March 24, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – March 24th, 2019
Meditations upon God (Continued)
a). Objection: Christ reveals Himself to believers (continued)
2). Comparatively, that knowledge which we have of God by the revelation of Jesus Christ in the gospel is exceeding eminent and glorious. It is so in comparison of any knowledge of God that might otherwise be attained, or that was delivered in the Law under the Old Testament, which had but the shadow of good things, not the express image of them. This the apostle pursues at length in 2 Corinthians 3:6ff. Christ has now in these last days revealed the Father from His own bosom, declared His name, made known His mind, will, and counsel in a far more clear, eminent, distinct manner than He did formerly while He kept His people under the tutelage of the Law. This is that which, for the most part, is intended in the places before mentioned. The clear delivery and declaration of God and His will in the gospel is expressly exalted in comparison to any other way of revelation of Himself.
3). The difference between believers and unbelievers as to knowledge is not so much in the matter of their knowledge as in the manner of knowing. Some unbelievers may know more and be able to say more of God, His perfections, and His will than many believers; but they know nothing as they ought, nothing in a right manner, nothing spiritually and savingly, nothing with a holy, heavenly light. The excellency of a believer is not that he has a large ap-prehension of things, but that what he does apprehend, which perhaps may be very little, he sees in the light of the Spirit of God, in a saving, soul-transforming light. This is that which gives us communion with God, and not prying thoughts or inquisitively elevated notions.
4). Jesus Christ by His Word and Spirit reveals to the hearts of all His people God as a Father, as a God in covenant, as a rewarder. He does this in every way sufficiently to teach us to obey Him here, and to lead us to His bosom, to lie down there in the fruition of Him to eternity. But yet now,
5). Notwithstanding all this, it is but a little portion we know of Him. We see but His back parts. This is because of the following.
1st. The intention of all gospel revelation is not to unveil God’s essential glory, that we should see Him as He is, but merely to declare so much of Him as He knows sufficient to be a foundation for our faith, love, obedience, and coming to Him—that is, of the faith that He here expects from us, and of such services as are fit for poor creatures in the midst of temptations. But when He calls us to eternal admiration and contemplation without interruption, [that is, in heaven], He will make a new manner of discovery of Himself. Then the whole shape of things as it now lies before us will depart as a shadow.
2ndly. We are dull and slow of heart to receive the things that are in the Word revealed. God, by our infirmity and weakness, keeps us in continual dependence on Him for teachings and revelations of Himself out of His Word, never in this world bringing any soul to the utmost of what is from the Word to be made out and discovered. Therefore, although the way of revelation in the gospel be clear and evident, yet we know little of the things themselves that are revealed.
Let us, then, revive the use and intention of this consideration. Will not a due apprehension of this inconceivable greatness of God, and that infinite distance wherein we stand from Him, fill the soul with a holy and awful fear of Him, so as to keep it in a frame that is unsuited to the thriving or flourishing of any lust whatever? Let the soul be continually accustomed to reverential thoughts of God’s greatness and omnipresence, and it will be much upon its watch as to any undue behaviors. Consider Him “with whom we have to do”—even “our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 4:13; 12:29). In your greatest humiliations at His presence and eye, know that your very nature is too narrow to bear apprehensions suitable to His essential glory.