This is part 4 of a series of blog posts examining the arguments John Owen makes for and against a limited/particular atonement in his extensive work on the subject: The Death of Death in the Death of Christ.
In the last post, we explored Owen’s admission that there is a distinction between Christ obtaining spiritual blessings and the application of these blessings, which are given on the condition that a person believes. Owen’s solution, used to defend limited atonement, was to assert that faith is one of the many spiritual blessings obtained by Christ’s death.
faith itself, which is the condition of them, on whose performance [spiritual blessings] are bestowed, that he hath procured for us absolutely, on no condition at all
Faith, a condition of salvation, is acquired for the elect through the cross. This faith is then unconditionally given to the elect so that the rest of the spiritual blessings can be given to them as well.
How does Owen understand Faith?
In a separate work, The Doctrine of Justification by Faith (1677), Owen seeks to lay out the case that we are saved by faith alone.
faith alone is on our part the means, instrument, or condition … of our justification, all the prophets and apostles [taught this], and were so taught to be by Jesus Christ
Owen, here admits, that faith is our part of salvation. A truth that is taught by the apostles, who learned it from Christ.
In this treatise he explores the answer to the question: what is saving faith.
the inquiry is, What is that act or work of faith whereby we may obtain a real interest or propriety in the promises of the gospel, and the things declared in them
This question is worth considering, given the assertions about faith, made by Owen, in The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. Continue reading