Reading "Communion with the Triune God" was my first experience with John Owen. I had read from his commentaries, but never one of his works. Kapic and Taylor do an excellent job providing background for, summarizing, outlining, and updating the work. Although Owen wrote in 1657, the editors have changed (or defined) the archaic language and formatting in order to help the modern reader. I'm sure reading this updated edition made my experience with Owen much more meaningful.
Many Christians, in their worship, have sought to worship God only as One. As the Shema says, "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one," so they worship God without discerning the distinct persons within the Godhead. Owen points out many instances in the New Testament where the persons are distinct, and argues that since they are distinct, we should relate to each, Father, Son, and Spirit.
Particularly, Owen argues that communion with the Father is characterized by his love for his people. Whereas Christians many times feel oppressed by thoughts of an almighty and vengeful Father, the author demonstrates that the Father relates to the saints in love through Christ... in fact, his love is where every other grace comes from. Nothing compares to the Father's love toward his people! Owen casts a huge vision of the Father's relationship to his children in love.
In our age there are some distortions of what it means to be in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Some are pleased to simply do their duty to Christ, as a worker to his boss. Others see Christ as friend, but lack the understanding and reverence of Christ as husband. Owen argues that the communion believers have with the Son consists in grace. Christ, in taking joy in his beloved wife, the Church, purchased and cleansed her with his blood. The saints, in seeing his beauty, and treasure and prefer him above all other "pretenders." The Son gives himself to the saints, and it is their joyful duty to receive all that he offers.
Owen concludes his book with a discussion on the communion believers have with the Holy Spirit, relying on John 16:1-7. He argues that the Holy Spirit's communion with the saints is primarily as a comforter who will always be present. Not only is the Spirit given from the Father and Son, but he himself bestows power, willingness, and gifts for the strengthening of believers. He comforts the saints with the love of God and the grace of Christ. As such, he brings into view, not just himself, but the entire Trinity.
Many Christians have all but lost any concern for communion with the Holy Spirit. Others have placed their focus on him, so displacing the Father and Son. But Owen argues that one of the Spirit's main roles is to glorify Jesus Christ. If someone glorifies the Holy Spirit without acknowledging the Son, then something has gone awry, because the Spirit wants to lift up the Son for all to see and enjoy.
"Communion with the Triune God" is a moving and rich book in which John Owen clearly describes the communion that saints have with God, as Father, Son, and Spirit. In his concluding paragraphs, he reaches the pinnacle of his arguments: In worshiping one person, we worship the whole Trinity. In praying to one person, we pray to the whole Trinity. In approaching God, we worship the whole Trinity. Christians who worship and pray and approach God with these ideas in mind will, no doubt, experience God in a fresh and exciting way, and perhaps commune with him in an entirely new way, as the Triune God.