Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Commnion with the Triune God

If you get the chance, pick up Communion with the Triune God by John Owen. (edited by Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor). It just came out from Crossway.

The book is weighty and moving. Owen splits up the Trinity and talks about how to commune with each person. (I found it to be highly educational on for my theology on the Trinity. It was great to have someone expound on the many aspects of each person so fully and with such care.) The purpose of the book is best summed up by this quote:

"both he that writes, and they that read the words of his mercy, may have such a taste of his sweetness and excellencies therein, as to be stirred up to a further longing after the fullness of his salvation and the eternal fruition of him in glory." (pg 94)

This was my first big book by Owen (I've only read a few bits and pieces). The updated language by Kapic and Taylor was a huge help. I easily got into a rhythm while reading it because I wasn't bothered by hard to decipher language.

Speaking of the editors, Kapic did a great job in the introduction. I could see that section becoming a small tract on its own. For someone, like me, who is only somewhat familiar with Owen, it was a good min-biography and a great detailing of the work at hand.

One of the best features of the book is the outline, which is over 30 pages long. I had my doubts at first...30 page outline?!? But it really did come in handy. I found myself glancing back to it many times to find the flow of Owen's thought.

My very brief thoughts on the substance of the book:

His chapters on the Father were good for me. I often think of Jesus as the love of God, when it was the Father who "predestined us in love."

During his talk on Christ, I couldn't help but be brought back to the Derek Webb song "Lover." "I am my beloved, and my beloved is mine." The greatness of Christ, the fullness of His grace was made clear.

The efficacy of the Holy Spirit because he comes with the authority of the Father and the Son was made real to me. The last quote on here really stopped me and made me think.

Here's some quotes that hit me:

not "holding immediate communion with the Father in love...makes us go heavily, when we might rejoice; and to be weak, where we might be strong in the Lord." (pg 123)

"This is the first act of communion, as to the personal grace
of Christ. Christ makes himself over to the soul, to be his, as to all the
love, care, and tenderness of a husband; and the soul gives up itself
wholly unto the Lord Christ, to be his, as to all loving, tender obedience.
And herein is the main of Christ’s and the saints’ espousals. This,
in the prophet, is set out under a parable of himself and a harlot: “You
shall abide for me,” says he unto her, “you shall not be for another, and
I will be for you” (Hos. 3:3)—“Poor harlot,” says the Lord Christ, “I
have bought you unto myself with the price of mine own blood; and now, this is that which we will consent unto—I will be for you, and you
shall be for me, and not for another.” (pg 156)

"Our universal obedience and good works are indispensably necessary,
from the sovereign appointment and will of God; Father, Son, and
Holy Ghost." (pg 304)

"The conversion of others. “Having your conversation honest among
the Gentiles; that, wherein they speak against you as evildoers, they
may, by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the
day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:12; Matt. 5:16). Even revilers, persecutors,
evil-speakers have been overcome by the constant holy walking of professors;
and when their day of visitation has come, have glorified God
on that account (1 Pet. 3:1–2)." (pg 308)

"Hence is the sin against the Holy Ghost (what it is I do not now
dispute) unpardonable, and has that adjunct of rebellion put upon it
that no other sin has—namely, because he comes not, he acts not, in his
own name only, though in his own also, but in the name and authority
of the Father and Son, from and by whom he is sent; and therefore, to
sin against him is to sin against all the authority of God, all the love of
the Trinity, and the utmost condescension of each person to the work
of our salvation." (pg 363)


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