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The Humility of John Owen

John Piper on the humility of John Owen:


Though he was one of the most influential and well-known men of his day, his own view of his place on God’s economy was somber and humble. Two days before he died he wrote in a letter to Charles Fleetwood, “I am leaving the ship of the church in a storm, but while the great Pilot is in it the loss of a poor underrower will be inconsiderable.”

Packer says that “Owen, [though] a proud man by nature, had been brought low in and by his conversion, and thereafter he kept himself low by recurring contemplation of his inbred sinfulness.” Owen illustrates this:

imgTo keep our soul in a constant state of mourning and self-abasement is the most necessary part of our wisdom . . . and it is so far from having any inconsistency with those consolations and joys, which the gospel tenders unto us in believing, as that it is the only way to let them into the soul in a due manner.

With regard to his immense learning and the tremendous insight he had into the things of God he seems to have a humbler attitude toward his achievement because he had climbed high enough to see over the first ridge of revolution into the endless mysteries of God.

I make no pretence of searching into the bottom or depth of any part of this “great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh.” They are altogether unreachable, unto the [limit] of the most enlightened minds, in this life, what we shall farther comprehend of them in the other world, God only knows.

This humility opened Owens’s soul to the greatest visions of Christ in the Scriptures. And he believed with all his heart the truth of 2 Corinthians 3:18, that by contemplating the glory of Christ “we may be gradually transformed into the same glory.” And that is nothing other than holiness.

—John Piper, Contending for Our All, (Crossway, 2006), 103–104.

Posted 2007·09·05 by David Kjos
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Posted in: A Quest for Godliness · Contending for Our All · Humility · J I Packer · John Owen · John Piper · Works of John Owen
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#1 || 07·09·05··19:29 || donsands

Good stuff.

I met John Piper at a JEI Conference, and he is quite the humble man of God as well.
And he's a Holy Ghost preachin' machine!

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