“This is that which Christ came to reveal: God as a Father” by John Owen

“Communion consists in giving and receiving. Until the love of the Father be received, we have no communion with him therein.

How, then, is this love of the Father to be received, so as to hold fellowship with Him? I answer, By faith.

The receiving of it is the believing of it. God hath so fully, so eminently revealed His love, that it may be received by faith.

“Ye believe in God,” (John 14:1); that is, the Father. And what is to be believed in Him? His love; for He is “love,” (1 John 4:8).

It is true, there is not an immediate acting of faith upon the Father, but by the Son.

“He is the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Him,” (John 14:6).

He is the merciful high priest over the house of God, by whom we have access to the throne of grace: by Him is our introduction unto the Father; by Him we believe in God, (1 Pet. 1:21).

But this is that I say,—When by and through Christ we have an access unto the Father, we then behold His glory also, and see His love that He peculiarly bears unto us, and act faith thereon.

We are then, I say, to eye it, to believe it, to receive it, as in Him; the issues and fruits thereof being made out unto us through Christ alone.

Though there be no light for us but in the beams, yet we may by beams see the sun, which is the fountain of it. Though all our refreshment actually lie in the streams, yet by them we are led up unto the fountain.

Jesus Christ, in respect of the love of the Father, is but the beam, the stream; wherein though actually all our light, our refreshment lies, yet by Him we are led to the fountain, the sun of eternal love itself.

Would believers exercise themselves herein, they would find it a matter of no small spiritual improvement in their walking with God.

This is that which is aimed at. Many dark and disturbing thoughts are apt to arise in this thing.

Few can carry up their hearts and minds to this height by faith, as to rest their souls in the love of the Father; they live below it, in the troublesome region of hopes and fears, storms and clouds.

All here is serene and quiet. But how to attain to this pitch they know not.

This is the will of God, that He may always be eyed as benign, kind, tender, loving, and unchangeable therein; and that peculiarly as the Father, as the great fountain and spring of all gracious communications and fruits of love.

This is that which Christ came to reveal: God as a Father (John 1:18).”

–John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 2: Communion With God (ed. William H. Goold; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1850-53/1997), 2: 22-23.

“There is more glory given unto God by coming unto Christ in believing than in keeping the whole law” by John Owen

“Every poor soul that comes by faith unto Christ, gives unto God all that glory which it is His design to manifest and be exalted in;– and what can we do more?

There is more glory given unto God by coming unto Christ in believing than in keeping the whole law; inasmuch as He hath more eminently manifested the holy properties of His nature in the way of salvation by Christ, than in giving of the law.”

–John Owen, “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,” The Works of John Owen, Volume 1: The Glory of Christ (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1684/2000), 1: 424–425.

“Growth in grace” by John Owen

“Growth in grace, holiness, and obedience, is a growing like unto Christ; and nothing else is so.”

–John Owen, “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,” The Works of John Owen, Volume 1: The Glory of Christ (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1684/2000), 1: 392.

“A continual desire” by John Owen

“Our Lord Jesus Christ alone perfectly understood wherein the eternal blessedness of them that believe in Him doth consist.

And this is the sum of what He prays for with respect unto that end,– namely, that we may be where He is, to behold His glory. (John 17:24)

And is it not our duty to live in a continual desire of that which He prayed so earnestly that we might attain?”

–John Owen, “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,” The Works of John Owen, Volume 1: The Glory of Christ (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1684/2000), 1: 388-389.

“This is heaven, this is blessedness, this is eternal rest” by John Owen

“Alas! We cannot here think of Christ, but we are quickly ashamed of, and troubled at, our own thoughts; so confused are they, so unsteady, so imperfect.

Commonly they issue in a groan or a sigh: Oh! when shall we come unto Him? When shall we be ever with Him? When shall we see Him as He is?

And if at any time He begins to give more than ordinary evidences and intimations of His glory and love unto our souls, we are not able to bear them, so as to give them any abiding residence in our minds.

But ordinarily this trouble and groaning is amongst our best attainments in this world,– a trouble which, I pray God, I may never be delivered from, until deliverance do come at once from this state of mortality; yea, the good Lord increase this trouble more and more in all that believe.

The heart of a believer affected with the glory of Christ, is like the needle touched with the loadstone.

It can no longer be quiet, no longer be satisfied in a distance from him. It is put into a continual motion towards him.

This motion, indeed, is weak and tremulous. Pantings, breathings, sighings, groanings in prayer, in meditations, in the secret recesses of our minds, are the life of it.

However, it is continually pressing towards Him. But it obtains not its point, it comes not to its centre and rest, in this world.

But now above, all things are clear and serene,– all plain and evident in our beholding the glory of Christ.

We shall be ever with Him, and see Him as He is. This is heaven, this is blessedness, this is eternal rest.

The person of Christ in all His glory shall be continually before us; and the eyes of our understandings shall be so gloriously illuminated, as that we shall be able steadily to behold and comprehend that glory.

But, alas! Here at present our minds recoil, our meditations fail, our hearts are overcome, our thoughts confused, and our eyes turn aside from the lustre of this glory.

Nor can we abide in the contemplation of it.

But there, an immediate, constant view of it, will bring in everlasting refreshment and joy unto our whole souls.”

–John Owen, “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,” The Works of John Owen, Volume 1: The Glory of Christ (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1684/2000), 1: 385.

“Because Christ is there” by John Owen

“Here our souls are burdened with innumerable infirmities, and our faith is clogged in its operations by ignorance and darkness.

This makes our best estate and highest attainments to be accompanied with groans for deliverance: “We which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body,” (Rom. 8:23).

Yea, whilst we are in this tabernacle, we groan earnestly, as being burdened, because we are not “absent from the body, and present with the Lord,” (2 Cor. 5:2, 4, 8).

The more we grow in faith and spiritual light, the more sensible are we of our present burdens, and the more vehemently do we groan for deliverance into the perfect liberty of the sons of God.

This is the posture of their minds who have received the first-fruits of the Spirit in the most eminent degree.

The nearer anyone is to heaven, the more earnestly he desires to be there, because Christ is there.”

–John Owen, “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,” The Works of John Owen, Volume 1: The Glory of Christ (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1684/2000), 1: 384.

“One pure act of spiritual sight in discerning the glory of Christ” by John Owen

“One pure act of spiritual sight in discerning the glory of Christ,– one pure act of love in cleaving unto God,– will bring in more blessedness and satisfaction into our minds than in this world we are capable of.”

–John Owen, “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,” The Works of John Owen, Volume 1: The Glory of Christ (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1684/2000), 1: 381-382.

“As a man sees his neighbour face to face, so shall we see the Lord Christ in His glory” by John Owen

“Christ Himself, in His own person, with all His glory, shall be continually with us, before us, proposed unto us.

We shall no longer have an image, a representation of Him, such as is the delineation of His glory in the Gospel.

We “shall see Him,” saith the apostle, “face to face,” (1 Cor. 13:12);—which he opposeth unto our seeing Him darkly as in a glass, which is the utmost that faith can attain to.

“We shall see Him as He is,” 1 John 3:2;– not as now, in an imperfect description of Him.

As a man sees his neighbour when they stand and converse together face to face, so shall we see the Lord Christ in His glory. And not as Moses, who had only a transient sight of some parts of the glory of God, when He caused it to pass by him.

There will be use herein of our bodily eyes, as shall be declared. For, as Job says, in our flesh shall we see our Redeemer, and our eyes shall behold Him, (Job 19:25–27).

That corporeal sense shall not be restored unto us, and that glorified above what we can conceive, but for this great use of the eternal beholding of Christ and His glory.

Unto whom is it not a matter of rejoicing, that with the same eyes wherewith they see the tokens and signs of Him in the sacrament of the supper, they shall behold Himself immediately in His own person?

But principally, as we shall see immediately, this vision is intellectual.

It is not, therefore, the mere human nature of Christ that is the object of it, but His divine person, as that nature subsisteth therein.

What is that perfection which we shall have (for that which is perfect must come and do away that which is in part) in the comprehension of the hypostatical union, I understand not.

But this I know, that in the immediate beholding of the person of Christ, we shall see a glory in it a thousand times above what here we can conceive.

The excellencies of infinite wisdom, love, and power therein, will be continually before us.

And all the glories of the person of Christ which we have before weakly and faintly inquired into, will be in our sight forevermore.

Hence the ground and cause of our blessedness is, that “we shall ever be with the Lord,” (1 Thess. 4:17),—as Himself prays, “that we may be with him where He is, to behold His glory.” (John 17:24)

Here we have some dark views of it;– we cannot perfectly behold it, until we are with Him where He is. Thereon our sight of Him will be direct, intuitive, and constant.

There is a glory, there will be so, subjectively in us in the beholding of this glory of Christ, which is at present incomprehensible. For it doth not yet appear what we ourselves shall be, (1 John 3:2).

Who can declare what a glory it will be in us to behold this glory of Christ?

And how excellent, then, is that glory of Christ itself!

This immediate sight of Christ is that which all the saints of God in this life do breathe and pant after.

Hence are they willing to be dissolved, or “desire to depart, that they may be with Christ,” which is best for them, (Phil. 1:23).

They choose “to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord,” (2 Cor. 5:8); or that they may enjoy the inexpressibly longed-for sight of Christ in His glory.”

–John Owen, “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,” The Works of John Owen, Volume 1: The Glory of Christ (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1684/2000), 1: 378-379.

“Herein is He glorious in the sight of God, angels, and men” by John Owen

“The establishment of the righteousness of God on the one hand, and the forgiveness of sin on the other, seem so contradictory, as that many stumble and fall at it eternally. (See Rom. 10:3-4).

But in this interposition of Christ, in this translation of punishment from the church unto Him, by virtue of His conjunction therewith, there is a blessed harmony between the righteousness of God and the forgiveness of sins;– the exemplification whereof is His eternal glory.

“O blessed change! O sweet permutation!” as Justin Martyr speaks.

By virtue of His union with the church, which of His own accord He entered into, and His undertaking therein to answer for it in the sight of God, it was a righteous thing with God to lay the punishment of all our sins upon Him, so as that He might freely and graciously pardon them all, to the honour and exaltation of His justice, as well as of His grace and mercy, (Rom. 3:24–26).

Herein is He glorious in the sight of God, angels, and men.

In Him there is at the same time, in the same divine actings, a glorious resplendency of justice and mercy;– of the one in punishing, of the other in pardoning.

The appearing inconsistency between the righteousness of God and the salvation of sinners, wherewith the consciences of convinced persons are exercised and terrified, and which is the rock on which most of them split themselves into eternal ruin, is herein removed and taken away.

In His cross were divine holiness and vindictive justice exercised and manifested; and through His triumph, grace and mercy are exerted to the utmost.

This is that glory which ravisheth the hearts and satiates the souls of them that believe.

For what can they desire more, what is farther needful unto the rest and composure of their souls, than at one view to behold God eternally well pleased in the declaration of His righteousness and the exercise of His mercy, in order unto their salvation?

In due apprehensions hereof let my soul live.

In the faith hereof let me die.

And let present admiration of this glory make way for the eternal enjoyment of it in its beauty and fulness.”

–John Owen, “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,” The Works of John Owen, Volume 1: The Glory of Christ (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1684/2000), 1: 358-359.

“It is a joy of heart unto us that Thou art what Thou art” by John Owen

“Let the world rage whilst it pleaseth.

Let it set itself with all its power and craft against everything of Christ that is in it,– which, whatever is by some otherwise pretended, proceeds from a hatred unto His person.

Let men make themselves drunk with the blood of His saints.

We have this to oppose unto all their attempts, unto our supportment,– namely, what He says of Himself: ‘Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of hell and of death,’ (Rev 1:17-18).

Blessed Jesus! We can add nothing to Thee, nothing to Thy glory.

But it is a joy of heart unto us that Thou art what Thou art,– that Thou art so gloriously exalted at the right hand of God.

And we do long more fully and clearly to behold that glory, according to Thy prayer and promise.”

–John Owen, “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,” The Works of John Owen, Volume 1: The Glory of Christ (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1684/2000), 1: 347.