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I finished reading the chapter on John Owen in Piper’s book Contending for Our All this last week and it has been tremendous food for thought. Particularly thougts like this: “Our happiness consisteth not in the knowing the things of the gospel, but in the doing of them.” Being of a rather intellectual persuasion it is rather easy for me to get rapped up “in the knowing” rather that “the doing” of the thing of the gospel. Now I don’t intent to imply that what we need is to put more effort into “the doing,” but rather to contend that we need the be more persuaded of the things that we claim to believe.

The last few weeks as I have been doing evangelism downtown, I have found myself using this illustration to demonstrate a proper knowing. Suppose I came into your house and exclaimed, “Your house is on fire!” Now I would suppose that unless you were deaf, you would know what I meant by the statement “Your house is on fire!” You would that it was “house”, a building in which be live. You would know it was “your” house and not anothers that was being considered. And you would know what was meant by it being “on fire”, particularly that it was a danger to your home and your being. Now what good would it do you to know all that if it did not beget in you a proper response. What good did the knowledge serve it it did not move you to flee the fire or call for the fire department? So to our knowledge of God and the gospel is very dangerous indeed if it does not beget a proper response in the us.

Owen understood what so much of fail to sometimes. That it is only when the knowing the Ways of God, produce in us a following of the Ways of God, that we find communion with God. Owen writes,

“When the heart is cast indeed into the mould of the doctine that the mind embraceth – when the evidence and necsessity of the truth abides in us – when not the sense of the words only is in our heads, but the sense of the things abides in our hearts – when we have communion with God in the doctrine we contend for – then we shall be garrisoned by the grace of God against all the assaults of men.”

What a challenge this has been to me, to seek God’s grace to impress upon my own heart the reality of the truths that I believe. So that my life would be more than contending for doctrine, but also communining with God. But it should also be noted that this communion with God is derived, not from personal experience, but rather from doctrine. For it is the doctrines of God, who He is and what He has done, that are set for in Scripture that are the grounds upon which we have communion with God.

In order to commune with the Father we must know the Son for it is the Son who makes known the Father (Jn. 8:19). But to know the Son you must have the Spirit, for it is the Spirit of God that testifies to the Son of God. (Jn. 15:26, cf. 1 Cor. 2:11-16). Yet it must be recongnized that the Spirit of God has chosen to record that which is to be known about the Father and the Son in a written form, the scriptures (Jn. 5:39, cf. 2 Pet. 1:21, 1 Pet. 1:10-12). To put it simply: In order to commune with God we must seek to know the Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, through the Written Word, the Bible.