More of Owen on the Love of God

I promised to post more of Owen’s Communion with God. Here is his continued explanation of how God’s love to His children and their love to Him differ:

2dly. They differ in this:— The love of the Father unto us is an antecedent love; our love unto him is a consequent love.
(1st.) The love of the Father unto us is an antecedent love, and that in two respects:—
[1st.] It is antecedent in respect of our love, 1 John iv. 10, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us.” His love goes before ours. The father loves the child, when the child knows not the father, much less loves him. Yea, we are by nature θεοστυγεῖς, Rom. i. 30, — haters of God. He is in his own nature φιλάνθρωπος, — a lover of men; and surely all mutual love between him and us must begin on his hand.
[2dly.] In respect of all other causes of love whatever. It goes not only before our love, but also any thing in us that is lovely. Rom. v. 8, “God commendeth his love towards us, in that whilst we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Not only his love, but the eminent fruit thereof, is made out towards us as sinners. Sin holds out all of unloveliness and undesirableness that can be in a creature. The very mention of that removes all causes, all moving occasions of love whatever. Yet, as such, have we the commendation of the Father’s love unto us, by a most signal testimony. Not only when we have done no good, but when we are in our blood, doth he love us; — not because we are better than others, but because himself is infinitely good. His kindness appears when we are foolish and disobedient. Hence he is said to “love the world;” that is, those who have nothing but what is in and of the world, whose whole [portion] lies in evil.
(2dly.) Our love is consequential in both these regards:—
[1st.] In respect of the love of God. Never did creature turn his affections towards God, if the heart of God were not first set upon him.
[2dly.] In respect of sufficient causes of love. God must be revealed unto us as lovely and desirable, as a fit and suitable object unto the soul to set up its rest upon, before we can bear any love unto him. The saints (in this sense) do not love God for nothing, but for that excellency, loveliness, and desirableness that is in him. As the psalmist says, in one particular, Ps. cxvi. 1, “I love the Lord, because!” so may we in general; we love the Lord, because! Or, as David in another case, “What have I now done? is there not a cause?” If any man inquire about our love to God, we may say, “What have we now done? is there not a cause?”

We all could stand to meditate on God’s love the way Owen does here.


About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

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