August 31, 2009
Dr. Rick Daniels did us a great service by outlining John Owen’s Christology at our latest Fraternal meeting. His dissertation on this subject, completed for Westminster Seminary, is available through Reformation Heritage Books for $25. I will post several highlights from his talk in the next several days. I begin with an extended quote of Owen, which Dr. Daniel’s read from Owen’s sermon “A Vision of Unchangeable, Free Mercy, In Sending the Means of Grace to Undeserving Sinners,” which can be found in vol. 8 of Owen’s works (Banner of Truth, pp. 2ff.)
Jesus Christ is all, and in all; and where he is wanting there can be no good. Hunger cannot truly be satisfied without manna, the bread of life, which is Jesus Christ;—and what shall a hungry man do that hath no bread? Thirst cannot be quenched without that water or living spring, which is Jesus Christ;—and what shall a thirsty soul do without water? A captive, as we are all, cannot be delivered without redemption, which is Jesus Christ; —and what shall the prisoner do without his ransom? Fools, as we are all, cannot be instructed without wisdom, which is Jesus Christ; —without him we perish in our folly. All building without him is on the sand, which will surely fall. All working without him is in the fire, where it will be consumed. All riches without him have wings, and will away. “Mallem ruere cum Christo, quam regnare cum Caesare,” said Luther. A dungeon with Christ, is a throne; and a throne without Christ, a hell. Nothing so ill, but Christ will compensate. The greatest evil in the world is sin, and the greatest sin was the first; and yet Gregory feared not to cry, ‘O felix culpa, quae talem meruit redemptorem!” —“O happy fault, which found such a Redeemer!” All mercies without Christ are bitter; and every cup is sweet that is seasoned but with a drop of his blood; —he truly is “amor et deliciae humani generis,”—the love and delight of the sons of men,—without whom they must perish eternally; “for there is no other name given unto them, whereby they may be saved, Acts iv.12. He is the Way; men without him are Cains, wanderers, vagabonds:—he is the Truth; men without him are liars, like the devil, who was so of old:—he is the Life; without him men are dead, dead in trespasses and sins:—he is the Light; without him men are in darkness, and go they know not whither:—he is the Vine; those that are not grafted in him are withered branches, prepared for the fire:—he is the Rock; men not built on him are carried away with a flood:—he is Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the author and the ender, the founder and the finisher of our salvation. He that hath not him, hath neither beginning of good, nor shall have end of misery. O blessed Jesus! how much better were it not to be, than to be without thee!—never to be born, than not to die in thee! A thousand hells come short of this, eternally to want Jesus Christ, as men do that want the gospel.