“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
- Philippians 4:8
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God….”
- 1 Peter 3:18a
“He is altogether lovely in his birth and incarnation. He is altogether lovely in the whole of his life, in his holiness and his obedience, which in the depths of poverty and persecution he showed by doing good, receiving evil, blessing others, and being cursed all his days. He is altogether lovely in his death, especially to sinners. He was even more glorious and desirable than when he was taken down from the cross, broken and lifeless. He carried all our sins to a land of forgetfulness. He made peace and reconciliation for us. He procured life and immortality for us. He is altogether lovely in his work, in his great undertaking to be the Mediator between God and man, to glorify God’s justice, to save our souls, to bring us to the enjoyment of God who were at such an infinite distance from him by reason of our sin. He is altogether lovely in the glory and majesty with which he was crowned. Now he is seated at the right hand of the majesty on high. Though he is terrible to his enemies, yet he is full of mercy, love and compassion to all his loved ones. He is altogether lovely in all those graces that he pours out to people by the Holy Spirit. He is altogether lovely in all the tender care, power, and wisdom by which he protects, safeguards, and delivers his church and people in the midst of oppositions and persecutions to which they are exposed.”
- John Owen, Communion with God, p. 76
When we think of Christ we don’t likely think of Him as lovely. John Owen is one of my favorite Christian pastor/writers, and although separated by hundreds of years I find he speaks to me like a contemporary counselor. Owen’s affection for and description of Jesus Christ draws desire for Christ from me. One cannot long read Owen unmoved and in this way he is much like Jonathan Edwards. After reading either Owen or Edwards I find my parched soul again thirsting to know Christ better. Seeing Christ in all of His loveliness by His holiness, obedience, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, graces, judgments, compassion, and tender care will change us. This beatific vision of Christ will inflame our desire to know Christ more and better. After all, the heart of the gospel is God Himself as revealed in Christ. May we be drawn to Him in all of His loveliness.