John Owen on Seeing Christ’s glory

I’m reading The Glory of Christ by John Owen while on holiday and thought I would blog some extracts.

I’m reading the abridged and simplified version by R. J. K. Law (Banner of Truth, 1994). Owen’s original work is entitled Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ and is in volume one of Owen’s Works (ed. Goold).

Chapter One: Seeing Christ’s Glory

The greatest desire that Christ expressed in his prayer was that his people might be with him to behold his glory (John 17:24). It is clear that in this prayer the Lord Christ was referring to his own glory and actual sight of it (John 17:4-5). He is not concerned that his disciples should merely see how glorious he was, but that the beholding of his glory might bring encouragement, strength, satisfaction and blessedness to his disciples. (1-2)

Only a sight of his glory, and nothing else, will truly satisfy God’s people. (2)

We can now lay down a great foundational truth: One of the greatest privileges the believer has, both in this world and for eternity, is to behold the glory of Christ.(2)

It is by beholding the glory of Christ that believers are first gradually transformed into his image, and then brought into the eternal enjoyment of it, because they shall for ‘be ever like him’, for they ‘shall see him as he is’ (2 Cor. 3:18; 1 John 3:1-2). On this depend our present comforts and future blessedness. This is the life and reward of our soul (John 14:9; 2 Cor. 4:6). (4)

Scripture shows us two ways by which we may behold the glory of Christ. We may behold it by faith in this world, faith being ‘the evidence of things not seen’, and we may behold it by sight in the next (2 Cor. 5:7-8, 1 Cor. 13:12) … No man shall ever behold the glory of Christ by sight in heaven who does not, in some measure, behold it by faith in this world. (4)

Many will say with confidence that they desire to be with Christ and to behold his glory. But when asked, they can give no reason for this desire, except that it would be better than going to hell. If a man claims to love and desire that which he never even saw, he is deceiving himself. (4-5)

It is by beholding the glory of Christ by faith that we are spiritually edified and built up in this world, for as we behold his glory, the life and power of faith grow stronger and stronger. It is by faith that we grow to love Christ. So if we desire strong faith and powerful love, which give us rest, peace and satisfaction, we must seek them by diligently beholding the glory of Christ by faith. In this duty I desire to live and to die. On Christ’s glory I would fix all my thoughts and desires, and the more I see of the glory of Christ, the more the painted beauties of this world will wither in my eyes and I will be more and more crucified to this world. (7)

One thought on “John Owen on Seeing Christ’s glory

  1. Christian Focus Publications have started to re-print Owen’s works (whether all or just some), not that that’s anything special, but they’ve reformatted them all into proper chapters, sections and subsections, so it’s slightly easier to read than the puritan paperback versions often are.

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