Remembering from previous posts that the correct order is fact then faith then feeling, here’s a truth that is a perfect example. Regardless of whether or not I “feel” loved by God, I know that it is a Scriptural fact. I accept that by faith and come to experience the “rest” that John Owen describes in this quote from “Communion with God.” It’s an extended passage, but I have left it in its entirety to preserve the complete thought.
This (spiritual) growth in our walk with God is what we are to aim at. Many dark and disturbing thoughts arise to hinder our walk with God. Few can rise to the height of the Father’s love by faith, so as to rest their souls in his love. They live far below it in the troublesome region of hopes and fears, storms and clouds. Abiding in the Father’s love, all is peace and quiet. But how to rise up to the height of the Father’s love they do not know. It is God’s will that he should always be seen as gentle, kind, tender, loving and unchangeable. It is his will that we see him as the Father, and the great fountain and rservoir of all grace and love.
This is what Christ came to reveal. Christ came to reveal God as Father (John 1:18). It is the name of God as Father which Christ declares to those who are given him out of the world (John 17:6). And this is what Christ leads us to, because he is the only way of going to God as a Father (John 14:5, 6). He leads us to God as love. By this, Christ gives us the rest which he promised us. We believe in God through Christ (1 Peter 1:21). Faith seeks out a place for the soul to rest. This rest is presented to the soul by Christ, the Mediator. By Christ the soul has access into the Father’s love (Eph. 2:18). Believers find that God is love, and that he loved them from eternity. Believers learn that it was God’s will and purpose to love them from everlasting to everlasting in Christ, and that all reason for God to be angry with us and treat us as his enemies has been taken away. The believer, being brought by Christ into the bosom of the Father, rests in the full assurance of God’s love and of never being separated from that love. This is the first act of communion which the believer has with the Father.