Owen - BX9315 O81

AND FOLLOWIN I-Te bath 'c predestinated us to be conformed untothe image of his Son, that he might bethe first-born a- mong many brethren," Rom. viii. 30. In the collation ofall grace on Christ, God designed to make " him the first-born of manybrethren;" that is, not only to give him the powerand authority of the first-born, with the trust of the whole inheritance tobe communicated unto them, but also as the example of what he would bring them unto. " For both he that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified, are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren," Heb. ii. 11. It is Christ who sanctifieth believers; yet is itfrom God, who first sanctified him, that he and they might be of one, and so become brethren, as bearing the image of the same Father. God designed and gave unto Christ grace and glory; and he did it that he mightbe the prototype of what he designed unto us, and would bestow upon us. Hence the apostle chews that the effect of this pre- destination to conformity unto the image of the Son, is the communication of all effectual saving grace, with the glory that ensues thereon, ver. 30. " Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified." The great design of God in his grace is, that as we have borne the image of thefirst Adam, in the deprava- tion of our natures, so we should bear the image of the second in their renovation. As we have borne the im- age of the earthy, so shall we bear the" image of the heavenly," 1 Cor. xv. 49. And as he is the pattern of all our graces, so he is of glory also. All our glory will consist in our being made like unto him, which what it is, doth not as yet appear, 1 John iii. 2. For " he shall changeeven our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body," Phil. iii. 21. Wherefore the fulness of grace was bestowed on the human nature of Christ, and the image of God glori- ously implanted thereon, that it might be the prototype and exampleof what the church was through him to be made partaker of. That which God intends for us, in the internal communication of his grace, and in the use of all the ordinances of the church, is, that we may come unto the " measure of the stature of the fulness which is in Christ," Eph iv. 13. There is a fulness of all grace in Christ. Hereunto arewe tobebrought ac- cording to the measure thatis designed unte every one G DIS EXAMPLE. $i ofus. For untoevery one ofus is given grace accord- ing to the measureof the gift of Christ,"ver. 7. He hatte inhis sovereign grace assigned different measures unto those on whom he cloth bestow it. And therefore it is called the stature, because as we grow gradually unto it, as teen do unto their just stature; so there is avariety in what we attain unto, as there is in the statures of men, who are yet all perfect in their proportion. 3. This image of God in Christ is represented unto us in the gospel. Being lost from our nature, it was ut- terly impossible we should have any just comprehension of it. There could be no steadynotion of the image of God, until it was renewed and exemplified in the hu- mannature of Christ. And thereon, without the know. ledge of him, the wisest of men have taken those things to render men most like unto God which were adverse unto him. Such were the most of those things which the heathens adoreas heroic virtues. But being per- fectly exemplified in Christ, it is now plainly represent . ed unto us in the gospel. Therein " with open face rye behold as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, and are changed into the same image," 2 Cor. iii. 18. The vail being taken away from divine revelations by the doctrine of the gospel, and from our hearts by the Lord the Spirit, we behold the image of God in Christ with open face, which is the principal means of our be- ing transformed into it. The gospel is the declaration of Christ unto us, and the glory of God in him, asun- tomany other entls, so in especial, that we might in him beholdand contemplate that image of God we are gra- dually to be renewed into. Hencewe are so therein to " learn the truth as it is in Jesus, as tobe renewed in the spirit of our minds, and to put on that newman which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness," Eph. iv. 20, 23, 24. that is, that is " re- newed after the image of him who created him," Col. iii. 10. 4. It istherefore evident, that the 4fe of God in us consists in conformity unto Christ; nor is the Holy Spirit as the principal and efficient cause of itgiven un to us for anyother end, but to unite us unto him, and make us like him. Wherefore the original gospel duty. which animates and rectifies all others, is a design for conformity unto Christ in all the gracious principles and qualifications of his holy soul, wherein the image of God in him doth consist. As he is the prototype and,