“Did you love Him first?” by John Owen

“Consider the infinite condescension and love of Christ, in His invitations and calls of you to come unto Him for life, deliverance, mercy, grace, peace, and eternal salvation.

Multitudes of these invitations and calls are recorded in the Scripture, and they are all of them filled up with those blessed encouragements which divine wisdom knows to be suited unto lost, convinced sinners, in their present state and condition…

This I shall only say, that in the declaration and preaching of them, Jesus Christ yet stands before sinners, calling, inviting, encouraging them to come unto Him. This is somewhat of the word which He now speaks unto you:

‘Why will ye die? Why will ye perish? Why will you not have compassion on your own souls? Can your hearts endure, or can your hands be strong, in the day of wrath that is approaching? It is but a little while before all your hopes, your reliefs, and presumptions will forsake you, and leave you eternally miserable.

Look unto Me, and be saved. Come unto Me, and I will ease you of all sins, sorrows, fears, burdens, and give rest unto your souls. Come, I entreat you. Lay aside all procrastinations, all delays. Put me off no more. Eternity lies at the door.

Cast out all cursed, self-deceiving reserves. Do not so hate me as that you will rather perish than accept of deliverance by Me.’

These and the like things doth the Lord Christ continually declare, proclaim, plead, and urge on the souls of sinners. He doth it in the preaching of the Word, as if He were present with you, stood amongst you, and spake personally to every one of you.

And because this would not suit His present state of glory, He hath appointed the ministers of the gospel to appear before you, and to deal with you in His stead, avowing as His own the invitations that are given you in His name.

Consider, therefore, His infinite condescension, grace, and love herein. Why all this towards you? Doth He stand in need of you? Have you deserved it at His hands? Did you love Him first? Cannot He be happy and blessed without you?

Hath He any design upon you that He is so earnest in calling you unto Him? Alas! It is nothing but the overflowing of mercy, compassion, and grace, that moves Him herein.”

–John Owen, “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,” in The Works of John Owen, ed. William Goold, 24 vols. (Edinburgh: Johnson & Hunter; 1850-1855; reprint by Banner of Truth, 1965), Vol. 1:422-423.

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Filed under Christian Theology, Evangelism, Glory of Christ, Jesus Christ, John Owen, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel

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