A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance
by Steve West
Editor’s Note: Most of our readers will already be at least somewhat acquainted with John Owen (1616-1683), “the prince of Puritans,” but it is not likely that many have read him extensively. His works are not only voluminous – they are tightly packed and deeply considered. Owen is neither quick nor light reading!
Today we continue our year-long series of summaries of Owen’s famous works. We trust these will be of help in introducing and/or increasing your acquaintance with this giant Puritan theologian.
Table of Contents
Discourse on the Holy Spirit [In Five Books]
Summary, Part 5
Chapter I: Necessity of Holiness from the Consideration of the Nature of God
Holiness flows out of the great doctrines of grace as taught in Scripture. God’s grace produces an internal change in us by renovating all of our faculties so that we find a universal compliance with his will that comes from faith and love. As a result, in all things, we aim for the glory of God through Jesus Christ. In both Old and New Testaments, God is revealed as a holy God, and we are commanded to be holy as he is holy. Holiness is his very nature. No unclean person or thing is allowed in his presence. God is eternally and absolutely holy—this is a property of the divine nature—but it is the holiness of God as revealed in Christ that we consider.
The properties of God are perfect, and it is only in Christ that they are fully revealed to us. In Christ, we see the holiness of God and are effectively conformed to his image. In the face of Christ, we see what holiness is, and this vision is conjoined with the grace and mercy of God so that we are drawn into holiness ourselves. Far from being a disincentive to holiness, the satisfaction of God that comes through the atonement of Christ is our only foundation and hope for being holy in God’s sight.
It is our great privilege and glory to be made in the image of God, and this means holiness. Being holy is also necessary for a relationship with God—Scripture is clear that prayer, fasting, preaching, and other acts do not bring us to God if we are unholy. Without holiness, no one will see the Lord; without holiness, no one will enter into or enjoy the eternal state of glory. Our works of holiness are not sufficient to bring us to God, but without any works of holiness, none will see him. Works do not save us, but they are necessary as the fruit of love and faith in Christ Jesus. The satisfaction that comes from the death of Christ, far from encouraging antinomianism or rendering good works futile, is the only real motivator and power for good works. It inspires us to live in love and gratitude for the glory of God in light of his grace and love for us. . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
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