(Owen, Christologia, Part 10)

Chapter X. The Principle of the Assignation of Divine Honour unto the 
Person of Christ, in both the Branches of it; with is Faith in Him 
The principle and spring of this assignation of divine honour unto 
Christ, in both the branches of it, is faith in him. And this has been 
the foundation of all acceptable religion in the world since the 
entrance of sin. There are some who deny that faith in Christ was 
required from the beginning, or was necessary unto the worship of God, 
or the justification and salvation of them that did obey him. For, 
whereas it must be granted that "without faith it is impossible to 
please God," which the apostle proves by instances from the foundation 
of the world, Heb. 11--they suppose it is faith in God under the 
general notion of it, without any respect unto Christ, that is 
intended. It is not my design to contend with any, nor expressly to 
confute such ungrateful opinions--such pernicious errors. Such this 
is, which--being pursued in its proper tendency--strikes at the very 
foundation of Christian religion; for it at once deprives us of all 
contribution of light and truth from the Old Testament. Somewhat I 
have spoken before of the faith of the saints of old concerning him. I 
shall now, therefore, only confirm the truth, by some principles which 
are fundamental in the faith of the Gospel. 
 1. The first promise, Gen. 3: 15--truly called "Prooteuangelios"--was 
revealed, proposed, and given, as containing and expressing the only 
means of delivery from that apostasy from God, with all the effects of 
it, under which our first parents and all their posterity were cast by 
sin. The destruction of Satan and his work in his introduction of the 
state of sin, by a Saviour and Deliverer, was prepared and provided 
for in it. This is the very foundation of the faith of the church; and 
if it be denied, nothing of the economy or dispensation of God towards 
it from the beginning can be understood. The whole doctrine and story 
of the Old Testament must be rejected as useless, and no foundation be 
left in the truth of God for the introduction of the New. 
 2. It was the person of Christ, his incarnation and mediation, that 
were promised under the name of the "seed of the woman," and the work 
he should do in breaking the head of the serpent, with the way whereby 
he should do it in suffering, by his power. The accomplishment hereof 
was in God's sending his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, in the 
fulness of time, made under the law, or by his manifestation in the 
flesh, to destroy the works of the devil. So is this promise 
interpreted, Gal. 3: 13; 4: 4; Heb. 2: 14-16; 1 John 3: 8. This cannot 
be denied but upon one of these two grounds:-- 
 (1.) That nothing is intended in that divine revelation but only a 
natural enmity that is between mankind and serpents. But this is so 
foolish an imagination, that the Jews themselves, who constantly refer 
this place to the Messiah, are not guilty of. All the whole truth 
concerning God's displeasure on the sin of our first parents, with 
what concerneth the nature and consequence of that sin, is everted 
hereby. And whereas the foundation of all God's future dealing with 
them and their posterity is plainly expressed herein, it is turned 
into that which is ludicrous, and of very little concernment in human 
life. For such is the enmity between mankind and serpents--which not 
one in a million knows any thing of or is troubled with. This is but 
to lay the axe of atheism unto all religion built on divine 
revelation. Besides, on this supposition, there is in the words not 
the least intimation of any relief that God tendered unto our parents 
for their delivery from the state and condition whereinto they had 
cast themselves by their sin and apostasy. Wherefore they must be 
esteemed to be left absolutely under the curse, as the angels were 
that fell--which is to root all religion out of the world. For amongst 
them who are absolutely under the curse, without any remedy, there can 
be no more than is in hell. Or-- 
 (2.) It must be, because some other way of deliverance and salvation, 
and not that by Christ, is here proposed and promised. But, whereas 
they were to be wrought by the "seed of the woman" if this were not 
that Christ in whom we do believe, there was another promised, and he 
is to be rejected. And this is fairly at once to blot out the whole 
Scripture as a fable; for there is not a line of doctrinal truth in it 
but what depends on the traduction of Christ from this first promise. 
 3. This promise was confirmed, and the way of the deliverance of the 
church by virtue of it declared, in the institution of expiatory 
sacrifices. God in them and by them declared from the beginning, that 
"without shedding of blood there was no remission;" that atonement for 
sin was to be made by substitution and satisfaction. With respect unto 
them, the Lord Christ was called "The Lamb of God," even as he took 
away the sins of the world by the sacrifice of himself, John 1: 29. 
For we "were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb 
without blemish and without spot," 1 Pet. 1: 19. Wherein the Holy 
Spirit refers unto the institution and nature of sacrifices from the 
beginning. And he is thence represented in heaven as a "Lamb that had 
been slain," Rev. 5:6--the glory of heaven arising from the fruits and 
effects of his sacrifice. And because of the representation thereof in 
all the former sacrifices, is he said to be a "Lamb slain from the 
foundation of the world," Rev. 13:8. And it is strange to me that any 
who deny not the expiatory sacrifice of Christ, should doubt whether 
the original of these sacrifices were of divine institution or the 
invention of men. And it is so, amongst others, for the reasons 
 (1.) On the supposition that they were of men's finding out and 
voluntary observation, without any previous divine revelation, it must 
be granted that the foundation of all acceptable religion in the world 
was laid in, and resolved into, the wisdom and wills of men, and not 
into the wisdom, authority, and will of God. For that the great 
solemnity of religion, which was as the centre and testimony of all 
its other duties, did consist in these sacrifices even before the 
giving of the law, will not be denied. And in the giving of the law, 
God did not, on this supposition, confirm and establish his own 
institutions with additions unto them of the same kind, but set his 
seal and approbation unto the inventions of men. But this is contrary 
unto natural light, and the whole current of Scripture revelations. 
 (2.) All expiatory sacrifices were, from the beginning, types and 
representations of the sacrifice of Christ; whereon all their use, 
efficacy, and benefit among men--all their acceptance with God--did 
depend. Remove this consideration from them, and they were as 
irrational a service, as unbecoming the divine nature, as any thing 
that reasonable creatures could fix upon. They are to this day as 
reasonable a service as ever they were, but that only their respect 
unto thee sacrifice of Christ is taken from them. And what person of 
any ordinary understanding could now suppose them a meet service 
whereby to glorify the divine nature? Besides, all expiatory 
sacrifices were of the same nature, and of the same use, both before 
and after the giving of the law. But that all those afterwards were 
typical of the sacrifice of Christ, the apostle demonstrates at large 
in his Epistle unto the Hebrews. The inquiry, therefore, is, whether 
this blessed prefiguration of the Lord Christ and his sacrifice, as he 
was the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world, was an effect of 
the wisdom, goodness, and will of God, or of the wills and inventions 
of men. And let it be considered, also, that these men, who are 
supposed to be the authors of this wonderful representation of the 
Lord Christ and his sacrifice, did indeed know little of them--or, as 
the assertors of this opinion imagine, nothing at all. To suppose that 
those who knew no more of Christ than they could learn from the first 
promise which, as some think, was nothing at all--should of their own 
heads find out and appoint this divine service, which consisted only 
in the prefiguration of him and his sacrifice; and that God should not 
only approve of it, but allow it as the principal means for the 
establishment and exercise of the faith of all believers for four 
thousand years; is to indulge unto thoughts deviating from all rules 
of sobriety. He that sees not a divine wisdom in this institution, has 
scarce seriously exercised his thoughts about it. But I have elsewhere 
considered the causes and original of these sacrifices, and shall not 
therefore farther insist upon them. 
 4. Our first parents and all their holy posterity did believe this 
promises or did embrace it as the only way and means of their 
deliverance from the curse and state of sin; and were thereon 
justified before God. I confess we have not infallible assurance of 
any who did so in particular, but those who are mentioned by name in 
Scripture, as Abel, Enoch, Noah, and some others; but to question it 
concerning others also, as of our first parents themselves, is foolish 
and impious. This is done by the Socinians to promote another design, 
namely, that none were justified before God on the belief of the first 
promise, but on their walking according to the light of nature, and 
their obedience unto some especial revelations about temporal things-- 
the vanity whereof has been before discovered. Wherefore, our first 
parents and their posterity did so believe the first promise, or they 
must be supposed either to have been kept under the curse, or else to 
have had, and to make use of, some other way of deliverance from it. 
To imagine the first is impious--for the apostle affirms that they had 
this testimony, that they pleased God, Heb. 11: 5; which under the 
curse none can do--for that is God's displeasure. And in the same 
place he confirms their faith, and justification thereon, with a 
"cloud of witnesses," chap. 12: 1. To affirm the latter is groundless; 
and it includes a supposal of the relinquishment of the wisdom, grace, 
and authority of God in that divine revelation, for men to retake 
themselves to none knows what. For that there was in this promise the 
way expressed which God in his wisdom and grace had provided for their 
deliverance, we have proved before. To forsake this way, and to retake 
themselves unto any other, whereof he had made no mention or 
revelation unto them, was to reject his authority and grace. 
 As for those who are otherwise minded, it is incumbent on them 
directly to prove these three things:-- 
 (1.) That there is another way--that there are other means for the 
justification and salvation of sinners--than that revealed, declared, 
and proposed in that first promise. And when this is done, they must 
show to what end--on that supposition--the promise itself was given, 
seeing the end of it is evacuated. 
 (2.) That upon a supposition that God had revealed in the promise the 
way and means of our deliverance from the cures and state of sin, it 
was lawful unto men to forsake it, and to retake themselves unto 
another way, without any supernatural revelation for their guidance. 
For if it was not, their relinquishment of the promise was no less 
apostasy from God in the revelation of himself in a way of grace, than 
the first sin was as to the revelation of himself in the works of 
nature: only, the one revelation wag by inbred principles, the other 
by external declaration; nor could it otherwise be. Or,-- 
 (3.) That there was some other way of the participation of the 
benefit of this promise, besides faith in its or in him who was 
promised therein; seeing the apostle has declared that no promise will 
profit them by whom it is not mixed with faith, Heb. 4: 2. Unless 
these things are plainly proved--which they will never be--whatever 
men declaim about universal objective grace in the documents of 
nature, it is but a vain imagination. 
 5. The declaration of this promise, before the giving of the law, 
with the nature and ends of it, as also the use of sacrifices, whereby 
it was confirmed, was committed unto the ordinary ministry of our 
first parents and their godly posterity, and the extraordinary 
ministry of the prophets which God raised up among them. For God spake 
of our redemption by Christ by the mouth of his holy prophets from the 
beginning of the world, Luke 1: 70. No greater duty could be incumbent 
on them, by the light of nature and the express revelation of the will 
of God, than that they should, in their several capacities, 
communicate the knowledge of this promise unto all in whom they were 
concerned. To suppose that our first parents, who received this 
promise, and those unto whom they first declared it, looking on it as 
the only foundation of their acceptance with God and deliverance from 
the curse, were negligent in the declaration and preaching of it, is 
to render them brutish, and guilty of a second apostasy from God. And 
unto this principle--which is founded in the light of nature there is 
countenance given by revelation also. For Epoch did prophesy of the 
things which were to accompany the accomplishment of this promise, 
Jude 14; and Noah was a preacher of the righteousness to be brought in 
by it, 2 Peter 2: 5--as he was an heir of the righteousness which is 
by faith, in himself, Heb. 11: 7. 
 6. All the promises that God gave afterwards unto the church under 
the Old Testament, before and after giving the law--all the covenants 
that he entered into with particular persons, or the whole 
congregation of believers--were all of them declarations and 
confirmations of the first promise, or the way of salvation by the 
mediation of his Son, becoming the seed of the woman, to break the 
head of the serpent, and to work out the deliverance of mankind. As 
most of these promises were expressly concerning him, so all of them 
in the counsel of God were confirmed in him, 2 Cor. 1: 20. And as 
there are depths in the Scripture of the Old Testament concerning him 
which we cannot fathom, and things innumerable spoken of him or in his 
person which we conceive not, so the principal design of the whole is 
the declaration of him and his grace. And it is unprofitable unto them 
who are otherwise minded. Sundry promises concerning temporal things 
were, on various occasions, super added unto this great spiritual 
promise of life and grace. And the enemies of the person and mediation 
of Christ do contend that men are justified by their faith and 
obedience with respect unto those particular revelations, which were 
only concerning temporal things But to suppose that all those 
revelations and promises were not built upon and resolved into, did 
not include in them, the grace and mercy of this first promise--is to 
make them curses instead of blessings, and deprivations of that grace 
which was infinitely better than what, on this supposition, was 
contained in them. The truth is, they were all additions unto it, and 
confirmations of it; nor had any thing of spiritual good in them, but 
upon a supposition of it. In some of them there was an ampliation of 
grace in the more full declaration of the nature of this promise, as 
well as an application unto their persons unto whom they were made. 
Such was the promise made unto Abraham, which had a direct respect 
unto Christ, as the apostle proveth, Gal. 3 and 4. 
 7. Those who voluntarily, through the contempt of God and divine 
grace, fell off from the knowledge and faith of this promise, whether 
at once and by choice, or gradually through the love of sin, were in 
no better condition than those have been, or would be, who have so 
fallen off or should so apostatize from Christian religion after its 
revelation and profession. And although this proved, in process of 
time, both before and after the flood, to be the condition of the 
generality of mankind, yet is it in vain to seek after the means of 
salvation among them who had voluntarily rejected the only way which 
God had revealed and provided for that end. God thereon "suffered all 
nations to walk in their own ways," Acts 14: 1 "winking at the times 
of their ignorance"--not calling them to repentance, chap. 17: 30; 
yea, he "gave them up unto their own hearts lust, and they walked in 
their own counsels," Ps. 81: 12. And nothing can be more derogatory 
unto the wisdom and holiness of God, than to imagine that he would 
grant other ways of salvation unto them who had rejected that only one 
which he had provided; which was by faith in Christ, as revealed in 
that first promise. 
 8. From these considerations, which are all of them unquestionable 
principles of truth, two things are evident. 
 (1.) That there was no way of the justification and salvation of 
sinners revealed and proposed from the foundation of the world, but 
only by Jesus Christ, as declared in the first promise. 
 (2.) That there was no way for the participation of the benefits of 
that promise, or of his work of mediation, but by faith in him as so 
promised. There was, therefore, faith in him required from the 
foundation of the world; that is, from the entrance of sin. And how 
this faith respected his person has been before declared. Now, faith 
in him as promised for the works and ends of his mediation, and faith 
in him as actually exhibited and as having accomplished his work, are 
essentially the same, and differ only with respect unto the economy of 
times, which God disposed at his pleasure. Hence the efficacy of his 
mediation was the same unto them who then so believed, as it is now 
unto us after his actual exhibition in the flesh. 
 But yet it is acknowledged, that--as unto the clearness and fulness 
of the revelation of the mystery of the wisdom and grace of God in him- 
-as unto the constitution of his person in his incarnation, and 
therein the determination of the individual person promised from the 
beginning, through the actual accomplishment of the work which he was 
promised for--faith in him, as the foundation of that divine honour 
which it is our duty to give unto him, is far more evidently and 
manifestly revealed and required in the gospel, or under the New 
Testament, than it was under the Old. See Eph. 3: 8-11. The respect of 
faith now unto Christ is that which renders it truly evangelical. To 
believe in him, to believe on his name, is that signal especial duty 
which is now required of us. 
 Wherefore the ground of the actual assignation of divine honour unto 
the person of Christ, in both branches of it, adoration and 
invocation, is faith in him. So he said unto the blind man whose eyes 
he opened, "Believest thou on the Son of God?" John 9: 35. And he 
said, "Lord, I believe; and he worshipped him," verse 38. All divine 
worship or adoration is a consequent effect and fruit of faith. So 
also is invocation; for "How shall they call on him in whom they have 
not believed?" Rom. 10: 14. Him in whom we believe, we ought to adore 
and invocate. For these are the principal ways whereby divine faith 
does act itself And so to adore or invocate any in whom we ought not 
to believe, is idolatry. 
 This faith, therefore, on the person of Christ is our duty; yea, such 
a duty it is, as that our eternal condition does more peculiarly 
depend on the performance or nonperformance of it than on any other 
duty whatever. For constantly under those terms is it prescribed unto 
us. "He that believeth on the Son has everlasting life: and he that 
believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth 
on him," John 3: 36. Wherefore the nature and exercise of this faith 
must be inquired into. 
 There is a faith which is exercised towards those by whom the mind 
and will of God is revealed. So it is said of the Israelites, "They 
believed the Lord and Moses," Exod. 14: 31; that is, that he was sent 
of God, was no deceiver--that it was the word and will of God which he 
revealed unto them. So 2 Chron. 20: 20, "Believe in the Lord your God, 
so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye 
prosper." It was not the persons of the prophets, but their message, 
that was the object of the faith required. It was to believe what they 
said, as from God--not to believe in them as if they were God. So it 
is explained by the apostle, Acts 26: 27, "King Agrippa, believest 
thou the prophets? I know that thou believest." He believed that they 
were sent of God, and that the word they spake was from him; otherwise 
there was no believing of them who were dead so many ages before. 
 And this is all the faith in Christ himself which some will allow. To 
believe in Christ, they say, is only to believe the doctrine of the 
gospel revealed by him. Hence they deny that any could believe in him 
before his coming into the world, and the declaration of the mind of 
God in the gospel made by him. An assent unto the truth of the gospel, 
as revealed by Christ, is with them the whole of that faith in Christ 
Jesus which is required of us. 
 Of all that poison which at this day is diffused in the minds of men, 
corrupting them from the mystery of the Gospel, there is no part that 
is more pernicious than this one perverse imagination, that to believe 
in Christ is nothing at all but to believe the doctrine of the gospel; 
which yet, we grant, is included therein. For as it allows the 
consideration of no office in him but that of a prophet, and that not 
as vested and exercised in his divine person, so it utterly overthrows 
the whole foundation of the relation of the church unto him, and 
salvation by him. 
 That which suits my present design, is to evince that it is the 
person of Christ which is the first and principal object of that faith 
wherewith we are required to believe in him; and that so to do, is not 
only to assent unto the truth of the doctrine reverted by him, but 
also to place our trust and confidence in him for mercy, relief, and 
protection--for righteousness, life, and salvation--for a blessed 
resurrection and eternal reward. This I shall first manifest from some 
few of those multiplied testimonies wherein this truth is declared, 
and whereby it is confirmed as also with some arguments taken from 
them; and then proceed to declare the ground, nature, and exercise of 
this faith itself. 
 As unto the testimonies confirming this truth, it must be observed of 
them all in general, that wherever faith is required towards our Lord 
Jesus Christ, it is still called believing "in him," or "on his name," 
according as faith in God absolutely is every where expressed. If no 
more be intended but only the belief of the doctrine revealed by him, 
then whose doctrine soever we are obliged to believe, we may be 
rightly said to believe in them, or to believe on their name. For 
instance, we are obliged to believe the doctrine of Paul the apostle, 
the revelations made by him, and that on the hazard of our eternal 
welfare by the unbelieving of them; yet that we should be said to 
believe in Paul, is that which he did utterly detest, 1 Cor. 1: 13, 
 For the places themselves the reader may consult, among others John 
1: 12; 3: 16,18,36; 6: 29, 35, 41; 7: 38, 39; Acts 14: 23; 16: 31; 19: 
4; 24: 24; 26: 18; Rom. 3: 26; 9: 33; 10: 11; 1 Peter 2: 6; 1 John 5: 
10, 13. There is not one of these but sufficiently confirms the truth. 
Some few others not named may be briefly insisted on. 
 John 14: 1, "Ye believe in God, believe also in me." The distinction 
made between God and him limits the name of God unto the person of the 
Father. Faith is required in them both, and that distinctly: "Ye 
believe in God, believe also in me." And it is the same faith, of the 
same kind, to be exercised in the same way and manner, that is 
required; as is plain in the words. They will not admit of a double 
faith, of one faith in God, and of another in Christ, or of a distinct 
way of their exercise. 
 Wherefore, as faith divine is fixed on, and terminated in, the person 
of the Father; so is it likewise distinctly in and on the person of 
the Son: and it was to evidence his divine nature unto theme which is 
the ground and reason of their faith--that he gave his command unto 
his disciples. This he farther testifies, verses 9-11. And as unto the 
exercise of this faith, it respected the relief of their souls, under 
troubles, fears, and disconsolations: "Let not your heart be troubled: 
ye believe in God, believe also in me." To believe in him unto the 
relief of our souls against troubles, is not to assent merely unto the 
doctrine of the gospel, but also to place our trust and confidence in 
him, for such supplies of grace, for such an exercise of the acts of 
divine power, as whereby we may be supported and delivered. And we 
have herein the whole of what we plead. Divine faith acted distinctly 
in, and terminated on, the person of Christ--and that with respect 
unto supplies of grace and mercy from him in a way of divine power. 
 So he speaks unto Martha, John 11: 25-27, "He that believeth in me, 
though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth, and 
believeth in me, shall never die. Believest thou this?" Whereunto she 
answers "Yea, Lord; I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of 
God." His person was the object of her faith; and her belief in him 
comprised a trust for all spiritual and eternal mercies. 
 I Shall add one more, wherein not only the thing itself, but the 
especial ground and reason of it, is declared, Gal. 2: 20--"The life 
which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, 
who loved me, and gave himself for me." That faith he asserts which is 
the cause of our spiritual life--that life unto God which we lead in 
the flesh, or whilst we are in the body, not yet admitted unto sight 
and enjoyment. Of this faith the Son of God is both the author and the 
object; the latter whereof is here principally intended. And this is 
evident from the reason and motive of it, which are expressed. This 
faith I live by, am in the continual exercise of, because he "loved 
me, and gave himself for me." For this is that which does powerfully 
influence our hearts to fix our faith in him and on him. And that 
person who so loved us is the same in whom we do believe. If his 
person was the seat of his own love, it is the object of our faith And 
this faith is not only our duty, but our life. He that has it not, is 
dead in the sight of God. 
 But I hope it is not yet necessary to multiply testimonies to prove 
it our duty to believe in Jesus Christ--that is, to believe in the 
person of the Son of God, for other faith in Christ there is none; yet 
I shall add one or two considerations in the confirmation of it. 
 1st, There is no more necessary hereunto--namely, to prove the person 
of Christ the Son of God to be the proper and distinct object of faith 
divine--than what we have already demonstrated concerning the solemn 
invocation of him. For, saith the apostle, "How they call on him in 
whom they have not believed" Rom. 10: 14. It holds on either side. We 
cannot, we ought not, to call on him in whom we do not, we ought not 
to believe. And in whom we do believe, on him we ought to call. 
Wherefore, if it be our duty to call on the name of Christ, it is our 
duty to believe in the person of Christ. And if to believe in Christ 
be no more but to believe the doctrine of the Gospel which he has 
revealed, then every one whose doctrine we are obliged to believe, on 
them we ought to call also. And on this ground, we may call on the 
names of the prophets and apostles, as well as on the name of Jesus 
Christ, and be saved thereby. But whereas invocation or prayer 
proceedeth from faith, and that prayer is for mercy, grace, life, and 
eternal salvation; faith must be fixed on the person so called on, as 
able to give them all unto us, or that prayer is in vain. 
 2dly, Again, that we are baptized into the name of Jesus Christ, and 
that distinctly with the Father, is a sufficient evidence of the 
necessity of faith in his person; for we are therein given up unto 
universal spiritual subjection of soul unto him, and dependence on 
him. Not to believe in him, on his name--that is, his person--when we 
are so given up unto him, or baptized into him, is virtually to 
renounce him. But to put a present close unto this contest: Faith in 
Christ is that grace whereby the church is united unto him-- 
incorporated into one mystical body with him. It is thereby that he 
dwells in them, and they in him. By this alone are all supplies of 
grace derived from him unto the whole body. Deny his person to be the 
proper and immediate object of this faith, and all these things are 
utterly overthrown--that is, the whole spiritual life and eternal 
salvation of the church 
 This faith in the person of Christ, which is the foundation of all 
that divine honour in sacred adoration and invocation which is 
assigned unto him, may be considered two ways. First, as it respects 
his person absolutely; Secondly, As he is considered in the discharge 
of the office of mediation. 
 First, In the first sense, faith is placed absolutely and ultimately 
on the person of Christ, even as on the person of the Father. He 
counts it no robbery herein to be equal with the Father. And the 
reason hereof is, because the divine nature itself is the proper and 
immediate object of this faith, and all the acts of it. This being one 
and the same in the person of the Father and of the Son, as also of 
the Holy Spirit, two things do follow thereon. 1. That each person is 
equally the object of our faith, because equally participant of that 
nature which is the formal reason and object of it. 2. It follows 
also, that in acting faith on, and ascribing therewithal divine honour 
unto, any one person, the others are not excluded; yea, they are 
included therein. For by reason of the mutual inbeing of the Divine 
persons in the unity of the same nature, the object of all spiritual 
worship is undivided. Hence are those expressions of the Scriptures, 
"He that has seen the Son, has seen the Father; he that honoureth the 
Son, honoureth the Father, for he and the Father are one." 
 And to clear our present design, three things may be observed from 
hence; namely, that the divine nature, with all its essential 
properties, is the formal reason and only ground of divine faith 
 1st, That the Lord Christ is not the absolute and ultimate object of 
our faith, any otherwise but under this consideration, of his being 
partaker of the nature of God--of his being in the form of God, and 
equal unto him. Without this, to place our faith in him would be 
robbery and sacrilege; as is all the pretended faith of them who 
believe not his divine person. 
 2dly, There is no derogation from the honour and glory of the Father- 
-not the least diversion of any one signal act of duty from him, nor 
from the Holy Spirit--by the especial acting of faith on the person of 
Christ; for all divine honour is given solely unto the divine nature: 
and this being absolutely the same in each person, in the honouring of 
one, they are all equally honoured. He that honoureth the Son, he 
therein honoureth the Father also. 
 3dly, Hence it appears what is that especial acting of faith on the 
person of Christ which we intend, and which in the Scripture is given 
in charge unto us, as indispensably necessary unto our salvation. And 
there are three things to be considered in it. 
 (1st,) That his divine nature is the proper formal object of this 
faith, on the consideration whereof alone it is fixed on him. If you 
ask a reason why I believe on the Son of God--if you intend what cause 
I have for it, what motives unto it--I shall answer, It is because of 
what he has done for me, whereof afterwards. So does the apostle, Gal. 
2: 20. But if you intend, what is the formal reason, ground, and 
warranty whereon I thus believe in him, or place my trust and 
confidence in him, I say it is only this, that he is "over all, God 
blessed for ever;" and were he not so, I could not believe in him. For 
to believe in any, is to expect from him that to be done for me which 
none but God can do. 
 (2dly,) That the entire person of Christ, as God and man, is the 
immediate object of our faith herein. The divine nature is the reason 
of it; but his divine person is the object of it. In placing our faith 
on him, we consider him as God and man in one and the same person. We 
believe in him because he is God; but we believe in him as he is God 
and man in one person. 
 And this consideration of the person of Christ--namely, as he is God 
and man--in our acting of faith on him, is that which renders it 
peculiar, and limits or determines it unto his person, because he only 
is so;--the Father is not, nor the Holy Spirit. That faith which has 
the person of God and man for its object, is peculiarly and distinctly 
placed on Christ. 
 (3dly,) The motives unto this distinct acting of faith on his person 
are always to be considered as those also which render this faith 
peculiar. For the things which Christ has done for us, which are the 
motives of our faith in him, were peculiar unto him alone; as in the 
place before quoted, Gal. 2: 20. Such are all the works of his 
mediation, with all the fruits of them, whereof we are made partakers. 
So God, in the first command, wherein he requires all faith, love, and 
obedience from the church, enforced it with the consideration of a 
signal benefit which it had received, and therein a type of all 
spiritual and eternal mercies, Exod. 20: 2, 3. Hence two things are 
evident, which clearly state this matter. 
 [1st,] That faith which we place upon and the honour which we give 
thereby unto the person of Christ, is equally placed on and honour 
equally given thereby unto the other persons of the Father and the 
Holy Spirit, with respect unto that nature which is the formal reason 
and cause of it. But it is peculiarly fixed on Christ, with respect 
unto his person as God and man, and the motives unto it, in the acts 
and benefits of his mediation. 
 [2dly,] All of Christ is considered and glorified in this acting of 
faith on him;--his divine nature, as the formal cause of it; his 
divine entire person, God and man, as its proper object; and the 
benefits of his mediation, as the especial motives thereunto. 
 This faith in the person of Christ is the spring and fountain of our 
spiritual life. We live by the faith of the Son of God. In and by the 
actings hereof is it preserved, increased, and strengthened. "For he 
is our life," Col. 3: 4; and all supplies of it are derived from him, 
by the acting of faith in him. We receive the forgiveness of sins, and 
an inheritance among them that are sanctified, "by the faith that is 
in him," Acts 26: 18. Hereby do we abide in him; without which we can 
do nothing, John 15: 5. Hereby is our peace with God maintained--"For 
he is our peace," Eph 2: 14; and in him we have peace, according to 
his promise, John 16: 33. All strength for the mortification of sin, 
for the conquest of temptations--all our increase and growth in grace 
depend on the constant actings of this faith in him. 
 The way and method of this faith is that which we have described. A 
due apprehension of the love of Christ, with the effects of it in his 
whole mediatory work on our behalf--especially in his giving himself 
for us, and our redemption by his blood--is the great motive 
thereunto. They whose hearts are not deeply affected herewith, can 
never believe in him in a due manner. "I live," saith the apostle, "by 
the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." 
Unless a sense hereof be firmly implanted in our souls, unless we are 
deeply affected with it, our faith in him would be weak and wavering, 
or rather none at all. The due remembrance of what the blessed Lord 
Jesus has done for us, of the ineffable love which was the spring, 
cause, and fountain of what he so did--thoughts of the mercy, grace, 
peace, and glory which he has procured thereby are the great and 
unconquerable motives to fix our faith, hope, trust, and confidence in 
 His divine nature is the ground and warranty for our so doing. This 
is that from whence he is the due and proper object of all divine 
faith and worship. From the power and virtue thereof do we expect and 
receive all those things which in our believing on him we seek after; 
for none but God can bestow them on us, or work them in us. There is 
in all the acting of our faith on him, the voice of the confession of 
Thomas, "My Lord and my God." 
 His divine person, wherein he is God and man, wherein he has that 
nature which is the formal object of divine worship, and wherein he 
wrought all those things which are the motives thereunto, is the 
object of this faith; which gives its difference and distinction from 
faith in God in general, and faith in the person of the Father, as the 
fountain of grace, love, and power. 
 Secondly, Faith is acted on Christ under the formal notion of 
mediator between God and man. So it is expressed, 1 Peter 1: 21, "Who 
by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave 
him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God." And this acting 
of faith towards Christ is not contrary unto that before described, 
nor inconsistent with it, though it be distinct from it. To deny the 
person of Christ to fall under this double consideration--of a divine 
person absolutely, wherein he is "over all, God blessed for ever," 
and, as manifested in the flesh, exercising the office of mediator 
between God and man--is to renounce the gospel. And according unto the 
variety of these respects, so are the acting of faith various; some on 
him absolutely, on the motives of his mediation; Some on him as 
mediator only. And how necessary this variety is unto the life, 
supportment, and comfort of believers, they all know in some measure 
who are so. See our exposition on Heb. 1: 1-3. Sometimes faith 
considers him as on the throne; sometimes as standing at the right 
hand of God; sometimes as the mediator between God and man, the man 
Christ Jesus. Sometimes his glorious power, sometimes his infinite 
condescension, is their relief. 
 Wherefore, in the sense now intended, he is considered as the 
ordinance, as the servant of God, "who raised him up from the dead, 
and gave him glory." So our faith respects not only his person, but 
all the acts of his office. It is faith in his blood, Rom. 3: 25. It 
is the will of God, that we should place our faith and trust in him 
and them, as the only means of our acceptance with him--of all grace 
and glory from him. This is the proper notion of a mediator. So is he 
not the ultimate object of our faith, wherein it rests, but God 
through him. "Through him have we access by one Spirit unto the 
Father," Eph. 2: 18. So he is the way whereby we go to God, John 14: 
6; see Heb. 10: 19-22. And this so is faith in him; because he is the 
immediate, though not the ultimate, object of it, Acts 26: 18. 
 This is that which renders our faith in God evangelical. The especial 
nature of it ariseth from our respect unto God in Christ, and through 
him. And herein faith principally regards Christ in the discharge of 
his sacerdotal office. For although it is also the principle of all 
obedience unto him in his other offices, yet as unto fixing our faith 
in God through him, it is his sacerdotal office and the effects of it 
that we rest upon and trust unto. It is through him as the high priest 
over the house of God, as he who has made for us a new and living way 
into the holy place, that we draw nigh to God, Heb. 4: 14-16, 10: 
19-22; 1 John 1: 3. 
 No comfortable, refreshing thoughts of God, no warrantable or 
acceptable boldness in an approach and access unto him, can any one 
entertain or receive, but in this exercise of faith on Christ as the 
mediator between God and man. And if, in the practice of religion, 
this regard of faith unto him--this acting of faith on God through him- 
-be not the principle whereby the whole is animated and guided, 
Christianity is renounced, and the vain cloud of natural religion 
embraced in the room of it. Not a verbal mention of Him, but the real 
intention of heart to come unto God by him, is required of us; and 
thereinto all expectation of acceptance with God, as unto our persons 
or duties, is resolved. 
 We have had great endeavours of late, by the Socinians, to set forth 
and adorn a natural religion; as if it were sufficient unto all ends 
of our living unto God. But as most of its pretended ornaments are 
stolen from the gospel, or are framed in an emanation of light from 
it, such as nature of itself could not rise unto; so the whole 
proceeds from a dislike of the mediation of Christ, and even weariness 
of the profession of faith in him. So is it with the minds of men who 
were never affected with supernatural revelations, with the mystery of 
the gospel, beyond the owning of some notions of truth--who never had 
experience of its power in the life of God. 
 But here lies the trial of faith truly evangelical Its steady 
beholding of the Sun of Righteousness proves it genuine and from 
above. And let them take heed who find their heart remiss or cold in 
this exercise of it. When men begin to satisfy themselves with general 
hopes of mercy in God, without a continual respect unto the 
interposition and mediation of Christ, whereinto their hope and trust 
is resolved, there is a decay in their faith, and proportionally in 
all other evangelical graces also. Herein lies the mystery of 
Christian religion, which the world seems to be almost weary of. 

John Owen, Christologia

(continued in Part 11...)

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