John Owen was a faithful pastor and theologian who lived in the 17th century in England (1616-83). He was a prolific writer and a master theologian of God’s grace. His complete works are available as a sixteen volume set by Banner of Truth Trust. The two volumes to begin with if you are interested in reading Owen (and you should be!!) are ‘Sin and Temptation’ (Vol. 6), ‘The Death of Death in the Death of Christ (Vol. 10).
Below is a quotation from John Owen’s excellent volume entitled ‘Meditations on the Glory of Christ’. Owen died as this book was being printed. As Owen believed and has taught many Christians after him:
“A continual view of the glory of Christ will have the blessed effect of changing us more and more into the likeness of Christ. Perhaps other ways and means have failed to make us Christ-like. Let us put this way to the test.”
John Owen: “Let us now consider the love of the Son, which is full of compassion. Although sinful creatures, we were capable of being recovered. God chose us as a way to express his divine goodness and love. Christ took our flesh and blood, not the nature of angels (Heb. 2:14-18). He looked forward with great delight to the salvation of mankind which would bring such glory to God.
His willingness and delight in taking human nature were not lessened by the knowledge of the great difficulties he would have to face. In order to save us, he would have to continue until his soul was sorrowful to death. But this did not deter him. His love and mercy rose like the waters of a mighty stream, for he says: ‘Behold, I come; I delight to do your will, O my God’ (Psa. 40:7, 8). So a body was prepared for him, to give effect to the immeasurable grace and fervent love he had for mankind.
Now when we think of the glorious love of Christ, we find there is in his divine nature the love of God the Father. But there is more, because when he exercised his love he was human also. The love in the two natures is quite distinct and yet comes from the one person, Christ Jesus. It was an act of inexpressible love when he took our human nature, but it was an act of his divine nature only. His death was only an act of his human nature. But both were truly his acts, as we read in 1 John 3:16: ‘By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us’.”
I would encourage you to prepare your minds continually for heavenly things by meditating seriously on the glory of the love of Christ. This cannot be done if the mind is always full of earthly thoughts. Do not be satisfied with general thoughts of the love of Christ but think of it in a more detailed way.”
In Christ’s Love,