Sunday, September 23, 2007

"For the love of the Father is the only rest of the soul."

I've begun reading John Owen's Communion with the Triune God, with a plan to discuss it in some manner here at the blog. A number of people will undoubtedly be doing this, since we're all cadging for a free copy. Notice, for example, the hard-working Adrian Warnock.

I'm only 3 chapters into the book, and I must say it makes me shake my head in wonder at times, for the writing is rich and deep. Chapter 3 in particular has stopped me in my tracks. I don't intend to recapitulate the whole of Owen's argument here, but I did want to dwell for a moment on a particular point from chapter 3. On page 111 there is a section headed, "The Requirement of Believers to Complete Communion of the Father in Love." I've reread this section three times now and I can't get over it. Owen makes two points here about true communion with God.
  1. Believers must receive the love of the Father.
  2. Believers must return love to the Father.
On point 1 above, Owen makes this incredibly simple and yet profound statement:
How then is the love of the Father to be received, so as to hold fellowship with him? I answer: By faith. The receiving is the believing.
Owen explains that the receiving is through Christ; in other words, that Jesus mediates the Father's love to us. And it is by faith that we receive it. To receive is to believe. He writes:
Would believers exercise themselves herein, they would find it a matter of no small spiritual improvement in their walking with God.
But don't let that word "exercise" fool you. Owen is talking about "rest." He writes, "For the love of the Father is the only rest for the soul." Owen is saying that there can be no true communion with God unless the point is settled in our hearts. As Brennan Manning often asks, "Do you know how much the Father loves you?"

Owen says that through Christ we are offered rest for the soul, and we receive that rest by trusting in Christ. He is "the procuring cause." By him the believer has access to the Father and
... into his love; finds out that he is love, as having a design, a purpose of love, a good pleasure toward us from eternity--a delight, a complacency [peace], a goodwill in Christ.... The soul being thus, by faith through Christ, and by him, brought into the bosom of God, into a comfortable persuasion and spiritual perception and sense of his love, there reposes and rests itself. And this is the first thing the saints do, in their communion with the Father[.] (p. 113)
Chew on that for a while, saints.


Anonymous said...

let's love the Father! let's love Jeusus! let's sing in the Holy Spirit to the King of Kings! YES !

what are we waiting for!!!!!

yahooooooooooooooo! wow!

come on...jump and sing!
don't stop!

Praise God!

Anonymous said...

God has love for us, we believe in the Son, have love for the Son, and love for the Father, God fills us with His love through the Holy Spirit. our true desire is fulfilled. rest in God.

praise God!

Anonymous said...

chewing and being fed.