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.
Summary, Part 3
The Doctrine of Justification by Faith
God is the most perfect being, and he freely chose to create human beings as moral and rational beings who were capable of moral obedience and following moral law. The law of God is universal and unchanging, and it binds human beings to a full obligation to render him obedience and love. This law requires absolute perfect obedience, and any violation brings the just penalty of death. This law is in force, as Jesus Christ came not to abolish it but fulfill it. No one who has ever once sinned can be justified on the basis of keeping the law. Without the law, there is no abiding standard of right and wrong; there is no way to differentiate between good and evil. For any sinner to have eternal life, the full penalty of their sin must be paid, and they must be made righteous. The law must be fulfilled, and it must be seen to be fulfilled in our account.
The gospel does not abrogate the law of creation but fulfills it for us in Christ. It was never the case that the law of God was set aside, or that its standards were lowered so that we could meet them. We cannot stand in our failed, imperfect law-keeping and obedience, but can only stand in the imputed perfection of Christ. God’s law represents his own holy, righteous, unchanging character, and so it must always be the standard by which we are judged. “That which necessarily followeth on these discourses is, That there is no other way whereby the original, immutable law of God may be established and fulfilled with respect unto us, but by the imputation of the perfect obedience and righteousness of Christ, who is the end of the law for righteousness unto all that do believe.” . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
Buy the books
THE WORKS OF JOHN OWEN, VOLUME 5: FAITH AND ITS EVIDENCES