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 2
Sermons X-XIII “Providential Changes, An Argument for Universal Holiness”
2 Peter 3:11 “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?”
Peter writes his epistles to those who are strangers in this world, looking to a future, better home. Believers were facing persecution and mocking, and Peter writes to warn the mockers of judgment to come, and also to encourage the believers to stand firm in the faith. The nations will be judged with fire, as they were judged by water in the flood. When the wicked are destroyed, the new heavens are established in gospel ordinances that last forever. Secular powers and forms of government and every religious structure that is not the true church will be dissolved. It is on the foundation of this truth that Peter urges his readers to act in certain ways and to cultivate certain characteristics. We are to strive for boundless holiness and godliness in all of our endeavors. We are always to be in holiness and godliness, and this is to characterize everything we do and our worship of God. Peter argues from great, cataclysmic alterations and destructions that believers are called to holiness and godliness in everything. The judgment in view in Peter was a great judgment on the Jewish assembly and state that rejected Christ, and every government that opposed the Lord. In light of the coming of Christ (i.e. his drawing near in every dispensation), every generation is to be holy and godly. How holy we ought to be to meet the holy Lord!
Every day is a lesser day of judgment, pointing forward to the climactic one; judgments that fall now are warnings. Judgments call people to repentance and expose hypocrites. Terrifyingly, those who do not repent can be judicially blinded by God and given over to their wickedness. Christ also pleads with his own people in judgments, as well as chastises them for sin, and corrects their paths. He weans them from the things of this earth. In connection with trials and troubles, Christ sends the Spirit to work in his people. Often during dispensations of difficulty the Lord sends out light from his word. In such times, we must judge ourselves and search our hearts. There have always been many who long for the Day of the Lord, but they will be destroyed when he appears. There is no denying that at present God has wrought judgments upon England. Yet there are grounds for hope because we see how Christ has provided soul-refreshing communion between himself and some of his saints. Many are experiencing practical communion with him, rather than just having head knowledge about him. Through these trials, we have seen the compassion and faithfulness of God, and his true people have experienced the reality of their faith in him. Some can testify that their best and most fruitful days were days of great trial, as God’s grace sustained them. In all of this, much work has been done by Christ. He has done so much for himself and his cause that it is clear he is the one who has done it; much false worship has been destroyed. Great light from the gospel has broken forth in this dispensation. It is not merely for vengeance, but for love that Christ comes, and in love, he sheds forth much light. . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
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