He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as the labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials he multiplies peace.
His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
Annie J. Flint (1866-1932)
I found myself drifting in and out of John Owen’s amazing work on the glory of Christ. Five minute break here, five minute break there, not really understanding the context of what Owen was saying in today’s particular section. But going against my goads, I decided that I would read the last two chapters properly – I didn’t want the book to become a complete waste of time.
Unfortunately for me, those last chapters challenged me so much that I felt guilt spread all over me regarding my flippant reading of the past x pages. I’ve read many books on how to kill the dregs of sin left in the Christian life, but this book by far has helped me, moreso even than Owen’s other work, The Mortification of Sin. Why? I think, for me at least, I needed to understand the glory of Christ before I made any steps further.
What is the use ultimately of killing sin when you don’t even know the reasons for why you’re doing it? Why do we as Christians have this deep, unnatural urge to fight our flesh’s desire? Why are we so different from what we were when we didn’t believe? From reading Owen it makes perfect sense to me now at this point in my life that it all boils down to the effect of the glory of Christ.
I don’t think I can do a perfect, even a good, summary of the book without reading it thoroughly and carefully inside and out – but the gist of the matter sticks out like a sore thumb:
So it is only as we behold the glory of Christ by faith here in this world that our hearts will be drawn more and more to Christ and to the full enjoyment of the sight of his glory hereafter…[and] 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. (pg. 7)
It seems to me that if I want to develop as a Christian, it’s essential that I see the glory of Christ in many ways from Christ as God’s Representative (Chapter 2) to Christ restoring all things, including ourselves (Ch. 11). The final two chapters were dedicated to Spiritual Decay, how to recognise it and recover from it – what a worthwhile read! But as with any (good) Christian book, reading it is the easy part, putting it into practice is more difficult.
Again, a recommended read, but one you can’t just jump in and out of during work breaks!