“Communion consists in giving and receiving. Until the love of the Father be received, we have no communion with him therein.
How, then, is this love of the Father to be received, so as to hold fellowship with Him? I answer, By faith.
The receiving of it is the believing of it. God hath so fully, so eminently revealed His love, that it may be received by faith.
“Ye believe in God,” (John 14:1); that is, the Father. And what is to be believed in Him? His love; for He is “love,” (1 John 4:8).
It is true, there is not an immediate acting of faith upon the Father, but by the Son.
“He is the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Him,” (John 14:6).
He is the merciful high priest over the house of God, by whom we have access to the throne of grace: by Him is our introduction unto the Father; by Him we believe in God, (1 Pet. 1:21).
But this is that I say,—When by and through Christ we have an access unto the Father, we then behold His glory also, and see His love that He peculiarly bears unto us, and act faith thereon.
We are then, I say, to eye it, to believe it, to receive it, as in Him; the issues and fruits thereof being made out unto us through Christ alone.
Though there be no light for us but in the beams, yet we may by beams see the sun, which is the fountain of it. Though all our refreshment actually lie in the streams, yet by them we are led up unto the fountain.
Jesus Christ, in respect of the love of the Father, is but the beam, the stream; wherein though actually all our light, our refreshment lies, yet by Him we are led to the fountain, the sun of eternal love itself.
Would believers exercise themselves herein, they would find it a matter of no small spiritual improvement in their walking with God.
This is that which is aimed at. Many dark and disturbing thoughts are apt to arise in this thing.
Few can carry up their hearts and minds to this height by faith, as to rest their souls in the love of the Father; they live below it, in the troublesome region of hopes and fears, storms and clouds.
All here is serene and quiet. But how to attain to this pitch they know not.
This is the will of God, that He may always be eyed as benign, kind, tender, loving, and unchangeable therein; and that peculiarly as the Father, as the great fountain and spring of all gracious communications and fruits of love.
This is that which Christ came to reveal: God as a Father (John 1:18).”
–John Owen, The Works of John Owen, Volume 2: Communion With God (ed. William H. Goold; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1850-53/1997), 2: 22-23.