OF MEDIATION IN THIS WORLD “This is that glory which our Lord Jesus Christ in a special manner prayed that His disciples might behold. This is that of which we ought to endeavor a prospect by faith; by faith, I say, and not by imagination. Vain and foolish men, having general notions of this glory of Christ, knowing nothing of the real nature of it, have endeavored to represent it in pictures and images, with all that luster and beauty which the art of painting, with the ornaments of gold and jewels, can give to them. This is that representation of the present glory of Christ, which, being made and proposed to the imagination and carnal affections of superstitious persons, carries such a show of devotion and veneration in the Papal Church. But they err, not knowing the Scripture nor the eternal glory of the

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The Measure of Our Growth and Decay

“If I have observed anything by experience, it is this: a man may take the measure of his growth and decay in grace according to his thoughts and meditations upon the person of Christ, and the glory of Christ’s Kingdom, and of His love.” – John Owen, quoted in A Puritan Golden Treasury complied by I. D. E. Thomas (Carlisle, Pa.: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1989), 184. (HT: Of First Importance)

John Owen: The Priority of Beholding the Glorious Christ

“The revelation made of Christ in the blessed Gospel is far more excellent, more glorious, more filled with rays of Divine wisdom and goodness than the whole creation, and the just comprehension of it, if attainable, can contain or apprehend. Without the knowledge hereof, the mind of man, however priding itself in other inventions and discoveries, is wrapped up in darkness and confusion. This therefore deserves the severest of our thoughts, the best of our meditations, and our utmost diligence in them. For if our future blessedness shall consist in living where He is, and beholding of His glory; what better preparation can there be for it, than in a constant previous contemplation of that glory, in the revelation that is made in the Gospel unto this very end, that by a view of it we may be gradually transformed into the same glory.” (John Owen, The Glory of Christ) (HT: Erik Raymond)

John Owen on The Glory of Christ

An excerpt from Owen’s most excellent, The Glory of Christ, ch.2. My thanks to Recover the Gospel. It is a promise concerning the days of the New Testament that our “eyes shall see the King in his beauty” (Isa. 33:17). We shall behold the glory of Christ in its luster and excellency. What is this beauty of the King of saints? Is it not that God is in Him and He is the great representative of His glory to us? Wherefore, in the contemplation of this glory consists the principal exercise of faith. And who can declare the glory of this privilege that we, who are born in darkness and deserved to be cast out into utter darkness, should be translated into this marvelous “light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”? What are all the stained glories, the fading beauties of this world? of all that the Devil showed our Saviour from

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Great Error!

“God does not allow any man to be the absoluite sovereign judge of himself, which would usurp his divine prerogative and put the sinner in the place of God himself.” —John Owen (1616-1683) “A great sickness has developed in contemporary evangelical Christianity that is built around self. The emphasis on self image, self esteem, and self worth is nothing more than humanistic worldliness. Selfism has twisted evangelicalism from a God-centered to a man-centered perspective. Salvation is now seen from the viewpoint of what can it do for us? That is a horrifying error.” —John MacArthur (HT: The Boroean)

The Unrivaled Glory of Christ in the Gospel

“The revelation made of Christ in the blessed Gospel is far more excellent, more glorious, more filled with rays of Divine wisdom and goodness than the whole creation, and the just comprehension of it, if attainable, can contain or apprehend. Without the knowledge hereof, the mind of man, however priding itself in other inventions and discoveries, is wrapped up in darkness and confusion. This therefore deserves the severest of our thoughts, the best of our meditations, and our utmost diligence in them. For if our future blessedness shall consist in living where He is, and beholding of His glory; what better preparation can there be for it, than in a constant previous contemplation of that glory, in the revelation that is made in the Gospel unto this very end, that by a view of it we may be gradually transformed into the same glory.” (John Owen, The Glory of Christ) (HT: Irish Calvinist)

Believers valuable to Christ

“He parted with the greatest glory, he underwent the greatest misery, he doth the greatest works that ever were, because he loves his spouse, – because he values believers. What can more, what can farther be spoken? How little is the depth of that which is spoken fathomed! How unable are we to look into the mysterious recesses of it! He so loves, so values his saints, as that, having from eternity undertaken to bring them to God, he rejoices his soul in the thoughts of it; and pursues his design through heaven and hell, life and death, by suffering and doing, in mercy and with power; and ceaseth not until he bring it to perfection.” – John Owen, Communion with God, (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 2004), 139. (HT: Of First Importance)

Doctrine Embraced by the Heart

“When the heart is cast indeed into the mould of the doctrine that the mind embraceth—when the evidence and necessity of the truth abides in us—when not the sense of the words only is in our heads, but the sense of the thing abides in our hearts—when we have communion with God in the doctrine we contend for—then shall we be garrisoned by the grace of God against all the assaults of men.” -John Owen, The Mystery of the Gospel Vindicated [1655] (HT: Reformed Voices)

The Glory of Christ and our sorrows

Helpful words from John Owen: Our beholding by faith things which are not seen, things spiritual and eternal, will alleviate all our afflictions,–make their burden light, and preserve our souls from fainting under them. Of these things the glory of Christ..is the principal, and in a due sense comprehensive of them all. For we behold the glory of God himself “in the face of Jesus Christ.” He that can at all times retreat unto the contemplation of this glory, will be carried above the perplexing prevailing sense of any of these evils, of a confluence of them all. It is a woeful kind of life, when men scramble for poor perishing reliefs in their distresses. This is the universal remedy and cure,–the only balsam for all our diseases. Whatever presseth, urgeth, perplexeth, if we can but retreat in our minds unto a view of this glory, and a due consideration of our own interest therein, comfort and supportment will be

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Transfer of punishment is our foundation

“So it was necessary, since God had purposed to save his church, to transfer the punishment from them 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.” – John Owen, The Glory of Christ (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1994), 74. (HT: Of First Importance)

The Love of God in Christ

From John Owen: The Father communicates no issue of his love unto us but through Christ; and we make no return of love unto him but through Christ. He is the treasury wherein the Father disposeth all the riches of his grace, taken from the bottomless mine of his eternal love; and he is the priest into whose hand we put all the offerings that we return unto the Father. Though the love of the Father’s purpose and good pleasure have its rise and foundation in his mere grace and will, yet the design of it accomplishment is only in Christ. All the fruits of it are first given to him; and it is in him only that they are dispensed to us. So that though the saints may, nay, do, see an infinite ocean of love unto them in the bosom of the Father, yet they are not to look for one drop from him but what comes through

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