Chapter 6: Owen on Communion with Trinity
John Owen taught that believers have a "distinct communion with each divine person" (103). We see this in John 14:23; 2 Cor. 13:14; Rev. 3:20, for some examples. This is better than relating to God in His divine essence or by abstract attributes.
Owen wrote a book on this in 1657. Each divine person has distinct roles visible in Scripture. The Father initiates and plans; the Son carries out, redeems and mediates and accomplishes; the Spirit applies, brings fruit, completes.
2 Corinthians 13:14 - "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all."
Communion with the Father focuses on love.
- His love for us is eternal, from the beginning. It didn't start when Christ mediated for us, it caused Christ's mediation.
- His love for us is free - He didn't need us, but we love Him out of need and duty, in addition to the joy and delight of it.
- His love for us distinguishes. He hasn't loved the whole world in the same way, but chose His people out of all the world.
- His love assures us of our salvation. Contemplating His prior and enduring love for us shown at the cross comforts and kindles our hearts in love to God.
Communion with the Son focuses on grace
Jesus invites us to commune with Him - Rev 3:20. Owen distinguished personal grace and purchased grace.
- Jesus in His person is our glorious Bridegroom (Psalm 45:2). The Song of Solomon is an illustration of our spiritually conjugal relationship with Christ. Jesus enjoys fellowship His bride. He "woos and wins" her (109). This is heady stuff, and comes from a Puritan! Smash that caricature.
- Jesus in His work purchases our acceptance with the Father, our sanctification and our adoption into God's house.
- The Lord's Supper is a unique opportunity to commune with Christ.
Communion with the Spirit focuses on comfort
The Spirit's title of paraclete, one who comes alongside, points to His comforting role.
- He regenerates our hearts to believe in Jesus, reminds us of His words, lives within us.
- He is the earnest, or down payment, of our inheritance to come. The inheritance is fellowship with God Himself, so the earnest is like it.
- Most of all He brings us into communion with the Father and the Son. This explains several passages omit the Spirit when they describe grace and peace from, or fellowship with, the Father and the Son: the grace, peace and fellowship ARE the Holy Spirit.
Relating to God as Trinity keeps our worship on God Himself, keeps our spirituality personal instead of mystical, draws our soul's enjoyment to God instead of the mind doing barren theology.