Back to Owen….
In this post, we will look at Owen’s third point. This one just blows me away. In this concise paragraph, he manages to answer questions that are raised by the first two points which we went over in part 1 and part 2. He presents a stellar argument for the sovereignty of God and how we should view the liberty of man in relation to it. God has His order for the way He has chosen things to be and turn out. Too often we try to judge God’s sovereignty based on what we think we know about our ‘free will,’ but this is backwards. We should be judging the extent of our ‘free will’ based on what God has revealed about His sovereignty and our slavery to sin. Let’s read Owen’s point and then I’ll make one more comment. Here’s Owen (emphasis mine) :
3. Divine wisdom was no way surprised with this disaster. God had, from all eternity, laid in provisions of counsels for the recovery of all things into a better and more permanent estate than what was lost by sin. This is ….. the revivification, the restitution of all things, Acts iii. 19, 21; ….. the gathering all things in heaven and earth into a new head in Christ Jesus: Eph. i. 10. For although, it may be, there is more of curiosity than of edification in a scrupulous inquiry into the method or order of God’s eternal decrees or counsels, and the disposal of them into a subserviency one unto another; yet this is necessary from the infinite wisdom, prescience, and immutability of God-that he is surprised with nothing, that he is put unto no new counsels, by any events in the works of creation. All things were disposed by him into those ways and methods-and that from eternity-which conduce unto, and certainly issue in, that glory which is ultimately intended. For as we are careful to state the eternal decrees of God, and the actual operations of his providence, so as that the liberty of the will of man, as the next cause of all his moral actions, be not infringed thereby-so ought we to be careful not to ascribe such a sacrilegious liberty unto the wills of any creatures, as that God should be surprised, imposed on, or changed by any of their actings whatever. For “known unto him are all his works from the foundation of the world,” and with him there is neither “variableness nor shadow of turning.”
I want to point out what Owen stresses in the second sentence, “This is ….. the revivification, the restitution of all things, Acts iii. 19, 21; ….. the gathering all things in heaven and earth into a new head in Christ Jesus: Eph. i. 10.” and in the first sentence, “a better and more permanent estate than what was lost by sin.“
Until the next post, we should ask ourselves the question, “How could we be in a better and more permanent estate being saved from the wrath of God than we would have been if we had never been sinful and fallen in the first place?”