… and kept not quite getting round to posting.
John Owen, talking about what kind of person is included in the promise. He says there are promises which sufficiently warrant a perplexed soul to go to Christ, “even when it can find in itself no other qualifications or conditions, but only such as render it every way unworthy to be accepted.”
“We do not say to a poor, naked, hungry, harbourless man, ‘Go, get thee clothes, get thee a habitation, and then I will give thee an alms.’ No, but ‘Because thou lackest all these, therefore I will give thee an alms.’ ‘Because thou art poor, blind, polluted, guilty, sinful, I will give thee mercy,’ says God.
… When did God give the great promise of Christ to Adam? Was it when he was sorrowing, repenting, qualifying his soul? No, but when he was fleeing, hiding, and had no thoughts but of separation from God. God calls him forth, and [all at the same time] tells him what he had deserved, pronounces the curse, and gives him the blessing. ‘I raised thee up,’ saith Christ, ‘under the apple tree; there thy mother brought thee forth.’ From the very place of sin Christ raiseth up the soul. So Isaiah 46 v 12: ‘Hearken to me, ye stout-hearted, that are far from righteousness.’ Here are two notable qualifications, stout-heartedness and remoteness from righteousness! What saith God to them? Verse 13, he discourses to them of mercy and salvation, and, 55v1, ‘Buy,’ saith he, ‘wine and milk.’
‘Yea, but I have nothing to buy with, and these things require a price.’ Indeed, so they do, but take them ‘without money, and without price.’
‘But he calls on them only who are thirsty.’ True, but it is a thirst of indigency and total want, not a thirst of spiritual desires. … Nay, we may go one step further. Proverbs 9 v 4-5, Christ invites to his bread and wine them who have no heart. This, commonly, is the last objection that an unbelieving heart makes against itself – it hath no mind to Christ. Indeed he hath no heart to Christ. ‘But yet,’ saith Christ, ‘thou shalt not thus go off – I will not admit of this excuse. You that have no heart, turn in hither.’
Now, I say, this obviating of all objections by unexpected appearances of love, mercy, and compassion in the promises is a strong inducement unto steadfastness in believing. When a soul shall find that God takes for granted that all that is true which it can charge itself with – that its sin, folly, unbelief, heartlessness, is just as he apprehends it, and inconceivably worse than he can think – that he takes for granted all the aggravations of his sins, that lie so dismally in his eye – his backsliding, frowardness, greatness of sin, impotency, coldness and the present, not answering in affection to the convictions that are upon him – and notwithstanding all this, yet says, ‘Come, let us agree, accept of peace, close with Christ, receive him from my love’ – surely it cannot but in some measure engage the soul into a rest and acquiescence in the word of promise.”
(Vol 9, p48-49)