Thursday, June 14, 2018

2018.06.14 Theology Thursday - John Owen's "The Glory of Christ": Chapter 1, The explication of the text

On Theology Thursdays, I've am reading John Owen's The Glory of Christ. Today, after a long break from blogging through extracurricular reading, I pick up again with chapter 1.

Owen is opening the text, "Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given me." John 17:24

Generous Self-Glorification
For Christ, it is not selfish that He would seek to be glorified and have that glory observed. Rather, He desires it for us precisely because beholding His glory is to our great, "advantage, benefit, satisfaction, and blessedness" (Kindle location 329).

Heaven Begun on Earth
Owen concludes that "beholding of the glory of Christ is one of the greatest privileges and advancements that believers are capable of in this world, or that which is to come" (loc 365). He notes that what will be enjoyed by sight in the next life can only be enjoyed by faith in this one (loc 372).

These two are tied together, because only those who are saved by grace now will see Christ later. So, those who claim to have a desire to see Christ's glory in heaven are self-deceived if they have no view of Christ's glory by faith already in this world (loc 387).

Christ's Glory Our only Vision of God's Glory
He then notes from John chapter 1 that, when the Word became flesh, the disciples "beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." What did they behold? Not a physically glorious man. Not the essential glory of the divine nature. But the glory of that aspect of the God-man's described as His being "full of grace and truth" (loc 393-403).

Since our only access to heavenly things is not the conjectures and imaginations of our minds, but only that which is specifically recorded in Scripture, we must restrict our consideration of the glory of Christ to what Scripture specifies that glory to be (loc 411, 429).

Christ's Glory Presently Apprehended by Scripture Alone
This believing of Scripture, and Scripture alone, is of the essence of faith. It is a great act of the life and power of faith to behold presently, through the lens of Scripture, the glory of Christ (loc 431).

Developing the habit of beholding the glory of Christ prepares us for our primary vocation in heaven. Those who are not already regenerated by the Spirit and desirous of Christ's glory now would not later find any advantage to heaven itself (loc 447).

Scripture says that "to be spiritually minded is life and peace" precisely because having this vision of the glory of Christ places all other things in perspective. There is an aspect to God's glory that will always be by faith. Since the divine nature cannot be seen, our vision of it will always be in the face of Jesus Christ (loc 466-8).

Owen's Plan for the Study
Owen purposes to cover the following questions:
1. What is that glory of Christ which we do or may behold by faith?
2. How do we behold it?
3. Wherein our doing so differs from immediate vision in heaven?
(loc 478)

No comments:

Post a Comment