What is meant by Christ being 'altogether lovely'
He is "Altogether Lovely!" Here it is said of Jesus Christ, which cannot be said of any mere creature, that he is "altogether lovely." Let us consider this excellent expression, and particularly reflect on what is contained in it, and you shall find this expression "altogether lovely."
1. It excludes all unloveliness and disagreeableness from Jesus Christ. As a theologian long ago said, "There is nothing in him which is not loveable." The excellencies of Jesus Christ are perfectly exclusive of all their opposites; there is nothing of a contrary property or quality found in him to contaminate or devaluate his excellency. And in this respect Christ infinitely transcends the most excellent and loveliest of created things. Whatever loveliness is found in them, it is not without a bad aftertaste. The fairest pictures must have their shadows. The rarest and most brilliant gems must have dark backgrounds to set off their beauty; the best creature is but a bitter sweet at best. If there is something pleasing, there is also something sour. if a person has every ability, both innate and acquired, to delight us, yet there is also some natural corruption intermixed with it to put us off. But it is not so in our altogether lovely Christ, his excellencies are pure and unmixed. He is a sea of sweetness without one drop of gall.
2. There is nothing unlovely found in him, so all that is in him is wholly lovely. As every ray of God is precious, so everything that is in Christ is precious. Who can weigh Christ in a pair of balances, and tell you what his worth is? "His price is above rubies, and all that you can desire is not to be compared with him," Proverbs 8:11.
3. Christ embraces all things that are lovely. He seals up the sum of all loveliness. Things that shine as single stars with a particular glory, all meet in Christ as a glorious constellation. Col. 1:19, "It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell." Cast your eyes among all created beings, survey the universe: you will observe strength in one, beauty in a second, faithfulness in a third, wisdom in a fourth; but you shall find none excelling in them all as Christ does. Bread has one quality, water another, clothing another, medicine another; but none has them all in itself as Christ does. He is bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, a garment to the naked, healing to the wounded; and whatever a soul can desire is found in him.
4. Nothing is lovely in opposition to him, or in separation from him. If he truly is altogether lovely, then whatever is opposite to him, or separate from him can have no loveliness in it. Take away Christ, and where is the loveliness of any enjoyment? The best creature-comfort apart from Christ is but a broken cistern. It cannot hold one drop of true comfort, Psalm 73:26. It is with the creature– the sweetest and loveliest creature– as with a beautiful image in the mirror: turn away the face and where is the image? Riches, honors, and comfortable relations are sweet when the face of Christ smiles upon us through them; but without him, what empty trifles are they all?
5. Christ transcends all created excellencies in beauty and loveliness. If you compare Christ and other things, no matter how lovely, no matter how excellent and desirable, Christ carries away all loveliness from them. "He is before all things," Col. 1:17. Not only before all things in time, nature, and order; but before all things in dignity, glory, and true excellence. In all things he must have the pre-eminence.
The entire text of the articles can be found at Grace Gems.