Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This is all I want to know

And what is that? Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2)!

Here is an extended passage from John Owen on having a constant view of the glory of Christ. I know this may look daunting, but it is well worth your time to read. It is rich in theology and Scripture and it will fill your heart with a delight for the Savior!

A look unto Christ as crucified (and how glorious He was therein, has been declared) is made the cause and fountain of that godly sorrow which is a spring unto all other graces, especially in those who have fallen under decays, Zech 12:10; and it is so also of desiring strength from Him, to enable us to endure all our trials, troubles, and afflictions, with patience unto the end, Heb 12: 2.

The only inquiry remaining, is, how a constant view of the glory of Christ will produce this blessed effect in us: and it will do so several ways.

1. A constant view of the glory of Christ will be effected by that transforming power and efficacy which this exercise of faith is always accompanied therewith.

This is that which changes us every day more and more into the likeness of Christ, as has been at large before declared. Herein all revivals and all (spiritual) flourishing are contained. To have a reasonable measure of conformity to Christ is all we are capable of in this life: the perfection of this conformity is eternal blessedness (It will only be fully realized in the future when we are glorified). According as are our attainments therein, so is the thriving and flourishing of the life of grace in us; which is that which is aimed at. Other ways and means have failed us, so let us put this truth (a constant view of Christ) to the trial and live in the constant contemplation of the glory of Christ, and virtue will proceed from Him to repair all our decays, to renew a right spirit within us, and to cause us to abound in all duties of obedience. This way of producing these effects flesh and blood will not reveal, - it looks like washing in Jordan to cure a leprosy; but the life of faith is a mystery known only to those in whom it exists.

2. A constant view of the glory of Christ will fix the soul unto that object which is suited to give it delight, complacency, and satisfaction.

This in perfection is blessedness, for it is caused by the eternal vision of the glory of God in Christ; and the nearer approaches we make unto this state, the better, the more spiritual, the more heavenly, is the state of our souls. And this is to be obtained only by a constant contemplation of the glory of Christ, as has been declared. And it is several ways effectual unto the end now proposed. For, -

1. The majority of our spiritual decay and barrenness arises from an inordinate admission of other things into our minds for these things weaken grace in all its operations.

But when the mind is filled with thoughts of Christ and His glory, when the soul thereon cleaves unto Him with intense affections, they will cast out, or not give admittance to the causes of spiritual weakness and indisposition. See Col 3: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; Ep 5:8.

2. Where we are engaged in this duty, it will stir up every grace unto its due exercise; which is that wherein the spiritual revival inquired after does consist.

This is all we desire, all we long for, this will make us fat and flourishing, - namely, that every grace of the Spirit have its due exercise in us. See Ro 5:3452Pe 1:5678. Whereas, therefore, Christ Himself is the first proper, adequate object of all grace, and all its exercise (for it first respects Him, and then other things for Him), when the mind is fixed on Him and His glory, every grace will be in a readiness for its due exercise. And without this we shall never attain it by any resolutions or endeavours of our own, let us make the trial when we please.

3. This (a constant contemplation of the glory of Christ) will assuredly put us on a vigilant watch and constant conflict (opposition) against all the deceitful workings of sin (He 3:13), against every entrance of temptation (Mt 26:41), against all the ways and means of the state of being surprised by foolish frames (foolish mental attitudes or outlooks), by vain imaginations which are the cause of our decay.

Our recovery or revival will not be effected, nor a fresh spring of grace be obtained, in a careless, slothful course of profession. Constant watching, fighting, contending against sin, with our utmost endeavour for an absolute conquest over it, are required hereunto. And nothing will so much excite and encourage our souls hereunto as a constant view of Christ and His glory; every thing in Him has a constraining power hereunto, as is known to all who have any acquaintance with these things.

- John Owen, from Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ

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