The Glory of Christ in his Love (Part 1)
by Dr. John Owen
In the susception and discharge of the mediatory office by the Son of God, the Scripture doth most eminently represent,—
II. His LOVE, as the sole impelling and leading cause thereof, Gal 2:20; 1 John 3:16; Rev 1:5.
Herein is he glorious, in a way and manner incomprehensible; for in the glory of divine love the chief brightness of glory doth consist. There is nothing of dread or terror accompanying it,—nothing but what is amiable and infinitely refreshing. Now, that we may take a view of the glory of Christ herein by faith, the nature of it must be inquired into.
1. The eternal disposing cause of the whole work wherein the Lord Christ was engaged by the susception of this office, for the redemption and salvation of the church, is the love of the Father. Hereunto it is constantly ascribed in the Scripture. And this love of the Father acted itself in his eternal decrees, “before the foundation of the world,” Eph 1:4; and afterward in the sending of his Son to render it effectual, John 3:16. Originally, it is his eternal election of a portion of mankind to be brought unto the enjoyment of himself, through the mystery of the blood of Christ, and the sanctification of the Spirit, 2 Thess 2:13,16; Eph 1:4-9; 1 Pet 1:2.
This eternal act of the will of God the Father doth not contain in it an actual approbation of, and complacency in, the state and condition of those that are elected; but only designeth that for them on the account whereof they shall be accepted and approved. And it is called his love on sundry accounts.
(1.) Because it is an act suited unto that glorious excellency of his nature wherein he is love; for “God is love,” 1 John 4:8-9. And the first egress of the divine properties must, therefore, be in an act of communicative love. And whereas this election, being an eternal act of the will of God, can have no moving cause but what is in himself,—if we could look into all the treasures of the divine excellencies, we should find none whereunto it could be so properly ascribed as unto love. Wherefore,—
(2.) It is styled LOVE, because it was free and undeserved, as unto anything on our part; for whatever good is done unto any altogether undeserved, if it be with a design of their profit and advantage, it is an act of love, and can have no other cause. So is it with us in respect of eternal election. There was nothing in us, nothing foreseen, as that which, from ourselves, would be in us, that should any way move the will of God unto this election; for whatever is good in the best of men is an effect of it, Eph 1:4. Whereas, therefore, it tends unto our eternal good, the spring of it must be love. And,—
(3.) The fruits or effects of it are inconceivable acts of love. It is by multiplied acts of love that it is made effectual; John 3:16; Jer 31:3; Eph 1:3-5; 1 John 4:8-9,16.
**(Part 2 next Sunday)