Reasons for Beholding

13 Dec

I visited with two Mormon missionaries from Zimbabwe while I was in Malawi.

Sad stuff.

They were very nice, seemed sincere, ready to work and missing the whole point of the Christian religion. That’s not surprising obviously. None of us can understand what Jesus came to do if we do not first properly understand who Jesus is.

John Owen describes the importance of this truth,

“It is the very centre of all glorious evangelical truths. Not one of them can be understood, believed, or improved as they ought, without a due comprehension of their relations hereunto…”

Thinking about Jesus as fully God and fully man, this is not a side truth, this is a foundational truth and if you have a true understanding of the person of Christ, God has graced you with one of the greatest blessings and privileges in the entire universe.

“This is that which the prophets of old inquired into and after with all diligence, even the mystery of God manifest in the flesh…This the angels bow down to look into, although their concerns are not equal to ours. But angels are angels, and prophets were prophets; we are a generation of poor, sinful men, who are little concerned in the glory of God or our own duty.

Is it not much to be lamented that many Christians content themselves with a superficial knowledge of these things? How are the studies, abilities, the time and diligence of many excellent persons engaged in, and laid out about, the works of nature, and the effects of divine wisdom and power in them, by whom any endeavor to inquire into this glorious mystery is neglected, if not despised?”

I wonder how many Christians really appreciate how serious errors about the person of Christ really are, if they understand why, if they enjoy, if we enjoy as we ought the mystery of the person of Christ.

To help us meditate and think about these great truths, John Owen reminds us of four advantages we receive from doing so:

1.) It will bring in steadfastness in believing. There are many Christians who are constantly doubting their own condition before God and part of the reason for it is because they haven’t meditated deeply on the wisdom God demonstrates in the way in which He has accomplished our salvation through Jesus Christ. Thinking correctly about the person of Christ is a way towards spiritual peace.

2.) Exercising our faith to look at the person of Christ will change us and make us like Christ. Paul says, “We all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image.” Beholding is bigger than a quick look. It is more like diligent inspection. And what happens as we diligently inspect these truths, we are “made quite other creatures than we were – cast into the form, figure, and image of Jesus Christ – the great design of all believers in the world.”

3.) The more we work on thinking about the person of Christ the more we will be freed from earthlymindedness. “There is nothing so unbecoming a Christian as to have his mind always exercised about, always filled with thoughts of, earthly things.” And that’s because the more we think about earthly things the more we love earthly things. “Multiplied thoughts inflame affections, and inflamed affections increase the number of thoughts concerning them.” How do we fight this? By multiplying our thoughts regarding the person of Christ.

4.) By doing this, we prepare ourselves to really enjoy the glory of heaven. A big part of heaven is thinking and adoring the wisdom, goodness, love and power of God in the mystery of our salvation, and how can we get ready for that better than beginning to do just that, NOW!

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