I was reading through The Glory of Christ: His Office and Grace by John Owen earlier this afternoon and I was reminded about the great priviledge (and duty) we have to behold the glory of God in person of Jesus Christ. I cannot help but think that be struggles with the love of the flesh and the love of this world would soon evaporate if I more clearly beheld the glory of God and allowed my heart and affections to be captivated by the contemplation of such a worthy object as Christ Himself.

“In this [beholding his glory], then, our present edification is principally concerned; for in this present beholding the glory of Christ, the life and power of faith are most eminently acted. And from this exercise of faith, love to Christ principally, if not soley, arises and springs. If, therefore, we desire to have faith in its vigour or love in its power, giving rest, complacency and satisfaction to our own souls, we are to seek for them in diligent discharge of this duty; elsewhere they will not be found. In this would I live; in this would I die; upon this would I dwell in my thoughts and affections, to the withering and consumption of all the painted beauties of this world, to the crucifying all things here below, until they become to me a dead and deformed thing, no way suitable for affectionate embraces.” (Owen, page 48)

We as Christians in the 21st century could learn much from men like Owen. When was the last time you stopped to consider that your growth [edification]  as a Christian is principally as a response to your beholding the glory of God in Christ. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18) Therefore, it is chiefly to this duty that we should commit ourselves.

There is no greater way to have “all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (1 Jn. 2:16) put to death in our hearts than to contemplate the glory of Christ until they appear “a dead and deformed thing, no way suitable for affectionate embraces.” We should put as much effort into cultivating our affections (and others) for the glory of Christ as we have in cultivating our affections for the things of this world. It is a shame to think that we are willing put more effort into convincing ourselves and others of the value of worldly things, than we are to convince ourselves of “the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:8).