Ortlund and Edwards on The Meaning of Life

“In the Edwardses’ world, the meaning of life was found in intense loves, including earthly loves.”

George M. Marsden, Jonathan Edwards: A Life (New Haven, 2003), page 497.

If I were in conversation with Jonathan Edwards and he began a sentence by saying, “Ray, the meaning of life is . . .,” and then he paused, I would await the completion of that sentence with deep interest.  Here is an intellectual genius.  Here is a man of God.  Here is a profound theologian.  Here is a wise pastor.  And he is about to propose to me the meaning of life.  “Okay, Pastor Edwards, I am listening.  Please complete that sentence for me.”

Then he says, “Ray, the meaning of life is found in intense loves, including earthly loves.”  Not moderate loves.  Not play-it-safe loves.  Not this-won’t-cost-you-anything loves.  Not let’s-dabble-in-the-shallows loves.  But intense loves.  Brightly burning loves.  All-consuming loves.

Hiding in our timid hearts is a desire to be loved mildly, nothing more.  That way, we retain control, we set the terms, we avoid risk.  Our loving God, in his flaming intensity, will have none of it.  He defines the meaning of our lives, and we are saved from our mild loves and lifted up by his grace into intense loves, like his own.

Thank you, Pastor Edwards.

(How Edwards defined the meaning of life is a post from: Ray Ortlund)

No Longer Slaves, But Set Free By Love

God is love. 

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 

And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.
(New Living Translation, 1 Jn 4:8–10, 17–18)

You split the sea so I could walk right through it,
you drown my fears in perfect love,
you rescued me and I will stand and sing,
I am, a child, of God!