Theologians on the Christian Life

Dane C. Ortlund:

Augustine gave us a theology of will- transforming grace that liberates the Christian life by replacing our loves. Luther left us the utter settledness of God’s favorable verdict over our morally fickle and despair- prone lives. Calvin gave us the majesty of God over every detail of the Christian’s life. Owen brought us into the joy of loving communion with the triune God. Bunyan left us with hope and courage in battling through the ups and downs of the Christian journey. Bavinck’s legacy is the restorative dimension to divine grace, grace opposed not to nature but only to sin. Spurgeon gave us in unparalleled language the gratuity of the gospel against a backdrop of an utterly sovereign Lord. Lewis expanded our imaginations in seeing the Christian life as a painfully joyous longing to be part of the larger story that makes sense of all things.

And Edwards has given us the beauty of the Christian life— first, the beauty of God, beauty that comes to tangible expression in Christ, and second, the beauty of the Christian, who participates in the triune life of divine love. Divine loveliness, enjoyed and reflected in his creatures: this is Edwards’s legacy. Sinners are beautified as they behold the beauty if God in Jesus Christ. That is Edwards’s theology of the Christian life in a single sentence. If Luther was a St. Paul, terse and punchy and emphasizing faith, Edwards was a St. John, calm and elegant and emphasizing love.