Sunday, July 14, 2013
My Highlights from Chapter 1 of "Formed for the Glory of God: Learning from the Spiritual Practices of Jonathan Edwards"
God, as Edwards never tires of telling his readers, is a fountain of love. The eternal and infinite love of God quenches the thirst of all who draw near. In drinking deeply from this fountain, love of God and neighbor finally reign perfectly (p. 20).
The present realities of love and hate are proof that heaven and hell are real—so real, in fact, that their ways of life bleed into ours (p. 21).
God is the only source of the heavenly life, and therefore to grasp the nature of the Christian life we must grasp what it means to know God (p. 21).
Heaven is a journey with God where we grow in love and knowledge of him for eternity; where our own love abounds to others in a society of love (p. 22).
The “tip of happiness,” or, we might say, the goal of humanity, is to see God face to face and be embraced as his own (p. 23).
Meditating on the reality of heaven and hell helps us understand our calling in this life (p. 24).
Grasping the destination set before us helps us to understand the kind of journey we are on (p. 24).
“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn 3:2). In a real sense, to see God is to become like God. This biblical point will prove incredibly important for Edwards’s understanding of the Christian life. Truly seeing God is grasping him as the highest good, truth and beauty (p. 25).
The difference between faith and sight is that now, on our pilgrim journey, we see in a mirror dimly, but in glory, we will come face to face with God himself (p. 25).
Knowledge of God is not knowledge of an object, but is a personal knowledge, knowledge only available in a relationship of love (p. 26).
You may know things about someone but still not know them in any meaningful sense. Something similar is true with knowing God. Knowing God necessitates God revealing himself to us, just as others have to reveal themselves. We come to know others through what they say and what they do. Likewise, we come to know God in Christ, his image, and in his work of redemption. Both of these are revealed to us in Scripture. This knowledge, of course, is not attained through sheer force, memorizing every aspect of the biblical text in an attempt to know God through one’s own effort. Rather, the Spirit of God illumines believers such that Christ himself, and likewise the Father, are known through the biblical text (1 Cor 2:9-16) (pp. 27-28).
When God gives his Spirit to his people he does not merely offer forgiveness, but his own self (p. 32).
see. It is not the physical beauty of Christ that melts hearts, but the revelation of God’s love for his people through Christ (p. 33).
In 1 John 3:2 we are told that when Christ appears we will be like him, because we will see him as he is. One day we will see clearly. The hindrance of our fleshliness will be removed and we will be clothed anew. Until then, we see through a glass darkly. Now, our loves are varied, often grasping for temporal things and confusing them for what is eternal. (p. 34).