Walter Robert McDonald

Date of Birth: July 18, 1934

Date Submitted: December 24, 2018

Religious Affiliation: No answer

What is the meaning of life?

I.          Why?

"Long ago, even before He made the world, God loved us.... His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ." Eph 1:4-5, NLT   "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Jn 3:16, NIV

"Even as an old man, John--"the disciple Jesus loved" -- never stopped marveling at that great simple mystery. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1 Jn 3:1, NIV

When "they asked him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?' Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."' Jn 6:28-29, NIV  "This is the will of him who sent me... that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him [that person] up at the last day." Jn 6:39-40, NIV ("My Father's will [is] that all who see the son and believe in him shall have eternal life-that I should raise them up at the last day." NLT)

"I tell you the truth," Jesus said, "whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." Jn 5:24, NIV The Lord's Apostle Paul insists upon this--"It is by grace you have been saved, by faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one should boast." Eph. 2:8, NIV

Over and over, old as I am, I'm shocked by the simple mystery of the Gospel, often overwhelmed by joy. "Mercy," I moaned long ago in the night, "mercy, my Lord." And always, especially after Vietnam, "Thank you. Thank you." "We few"--in Shakespeare's words--"we happy few" are among the millions who claim the promise of pardon of John 3: 16. "This is love," John wrote decades later--"not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:10, NIV When we were renegades and strangers, He saw us as His own. When we were helpless and hopeless, He called us home.

Frederick Buechner wrote, 'Turn around and believe that the good news that we are loved is better than we ever dared hope, and that to believe in that good news--to live out of it and toward it, to be in love with that good news-is of all glad things in this world the gladdest thing of all. Amen, and come, Lord Jesus." Buechner, The Clown in the Belfry, 171, quoted in Manning, Abba's Child, 58-59

Paul's gospel assures us it's true-God "declares sinners to be right in his sight because they believe in Jesus.... Our acquittal is not based on our good deeds. It is based on our faith. We are made right with God through faith." Rom 3:25, 27, 28, NLT  That's what Paul learned from Jesus, the Son of God, who said in John 6, "I tell you the truth, [the one] who believes has everlasting life." John 6:47, NIV