Tag Archives: Mystery

“A super-infinite plan” by Maximus the Confessor (A.D. 580–662)

“For it was fitting for the Creator of the universe, who by the economy of His incarnation became what by nature He was not, to preserve without change both what He himself was by nature and what He became in His incarnation.

For naturally we must not consider any change at all in God, nor conceive any movement in Him. Being changed properly pertains to movable creatures.

This is the great and hidden mystery, at once the blessed end for which all things are ordained. It is the divine purpose conceived before the beginning of created beings.

In defining it we would say that this mystery is the preconceived goal for which everything exists, but which itself exists on account of nothing.

With a clear view to this end, God created the essences of created beings, and such is, properly speaking, the terminus of His providence and of the things under His providential care.

Inasmuch as it leads to God, it is the recapitulation of the things He has created. It is the mystery which circumscribes all the ages, and which reveals the grand plan of God (Eph. 1:10–11), a super-infinite plan infinitely preexisting the ages.

The Logos, by essence God, became a messenger of this plan (Isa. 9:6) when He became a man and, if I may rightly say so, established Himself as the innermost depth of the Father’s goodness while also displaying in Himself the very goal for which His creatures manifestly received the beginning of their existence.”

–Maximus the Confessor, Ad Thalassium 60, in On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ: Selected Writings from St Maximus the Confessor, ed. John Behr, trans. Paul M. Blowers and Robert Louis Wilken, vol. 25, Popular Patristics Series (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2003), 124–125.

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“All of life comes back to the doctrine of God” by Stephen Nichols

“All of life comes back to the doctrine of God.”

–Stephen J. Nichols, R.C. Sproul: A Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2021), 195.

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“The never-failing springs of covenant grace” by John Owen

“Besides the continual supplies of grace that constantly, according to the tenure of the covenant, are communicated unto believers, which keeps them that they thirst no more as to a total indigence, there is, moreover, a readiness in the Lord Christ to yield peculiar succour to the souls of His, according as their occasions shall require.

The apostle tells us that He is ‘a merciful High Priest,’ and ‘able’ (that is, ready, prepared, and willing) ‘to succour them that are tempted,’ (Heb. 2:18); and we are on that account invited to ‘come with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,’ (Heb. 4:16)—that is, grace sufficient, seasonable, suitable unto any especial trial or temptation that we may be exercised withal.

Our merciful High Priest is ready to give out this especial seasonable grace over and above those constant communications of supplies of the Spirit which we mentioned before.

Besides the never-failing springs of ordinary covenant grace, He hath also peculiar refreshing showers for times of drought; and this is exceedingly to the advantage of the saints for their preservation and growth in grace.”

–John Owen, “Indwelling Sin in Believers,” in The Works of John Owen, Volume 6: Temptation and Sin (ed. William H. Goold; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1681/2009), 6: 288.

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“There is mercy and never-failing compassion in God” by John Owen

“There is mercy and never-failing compassion in God, so that though my own present condition be full of darkness, and I see no deliverance, yet I purpose still to abide waiting on Him.

Who knows what those infinite stores and treasures of mercy and relief that are with Him may at length afford unto me? (Lamentations 3:21-23)”

–John Owen, “An Exposition of Psalm 130,” in The Works of John Owen, Volume 6: Temptation and Sin (ed. William H. Goold; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1681/2009), 6: 417-418.

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“Christ is the centre of the mystery of the gospel” by John Owen

“Christ is the centre of the mystery of the gospel, and forgiveness is laid up in the heart of Christ from the love of the Father.

In Him are all the treasures of it hid.

And surely it is no small thing to have the heart of Christ revealed unto us.”

–John Owen, “An Exposition of Psalm 130,” in The Works of John Owen, Volume 6: Temptation and Sin (ed. William H. Goold; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1681/2009), 6: 403-404.

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“Christ is the content of Christianity” by Herman Bavinck

“In Christianity, Christ occupies a very different place than Buddha, Zarathustra, and Muhammad do in their respective religions. Christ is not the teacher, not the founder, but the content of Christianity.”

–Herman Bavinck, Ed. John Bolt and trans. John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 3: Sin and Salvation in Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 3: 284.

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“The incarnation is the central fact of the entire history of the world” by Herman Bavinck

“The doctrine of Christ is not the starting point, but it certainly is the central point of the whole system of dogmatics. All other dogmas either prepare for it or are inferred from it.

In it, as the heart of dogmatics, pulses the whole of the religious-ethical life of Christianity. It is ‘the mystery of godliness’ (1 Tim. 3:16).

From this mystery all Christology has to proceed. If, however, Christ is the incarnate Word, then the incarnation is the central fact of the entire history of the world; then, too, it must have been prepared from before the ages and have its effects throughout eternity.”

–Herman Bavinck, Ed. John Bolt and trans. John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 3: Sin and Salvation in Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 3: 274.

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