Ch3 The Glory of Christ in His Person – John Owen
in this selection, Owen invites us to contemplate the glory of Christ’s two natures: Divine and Human.
The second thing in which we may behold the glory of Christ, given to him by his father, is the mystery of his person. He is God and man in one person. In him are two distinct natures, the one, eternal, infinite, immense, almighty, the form and essence of God; the other having a beginning in time, finite, limited, confined to a certain place, which is our nature. This nature he took to himself when he was ‘made flesh and dwelt among us’.
This is a glory whose beams are so wonderful that the blind world cannot see the light and beauty and so many deny the incarnation of God. Nevertheless, this is the glory of our religion, the glory of the church, the only rock on which it was built, the only source of present grace and future Glory. P28
… This is the glory on which lies the foundation of the church. The foundation of the whole creation was laid in an act of absolute sovereign power, when God ‘hung the earth on nothing’. But the foundation of the church is on this mysterious, immovable rock of the union of the divine and human natures in one person, Jesus Christ, son of the living God. Here the whole church must fall down and worship the God who laid this wonderful foundation. P29
The thing John Owen is driving at here is that the church is made up of human beings, human beings who are united to God through the Spirit of God – and the foundation of the church is that human being who was God, it was because His divine nature and human nature we united, that our human nature can be united with God also – he became what we are so that we could partake of what He is. Glory, glory, glory…
Let us diligently study the Bible and the revelations of the glory of Christ revealed there. This is what Christ himself tells us to do (see John 5:39) and the prophets in the Old Testament show us how to do it (see 1 Peter 1:11 – 13). When we read Scripture we must always bear in mind that the revelation and the doctrine of the person of Christ and his office are the foundation of all that we learn from the prophets and apostles (Ephesians 2:20 – 22, Luke 24:26 – 27, 45 – 46). Deny this and the scriptures no longer become to us a revelation of the glory of God and the salvation of the church. The Jews are an example of those who deny this truth (2 Corinthians 3:13 – 16).
There are 3 ways by which the glory of Christ is represented to us in Scripture.
a) by direct descriptions of his glorious person and incarnation – (see below)
b) by prophecies, promises and clear instructions concerning him), all leading our thoughts to beholding his glory.
c) By the sacred institutions of divine worship under the Old Testament. Their whole purpose was to represent to the church the glory of Christ and the carrying out of the work he was sent to do. P32
Let your thoughts of Christ be many, increasing more and more each day. He is never far from us as Paul tells us (Romans 10:6 – 8). The things Christ did, were done many years ago and they are long since passed. ‘But’, says Paul, ‘the word of the gospel where these things are revealed, and by which they are brought home to our souls, is near us, even in our hearts, that is, if we are true believers and have received the word by faith.’ So the gospel exhibits Christ and all the benefits of his mediatory work to us. If, therefore, the word is in our hearts, Christ is near us. If we at any time turn into ourselves, to converse with the Word in us by meditation, we shall find him ready to receive us into communion with himself. By the light of the knowledge of Christ which we have by the Word, unexpected thoughts of him will continually come to our mind. But if our minds and hearts are filled with other things, how can we expect to have fellowship with him in beholding his glory? P35
So, when, by faith we behold the glory of Christ as we meditate on his divine-human person, we should not see him merely as glorious in himself. We must, rather, make every effort to let that glory fill our hearts with love, admiration, adoration and praise to him that our souls will be transformed into his image.
Let us, then, make up our minds to be more heavenly minded or we will never relish the idea of beholding the Glory of Christ. P37