Communion with God (3)

John Owen

All three persons of the trinity acts graciously together in us. The Father does it by the way of original authority; the Son by the way of granting what he has earned in his riches; the Holy Spirit by the way of immediate effect e.g. Rom. viii. 11, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

The relationship with the Father is pre-eminently that of love─free, undeserved and eternal (I John 3:1). So in that distribution made by the apostle in his solemn parting benediction, 2 Cor. xiii. 14,“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, THE LOVE OF GOD, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, bewith you all.” Ascribing sundry things unto the distinct persons, it is love that he peculiarly assigns to the Father. And the fellowship of the Spirit is mentioned with the grace of Christ and the love of God, because it is by the Spirit alone that we have fellowship with Christ in grace, and with the Father in love.

Owen sees the love as being two-fold, a love of good pleasure (the will to do good), and a love of friendship (covenant love). Really you cannot divide them! Our calling is to receive it and return it! We receive it by faith. This is the will of God, that he may always be eyed as benign, kind, tender, loving, and unchangeable therein.

Our response must be love. God loves, that he may be beloved. When he comes to command the return of his received love, to complete communion with him, he says, “My son, give me thine heart,” Prov. xxiii. 26, — thy affections, thy love. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind,” Luke x. 27; this is the return that he demandeth. When the soul sees God, in his dispensation of love, to be love, to be infinitely lovely and loving, rests upon and delights in him as such, then has it communion with him in love. This is love, that God loves us first, and then we love him again.

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