Saturday, August 26, 2017

2017.08.17 (and 24) Theology Thursday - The Glory of Christ, Preface to the Reader

On Theology Thursdays, I've been reading John Owen's The Glory of ChristWith apologies to those who are reading along, I haven't been finding or making the time to post notes on the reading.

In two weeks' readings (a total of 30 minutes) of Owen, I've made it about 40% through the Preface to the Reader. Owen is usually rich, so it's not surprising that so little space has been covered nor that there has been so much good to chew on.

Scripture vs. "I like to think of Jesus as..."
Owen begins by explaining that the only way that we can genuinely know anything of Christ is through the Scriptures. The subject is so exalted that we have no other access, and that those who try "to be wise above what is written, and to raise their contemplations by fancy and imagination above Scripture revelation [...] have darkened counsel without knowledge" (location 51).

This, of course, is all the more dangerous precisely because of how important and exalted the glory of Christ is. But, if we stick to Scripture, there is absolutely nothing as valuable as the knowledge that we will receive of Him...
that real view which we may have of Christ and his glory in this world by faith,—however weak and obscure that knowledge which we may attain of them by divine revelation, — is inexpressibly to be preferred above all other wisdom, understanding, or knowledge whatever.(Location 53)
Heaven on Earth
Owen goes to point out that this is literally heaven on earth. Christ's glory is the very heavenliness of heaven, so the Bible is a most generous gift, by which we may have a true sample already of the chief glory of heaven!

He also points out that Christ, in glory, still bears our human nature, showing the heights of the glory for which we ourselves were created.

He goes on to compare what we otherwise desire and indulge in, in our flesh, to the very glory of Christ to show what an abominable thing sin really is--that we would glut ourselves upon it, to the neglect of finding our soul's satisfaction in Him!

(that's as far as I got on 17th--roughly Kindle location 87)

In the second major heading of the Preface, Owen begins to point out that Christ's being glorified in heaven has forever sealed and secured our fellowship with God there.

First, we see there that upon the resurrection, our natures that perished so easily in this age will be made so perfect that they will thrive forever in the age to come.

Second, we see there how much God has loved us with a love that can never diminish or cease--for no angel did He do this, but only for us!

The third major heading is that Christ has borne His human nature through every possible trial and attack, including the devil, death, and even the very wrath of God, and has come out victorious. By this, we know that so shall we!

The fourth is similar to the point made above about our resurrected bodies.

Making Heavy Burdens Light
He then proceeds to dwell upon the fact that 2Corinthians 4 highlights this eternal weight of glory, which is in fact the glory of Christ, as the very thing that makes our afflictions in this age endurable and even useful.

The heaviest burden is made light by the knowledge that it is God's means for carrying us along from where we have been to where we are going: full enjoyment of the glory of Christ forever.

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