As I work my way through the sermons of Jonathan Edwards, besides paraphrasing the messages, I thought I could also try to capture some key brief insights that could easily be used in future sermons or conversations or probably more importantly, in every day life. Here, we look at the second sermon we have from Edwards, which has to do with the value of the salvation of the soul.
We are tempted to place a greater value on material possessions than they are actually worth. In his sermon, The Value of Salvation, Jonathan Edwards gives the following reasons we shouldn’t be as passionate about material possessions as unfortunately we so often are.
1. Stuff doesn’t last forever.
2. You aren’t going to enjoy your stuff forever.
3. It’s actually pretty difficult to enjoy stuff very long at all.
4. If you did have all the stuff in the world, it wouldn’t nearly be worth as much as you might think.
It can be difficult to believe that material possessions aren’t as valuable as we think, so Jonathan Edwards gives several proofs that even if we had everything, we wouldn’t really have much.
1. The more stuff you have, the more you want.
2. The happiness you get from having people respect you, is only because other people think you are important and happy, and not because you actually are important and happy.
3. Sensual and physical pleasures make great promises but don’t really deliver. Even if you could enjoy them to their full, like fireworks, they really only last a moment, and usually leave you empty in the end.
4. The best thing you can experience in this world is true friendship, but even that by itself, is pretty disappointing because the reality is the more you love someone the more pain you will experience when they fail you or when they leave you, because in the end they will.
He doesn’t say this to discourage us, but instead to point us to what is really valuable, and that is the salvation of the soul. There are a number of different reasons the salvation of the soul is more valuable than gaining the whole world.
1. Because of what the soul is saved from.
2. Because of what the soul is saved to.
What exactly is the soul saved from? In other words, what does it mean for a soul to perish?
1. The soul that is not saved will never again experience any sort of pleasure.
2. The soul that is not saved will only experience pain.
3. The soul that is not saved will never again experience pleasure and only experience pain forever.
This is bad news, but what is the good news? What is the soul saved to?
1. The soul that is saved is saved from all sorts of evil. This means they will not experience temptation or affliction any longer. Ever.
2. The soul that is saved will be brought to the enjoyment of all good. Every single part of him will be completely satisfied.
3. The soul that is saved will not experience any suffering and will only experience all joy, forever.
If we need any more proof of the value of the salvation of the soul, we can look to the value God has placed on the soul. What demonstrations do we find that God values the soul?
1. He made the world for the sake of the soul.
2. He sent prophets into this world that souls might be saved.
3. He sent his own Son into this world to die for the sake of the salvation of the soul.
Given the value of the soul and the relative lack of value in material things, how should we then live?
1. We should be careful that we don’t lose our souls.
2. We should do as much as we can so that others souls can be saved as well.
What steps can we take to guard our souls?
1. We should not do things that will damage our souls.
2. We should cry out to God to save our souls.
3. We must work hard at the things that have to do with the good of our souls.
4. We must persevere in seeking the salvation of our souls.