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January 21, 2018

Fresh Grace

bow river

Credit: Philip R. Goodwin 1907

John Owen devoted himself to Christ. It wasn’t merely that he did great things for Christ, but he looked intently at the great things about Christ.

The evidence of this devotion is written down in Owen’s massive commentary on the book of Hebrews. You can also see Owen’s devotion in his meditation called, The Glory of Christ. Since Packer wrote of becoming an ‘Owenian’ many Christians have enjoyed the harvest of devotion from this theologian that Carl Trueman called, a ‘Reformed Catholic’.

Near the end of the Glory of Christ, Owen does what the Puritans did so well, he made applications. These practical points were based on the dogmas he had previously expounded. In his applications Owen noted the tendency that all Christians have towards declining in their spirituality as they continue on in life. Yet Owen affirmed that there were available means– tools or instruments– that could be used to grow in sanctification.

Owen gave hope for the weary when he said:

a steady spiritual view of the glory of Christ by faith will give them a gracious revival from inward decays, and fresh springs of grace even in their latter days.

The metaphor Owen uses is a classic. The idea of the spring comes from the Scriptures themselves. From Eden’s watering to Jeremiah’s lament over Israel’s choice of broken cisterns versus God’s spring, there is a repeated theme of the spring that refreshes the parched and thirsty. Of course Jesus spoke of offering living water to the SyroPhoenician woman, heralding his dispensing of the Holy Spirit at the Jewish feast.

Owen takes this picture of the spring and applies it to the need of Christians. We are not to merely look upon old grace, as gracious as it may be, but to enjoy ‘fresh springs of grace’.

Are you spiritually decaying? You need a ‘steady spiritual view of the glory of Christ by faith’. Look and live.

About Clint Humfrey

Pastor of Calvary Grace Church in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I'm married with three sons. Views expressed on this blog are my own.