There is no way you can be happier than through having a friendship with Jesus.
Because there is no one who is a better person than Jesus.
Because there is no one who can love you like Jesus.
- He doesn’t love you to get something from you.
- He loves you as much as it is possible for a person to love someone.
- His love for you never changes.
- His love for you has been proved through the suffering He endured on your behalf.
Because there is no one who loves a person better than Jesus.
- He doesn’t only prove He loves you through what He says to you, but also through what He gives to you.
- The expressions of His love towards you in the gifts He has given you are far superior to anything anyone else has ever given you.
Because there is no one whose one friendship gets better and better and deeper and deeper as we seek to enjoy it like Jesus’.
Jonathan Edwards, 1 Peter 1:8a, A Sermon Preached to the Indians at Stockbridge in July 1757
It is curious that sometimes people arguing for more tolerance are the most intolerant people of all.
In a letter to a friend in Scotland, Jonathan Edwards noted just this kind of thing happening in his day:
“I have observed that these modern, fashionable opinions, however called noble and generous, are commonly attended, not only with a haughty contempt, but an inward, malignant bitterness of heart towards all the zealous professors and defenders of the contrary spiritual principles, that do so nearly concern the vitals of religion, and the power of experimental godliness.
This, be sure, has been the case in this land.
I have known many gentlemen (especially in the ministry) tainted with these large principles, who, though none seem to be such great advocates for liberty and freedom of thought, and condemn a narrow and persecuting spirit, so much as they; yet in the course of things have made it manifest that they themselves had no small share of a persecuting spirit.
They were indeed against anybody’s restraining their liberties, or pretending to control them in their thinking and professing as they please; and that is what they mean truly, when they plead for liberty. But they have that inward enmity of spirit towards those others mentioned, that if they see an opportunity to persecute them under some good cloak, and with some fair pretext, will eagerly embrace it, and proceed with great severity and vehemence.”
There are a lot of opinions in this world.
And sometimes given the force of other people’s opinions and even sometimes the seemingly compelling nature of the way in which they make their arguments, we can begin to waver in our own convictions.
But you know, it can help every once in a while to take a step back.
This person who has this strong opinion about what’s right and what’s wrong, what else do they believe?
For example, are they willing to kill children?
It is hard (read pretty much impossible) for me to take very seriously the moral opinions of someone who defends the murder of children while they are in the womb.
Obviously there are people who have actually even done that, they have had abortions, and come to grieve over what they have done and repent of it. That is a totally different story. I have no doubts God is happy and quick to show mercy to anyone who has killed their own child if they will turn to Him in repentance. And I am more than happy to call them friend. But, when it comes to the person who is presently arguing and defending abortion, to be able to do that, their worldview has to be so radically different, that no matter how forcefully they argue their opinions in other areas, it is difficult for me personally to take any moral kinds of argument they make very seriously.
In other words, you can say what you want about what I believe about God or the Bible or how God wants us to live, my “moral code”, if you want to call it that, but if you are basically willing to approve of child sacrifice, your opinions just aren’t going to carry very much weight .
“Saving grace in the heart is the greatest privilege and blessing which God ever bestows on any persons in this world.”
Sometimes people speak as if the church is missing something when it doesn’t practice the extraordinary miraculous gifts we find in the New Testament. In saying that, they sometimes make it sound as if the Spirit’s work of sanctifying and transforming people is somewhat ordinary.
Jonathan Edwards thought the opposite.
“I do not expect a restoration of these miraculous gifts in the approaching glorious times of the church, nor do I desire it. It appears to me that it would add nothing to the glory of those times, but rather diminish from it. For my part, I had rather enjoy the sweet influences of the Spirit, showing Christ’s spiritual divine beauty, infinite grace, dying love, drawing forth the holy exercises of faith, divine love, sweet complacence, and humble joy in God, one quarter of an hour, than to have prophetical visions and revelations the whole year.”
“To the person that is to be set apart to the sacred work of the gospel ministry this day: Sir, I would now humbly and earnestly recommend to you that Holy Book which God is about to commit into your hands, as containing that message which you are to deliver to this people in his name. God gives you this word–which is his word–to preach that, and not the dictates of your own reason. You are to preach the dictates of God’s infinitely superior understanding, humbly submitting your reason as a learner and disciple to that, renouncing all confidence in your own wisdom and entirely relying on God’s instructions.
God is now about to deliver to you a summary of doctrines already discovered and dictated to your hand, which you are to teach and zealously to maintain. And if the time should come that you should be reproached for so doing, with such kind of reproaches as are in these days commonly cast on such as earnestly preach the mysterious doctrines of revelation, and you should be called a bigoted zealot; one whose zeal runs before your knowledge; one that durst not indulge a freedom of thought; one that dare not presume to think otherwise than your forefathers thought; one of those that judge of God by themselves, that think that God is a morose, ill-natured sort of being because they are so; one that is a person of little sense or reason: if such proud contemptuous reproaches are cast upon you, merely because you rely more on God’s testimony than the dictates of your own reason, the time will soon come when they will be wiped away. Your Lord and Master, that commanded you to preach those doctrines, will defend you and will show in his time who has proceeded with greatest wisdom: you, who have relied on God’s wisdom; or they, who have been wise in their own eyes, and have leaned to their own understanding and have despised others, that han’t trusted more to God’s instructions.”
“There is no really honest and consistent way of honoring Edwards at all this day except in the context of honoring, of acknowledging and renewing our dedication to his cause. That cause was nothing less than the glory of God…What Edwards knew, what he believed in his heart and with his mind, was that man was made to stand in the presence of eternal, unending absolute glory, to participate in the celebration of cosmic deliverance from everything putrid, destructive, defiling, to rejoice in the service of the stupendous artist who flung universes of stars on his canvas, sculptured the forms of angelic powers, etched with loving care miniature worlds within worlds.” R. Neibhur