The Vision of Christ

John Owen's Christologia is a worthwhile read.

John Owen’s (1616-1683) Christologia offers a thorough study of the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ and the work He has accomplished and continues to accomplish for our redemption. This is a difficult read, but well worthwhile.

Owen is concerned to shore up the faith of true believers by offering a thorough and thoroughly Biblical study of his subject. He is well aware of the threats to the Person of Christ that were increasing in his day, in the 17th century, and he does not shy away from addressing them at various places in his work.

He writes, “The more sublime and glorious – the more inaccessible unto sense and reason – the thing are which we believe; the more are we changed into the image of God, in the exercise of faith upon them.” By having a clear vision of Christ and a thorough understanding of His work, we may study and meditate on Him more effectually, so that we actually increase in Him and He in us.

The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ is Owen’s special focus, and He considers that glory – that manifestation of Christ’s deity – from all conceivable angles and all parts of Scripture, beginning with Christ the eternal Wisdom of God.

Owen states, “For to know God, so as thereby to be made like unto him, is the chief end of man. This is done perfectly only in the person of Christ, all other means of it being subordinate thereunto, and none of them of the same nature therewithal. The end of the Word itself, is to instruct us in the knowledge of God in Christ.” The twenty discourses in this book offer an expansive vision of Christ in His eternality, incarnation, suffering and death, resurrection and ascension, and His session at the right hand of God. Conspicuously absent is any careful treatment of Christ’s return and our dwelling with Him in the new heavens and new earth, although mention is made of each.

Own charges all believers with the duty of nurturing a clear and compelling vision of Christ in all phases and aspects of His Being and work. This is the only way to grow in Christ so that we are able, through Christ, to glorify God in everything we do. The penultimate chapter on Christ in glory is as fine an explication of the beatific vision as I have come across. It merits careful reading and study, with a view to setting our minds on those things that are above with greater thanksgiving, praise, and humility. Owen insists that those who fail to take this challenge to heart do well to consider whether they have any real love for Christ at all, and, indeed whether they are even Christian. Contemplating the vision of Christ increases our faith, transforms us into the likeness of Christ, turns our affections away from earthly matters, and prepares us day by day for the enjoyment of eternal glory with the Lord.

He summarizes: “The enjoyment of heaven is usually called the beatifical vision ; that is, such an intellectual present view, apprehension, and sight of God and his glory, especially as manifested in Christ, as will make us blessed unto eternity. Wherefore, in the contemplation of this mystery doth a great part of our blessedness consist; and farther our thoughts cannot attain.” May God by His grace assist all believers in this quest for the pure, true, faithful, and worshipful knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.