West London Alliance Church

Originally posted on April 29, 2009:

In chapter 4 of book 2 in The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, John Owen summarizes the purpose or 'end' for which Christ died as well as the products of the event: "God, out of his infinite love to his elect, sent his dear Son in the fulness of time, whom he had promised in the beginning of the world, and made effectual by that promise, to die, pay a ransom of infinite value and dignity, for the purchasing of eternal redemption, and bringing unto himself all and every one of those whom he had before ordained to eternal life, for the praise of his own glory." (231)

To this summary he adds a few assertions for clarity:
First, The fountain and cause of God's sending Christ is his eternal love to his elect, and to them alone; which I shall not now farther confirm, reserving it for the second general head of this whole controversy. (231)

Secondly, The value, worth, and dignity of the ransom which Christ gave himself to be, and of the price which he paid, was infinite and immeasurable; fit for the accomplishing of any end and the procuring of any good, for all and every one for whom it was intended, had they been millions of men more than ever were created. (231)

Thirdly, The intention and aim of the Father in this great work was, a bringing of those many sons to glory, — namely, his elect, whom by his free grace he had chosen from amongst all men, of all sorts, nations, and conditions, to take them into a new covenant of grace with himself, the former being as to them, in respect of the event, null and abolished ; of which covenant Jesus Christ is the first and chief promise, as he that was to procure for them all other good things promised therein, as shall be proved. (231-2)

Fourthly, The things purchased or procured for those persons, — which are the proper effects of the death and ransom of Christ, in due time certainly to become theirs in possession and enjoyment, — are, remission of sin, freedom from wrath and the curse of the law, justification, sanctification, and reconciliation with God, and eternal life; for the will of his Father sending him for these, his own intention in laying down his life for them, and the truth of the purchase made by him, is the foundation of his intercession, begun on earth and continued in heaven ; whereby he, whom his Father always hears, desires and demands that the good things procured by him may be actually bestowed on them, all and every one, for whom they were procured. (232)

Owen may be accused of being verbose, but he cannot be accused of trifling with this matter. He is thorough to a fault. I think this approach indicates the seriousness with which he undertook this writing. For him, this polemic was integral to the life of the gospel.

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