Archive for the ‘Devotion’ Category

That Christ would desire to hear our prayers is a thought sometimes quite staggering and unbelievable to us. “O my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely” (Song 2:14). John Owen comments on this verse:

As if to say, ‘Do not hide yourself as one that flees to the clefts of the rocks. Do not be timid and fearful like one that hides in the secret places and is afraid to come out. Do not be cast down at the weakness of your prayers. Let me hear you sighing and groaning for me. They are sweet and delightful to my ears. Let me see your spiritual face seeking for and desiring heavenly things. A look from your brings great joy and delight to me.’ […]

And yet, it is not only that Christ desires our fellowship. His act of love enables us, and opens our hearts, to commune with him in return.

The soul loves Christ for his beauty, grace and all-sufficiency. The soul sees Christ as far to be preferred above all other beloveds whatever (Song 5:9). To the soul, Christ is ‘altogether lovely’ (Song 5:16)… The soul constantly prefers Christ to all else, counting everything else that seeks to possess the heart but rubbish in comparison to him. Beloved peace; beloved human relationship; beloved wisdom and learning; beloved righteousness; beloved duties are all but rubbish compared to Christ.

But this communion only takes place in light of the gospel. In fact, it is the message of free justification, apart from works, which allows us to come freely to Christ. Apart from this, there is no communion. And as we continue in the faith, the relationship of free justification remains the continual basis of our communion.

The soul willingly accepts Christ as its only Husband, Lord and Savior.  This is called ‘receiving’ Christ (John 1:12). This does not mean a once-for-all act of the will, but a continual receiving of Christ in abiding with him and owning him to be our Lord for ever. This is when the soul agrees to take Christ on his terms, for Christ to save him as and how he will and says, ‘Lord, I would have had you and salvation in my own way and on my own terms, partly by my own efforts, by my own good works, but now I am willing to receive you and to be saved in your way, merely by grace. I would have walked according to the dictates of my own mind, yet now I give up myself to be wholly ruled by your Spirit, for in you alone I have righteousness and strength. In you alone I am justified, and in you alone to I glory.’ In this way the soul has continual abiding communion with Christ in grace. This is what it means to receive Christ in his beauty and supreme glory. Let believers exercise their hearts abundantly in this communion. What joy they will find! – John Owen, Communion with God, (abridged version), 57-60.

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