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Great is the Mystery of Godliness

By admin | December 25, 2008

Profound words, very relevant today, from John Owen, Vol. 1

Some would have all things that we are to believe to be leveled absolutely unto our reason and comprehension — a principle which, at this day, shakes the very foundations of the Christian religion. It is not sufficient, they say, to determine that the faith or knowledge of any thing is necessary unto our obedience and salvation, that it seems to be fully and perspicuously revealed in the Scripture — unless the things so revealed be obvious and comprehensible unto our reason; an apprehension which, as it ariseth from the pride which naturally ensues on the ignorance of God and ourselves, so it is not only an invention suited to debase religion, but an engine to evert the faith of the church in all the principal mysteries of the Gospel — especially of the Trinity and the incarnation of the Son of God. But faith which is truly divine, is never more in its proper exercise — doth never more elevate the soul into conformity unto God — than when it acts in the contemplation and admiration of the most incomprehensible mysteries which are proposed unto it by divine revelation.
Hence things philosophical, and of a deep rational indigation, find great acceptance in the world — as, in their proper place, they do deserve. Men are furnished with proper measures of them, and they find them proportionate unto the principles of their own understandings. But as for spiritual and heavenly mysteries, the thoughts of men for the most part recoil, upon their first proposal, nor will be encouraged to engage in a diligent inquiry into them — yea, commonly reject them as foolish, or at least that wherein they are not concerned. The reason is that given in another case by the apostle: “All men have not faith;” (2 Thessalonians 3:2;) which makes them absurd and unreasonable in the consideration of the proper objects of it. But where this faith is, the greatness of the mysteries which it embraceth heightens its efficacy, in all its blessed effects, upon the soul. Such is this constitution of the person of Christ, wherein the glory of all the holy properties and perfections of the divine nature is manifested, and does shine forth. So speaks the apostle, 2 Corinthians 3:18: “Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory.” This glory which we behold, is the glory of the face of God in Jesus Christ, (chap. 4:6,) or the glorious representation which is made of him in the person of Christ, whereof we shall treat afterwards. The glass wherein this glory is represented unto us — proposed unto our view and contemplation — is divine revelation in the gospel. Herein we behold it, by faith alone. And those whose view is steadfast, who most abound in that contemplation by the exercise of faith, are thereby “changed into the same image, from glory to glory” — or are more and more renewed and transformed into the likeness of God, so represented unto them.

Topics: Doctrine of God, John Owen, Puritanism, Puritans, Reformed Theology, Worship | Comments Off

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