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Owen goes on to characterize the love we have in the Father. First, we must realize that the love flows one who is all sufficient: The Father could seek nothing from us, for being all sufficient, self-sufficient in the truest understanding of the phrase, he has no need from another. The Father is “in himself all sufficient,infinitely satiated with himself and his own glorious excellencies and perfections; who has no need to go forth with his love unto others, nor to seek an object of it without himself. There might he rest with delight and complacency to eternity. He is sufficient unto his own love” (Owen, Chapter 4). Thus, the love of the Father is mere, is pure “kindness and bounty.”

Consider further the nature of the love itself: The love of the Father is first “eternal”. Paul, when he wishes to press upon Timothy the surpassing wonder of the Gospel shows him that the love of the Father which brings us to salvation is a love before time:

8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 2 Timothy 1:8–10 (ESV)

When he writes to the Ephesian church, he praises the Father for an electing love settled before any creation, before the ages:

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3–6 (ESV)

Owen explains that such knowledge should, were it rightly understood, transform our hearts and minds:

It was from eternity that he laid in his own bosom a design for our happiness. The very thought of this is enough to make all that is within us, like the babe in the womb of Elizabeth, to leap for joy. A sense of it cannot but prostrate our souls to the lowest abasement of a humble, holy reverence, and make us rejoice before him with trembling.

Think of this in terms of discipleship and counseling and sanctification: What sin could possibly control and drag us along were we to truly understand the depth and joy of the Father’s love. We sin out of ignorance – not the intellectual ignorance bemoaned by a Greek philosopher, but a true ignorance of not knowing the Father. We sin out of our resources, we sin out of our poverty not realizing how great the riches of the Father are that have been bestowed and procured in Christ. To the extent we cherish the love of the Father in Christ, to that extent we are freed from sin:

13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:13–17 (ESV)