Monday, September 05, 2011

Owen: Communion with Christ produces obedience

I previously posted a quote from Owen’s Communion with God in which he stated that God loves the saints even while they are sinning. To preach free grace one will always run the risk of the charge of antimonianism. In following this up, Owen makes clear that he is not advocating antinomianism.

He asks:

And also if the obedience of Christ is imputed to us and that is our righteousness before God, then why do we need to obey? Is not all our praying, laboring, watching, fasting, giving alms and all fruits of holiness, flowing from a pure heart and leading a useful life, all completely redundant? And who, then, will or need take care to be holy, humble, righteous, meek, self-controlled, patient, good, peaceable, or to abound in good works in the world? (p. 134)

Later he raises the hypothetical objection again and provides a response:

Objection: If this is so, why do we need to repent and amend our ways? Why not go on sinning, so that grace may about?

Answer: I judge no-one. But this I must say, I do not understand how a man could make such an objection in cold blood. Can such a person know anything of true fellowship with Jesus Christ?

Communion with Christ produces repentance. When a person really sees the vileness of sin and what it cost Christ to bear it away, will he still want to continue in sin?

Communion with Christ produces obedience…. If the gospel is properly preached, the objection ‘shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?’ will always be raised. But Paul says, ‘God forbid!’—and then explains why not (Rom. 6) (p. 145).


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