Reformed Witness Hour
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Rev. W. Bruinsma
JOHN OWEN ON GRACE:
1. Grace of personal presence and comeliness (beauty). So we say, “A graceful and comely person,” either from himself or his ornaments. This in Christ is the subject of near one-half of the book of Song of Solomon; it is also mentioned, Psalm. 45: 2 and John 1:14, “Thou art fairer than the children of men;grace is poured into thy lips.” Those inconceivable gifts and fruits of the Spirit which were bestowed on him, and brought forth in him, concur to his personal excellency;
2. Grace of free favour and acceptance. “By this grace we are saved;” that is, the free favour and gracious acceptation of God in Christ. In this sense is it used in that frequent expression, “If I have found grace in thy sight;” that is, if I be freely and favourably accepted before thee. So he “giveth grace” (that is, favour) “unto the humble,” James 4:6; Gen. 39:21, Acts 7:10; 1 Sam. 2:26; Paul introduces most of his epistles or ends them with a doxology that equates grace with Jesus Christ-indeed there is NO GRACE outside of Christ-JK.
3. The power of God producing the fruit of the Spirit, saving, sanctifying and renewing our natures, enabling unto good, and preventing from evil, are so termed. Thus the Lord tells Paul, “his grace was sufficient for him;” that is, the assistance against temptation which he afforded him, Titus 2:10, I Peter 5: 10-12, Col. 3:16; 2 Cor. 8:6, 7; Heb. 12: 28.
There is no grace outside of Christ for mankind in general, specifically the reprobate wicked-JK
Besetting sin is rooted in our nature, and often cherished, fomented, and heightened from our constitution.
1. This does not absolve of the guilt of your sin.
It is from the fall, from the original depravation of our natures, that the kindles and nourishment of any sin abides in our natural temper. David reckons his being shapen in iniquity and conception in sin aggravated his guilt. That you art peculiarly inclined unto
any sinful distemper is but a peculiar breaking out of original lust in your nature, which should peculiarly abase and humble you.
2. That in reference to your walking with God, without extraordinary watchfulness, care, and diligence, the sin will assuredly prevail against your soul.
3. For the mortification of any sin so rooted in the nature of a man, this is the key states the apostle, 1 Cor. 9: 27, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection.” The bringing of the very body into subjection is an ordinance of God tending to the mortification of sin. This gives check unto the natural root of the sin, and withers it.
That the means whereby this is done, — namely, by fasting and watching, and the like, — cannot of their own power, produce true mortification of any sin; for if they would, sin might be mortified without any help of the Spirit in any unregenerate person in the world. They are to be looked on only as ways whereby the Spirit may, and sometimes does, put forth strength for the accomplishing of his own work, especially in the case mentioned.
Notes from John Owen’s treatise.
Based on Romans 8:13, “ For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
Indwelling sin, which battles against us spiritually all our lives, has to be killed daily. It wants to overcome us.
“Every unclean thought or glance would be adultery if it could;” “Now nothing can prevent this but mortification; that withers the root and strikes at the head of sin every hour..” We are given the Spirit to fight. “Where sin, through the neglect of mortification, gets a considerable victory, it breaks the bones of the soul, Ps. 31:10, 51: 8, and makes a man weak, sick, and ready to die, Ps. 38:3-5, so that he cannot look up, Ps. 40:12;” Thus although in principle sin is dethroned by our death with Christ on the cross, nevertheless it is our duty to put sin to death daily.
TEMPERANCE—The third property that we should supply in our supernatural faith is “temperance” (egkrateian, accusative of egkrateia, which means self-control or self-restraint). Paul preached the faith in Christ before Felix and “reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come…” (Acts 24:25). Temperance is one of the fruits of the Spirit proclaimed by Paul (Gal. 5:23). This word, as well as the other excellencies to be supplied in our faith, was used twice by Peter (II Pet. 1:6). Self-control is the mastery of desires and passions. It prevents excesses of any kind in the life of a Christian. Self-control includes more than abstinence from alcohol. A person may be a glutton and be just as guilty of the absence of self-control. Sorrow and laughter are all right, but a person does not want to spend all his time in either. Therefore, we will gird our mirth and restrain our sorrow. The apostle Paul refused to be mastered by bodily appetites. He disciplined his body into subjection that he might not become disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27).
The Christian is both the governor and the governed. The new nature within us enables us to control the old Adamic nature. From God’s word, we learn we have the new nature which is capable of controlling our old nature within. Hence, we learn that by the help of the grace God has given us that we are governors and we are governed. Without Christ we are nothing, but with Him and His grace we are governors. This is what Paul meant when he said he would keep his body under subjection (I Cor. 9:27). He taught this same truth in Romans 7. There is a warfare between the outward man and the inward man. But we can thank God that we have victory through Jesus Christ (Rom. 7:25).
Knowledge, the preceding property, defends itself by the excellence of self-control. True knowledge leads to self-restraint from every inordinate desire.
Thanks Barry Watson.
Owen is brilliant (Communion with God).
There are three things considerable in the Holy Ghost: (1) his person, as dwelling in us; (2) his actings by grace, or his motions; (3) his working in the ordinances of the word, and the sacraments—all for the same end and purpose. To these three are the three cautions before suited: (1) Not to grieve him, in respect of his person dwelling in us. (2) Not to quench him, in respect of the actings and motions of his grace. (3) Not to resist him, in respect of the ordinances of Christ, and his gifts for their administration. Now, because the whole general duty of believers, in their communion with the Holy Ghost, is comprised in these three things, I shall handle them severally. TBC.
John Owen in his masterful treatise on Communion with the Triune God teaches us just how we underestimate the blessed work of the Holy Spirit in us. “Without ME (and the Spirit is CHRIST IN ME) ye can do nothing.”
“Now, our afflictions, our sins, and our obedience, with the attendances of them respectively, are the great concernments of our lives. What we are in reference unto God is comprised in them, and the due management of them, with their contraries, (necessitate) consolation from the Holy Ghost, that gives us a joyful issue throughout. All the consolations of the Holy ghost consist in his acquainting us with, and communicating unto us, the love of the Father and the grace of the Son; we have our communion with the Father in his love, and the Son in his grace, by the operation of the Holy Ghost. By persuading us of the eternal and unchangeable love of the Father, he fills us with consolation. (He communicates) the grace of Christ, — all the fruits of his purchase, all the desirableness of his person, as we are interested in him. He glorifies Christ by revealing his excellencies and desirableness to believers, as the “chiefest of ten thousand, — altogether lovely,” and then he shows them of the things of Christ, — his love, grace, all the fruits of his death, suffering, resurrection, and intercession: and with these supports their hearts and souls. And here, whatever is of refreshment in the pardon of
sin, deliverance from the curse, and wrath to come, in justification and adoption.
Froward, perverse, unthankful; grieving, vexing, provoking him. Yet in his love and tenderness does he continue to do us good. He knew what we were, and what we could do, and what would be our dealings with him, — he knew we would grieve him, provoke him, quench his motions, defile his dwelling-place; and yet he would come to be our comforter. Want of a due consideration of this great love of the Holy Ghost weakens all the principles of our obedience. ”
Now we better understand the benediction, ” Now the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
Colossians 1:19: “ For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell;” and John 1:14: “ And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
Hear John Owen: For the fountain of grace, the Holy Ghost, he received not him “by measure,” John 3. 34; and for the communications of the Spirit, “it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell,” This is the Beloved of our souls, “holy, harmless, undefiled;” “full of grace and truth;” — full, to a sufficiency for every end of grace, — full, for practice, to be an example to men and angels as to obedience, full, to a certainty of uninterrupted communion with God, — full, to a readiness of giving supply to others, — full, to suit him to all the occasions and necessities of the souls of men, — full, to a glory not unbecoming a subsistence in the person of the Son of God, — full, to a perfect
victory, in trials, over all temptations, — full, to an exact correspondence to the whole law, every righteous and holy law of God, full to the utmost capacity of a limited, created, finite nature, — full, to the greatest beauty and glory of a living temple of God, — full, to the full pleasure and delight of the soul of his Father, — full to an everlasting monument of the glory of God, in giving such inconceivable excellencies to the Son of man.”
And by his cross and resurrection we are the recipients of some of this fullness all our days.
Paul David Tripp has come in for criticism for psycho-heresy but he has a lot of worthwhile material. ” Love is willing self-sacrifice for the redemptive good of another not demanding reciprocation or that the person is deserving.” ” Immanuel is his name, not just because he came to earth but because he made us his dwelling place.”
His book “War of Words” emphasises the importance of our words that are either life-giving or deadly, never neutral, words that are always the overflow of our hearts.
Every time I read Genesis 45 tears well up in my eyes. The story evokes so much pathos. Joseph, the long-lost eleventh son of Jacob having been sold as a slave by his jealous brothers has risen to be prime minister of Egypt.
He has given his brothers a taste of injustice by returning their food money in their sacks and planting his silver cup in Benjamin’s. He has been testing their characters by demanding a hostage when they return home and now for the last time, having sent his steward to apprehend them, he finally cannot control himself any longer in their presence and leaves the room to weep returning to reveal his identity with much weeping and embracing.
Although not a type of Christ there are many parallels in the two lives:
He is a godly example and man of faith (Hebrews 11:22), is there any wonder I named my son after him?