Edwards: Salvation and the Trinity

“Not only is each person of the trinity concerned [in our redemption], but each person has his distinct part and as it were, sustains a distinct character and charge in that affair…. All the difference between the Father and the other persons as to this matter is that the other two act as under another in what they do. But the Father acts as first and head of all. But yet each one may be said in some sort to susiain a distinct office. Each one has a distinct part to act, [and] stands in a distinct place and capacity and sustains a distinct character in the affair of man’s redemption, and has a distinct care and work that more especially belongs to him rather than to either of the other persons.”

-Jonathan Edwards, Sermons and Discourses, 1743-1758. As recorded by Owen Strachan, Always in God’s Hands: Day by Day in the Company of Jonathan Edwards, 253.

Edwards: God’s Knowledge

“[God] knows everything past, [even] things a thousand years ago. [He] also [knows] everything to come [even] a thousand years to come. [He knows] all the men that will be, [and] all that
they will do, say, or think. This is more than all the rest: he perfectly knows himself. God is so
great that we can’t know but little of him.”

-Jonathan Edwards, Sermons and Discourses, 1743-1758.

Edwards: God’s End in Creating the World

God’s end in the creation of the world consists in these two things, viz. to communicate himself and to glorify bimself. God created the world to communicate himself, not to receive anything. But such was the infinite goodness of God that it was his will to communicate himself, to communicate of his own glory and happiness; and he made the world to glorify himself, [as it is] fit that God should glorify himself. These two things ought [not] to be separated when we speak of God’s end in the creation of the world, as the assembly of divines in speaking of the chief end for which man was created have judiciously united glorifying and enjoying {God}.

-Jonathan Edwards, Sermons and Discourses, 1743-1758. As recorded in Owen Strachan, “Always in God’s Hands: Day by Day in the Company of Jonathan Edwards,” 254.

Edwards: Drawn to Christ

“Drawing men to Christ is the fruit of his being lifted up on the cross. Christ buys or redeems men that they may be his. He redeems ‘em from their sins, from all iniquity, that he may purify them to himself, a peculiar people zealous of good works. They are redeemed from their vain conversation by the precious blood of Christ. And ‘tis by conversion, by faith, that men become actually his, come to him, and are brought into his possession. God, in giving them faith, brings them to him and gives ’em to him, and they give themselves to him. He purchases his spouse that he may present her to himself.”

-Jonathan Edwards, Miscellanies. As recorded in Owen Strachan, “Always in God’s Hands: Day by Day in the Company of Jonathan Edwards,” 211.

Edwards: Pride

“Nothing is more hateful and abominable, nothing so contrary to the spirit of the gospel. [Pride is] the sin of the devils. Nothing is so pernicious in its consequences. The Spirit is very often quenched by it.

‘Tis frequently the means of persons’ losing the comfortable presence of God. In some that have been exalted high, the consequences have been most woeful. The devil commonly comes in at the door in all the delusions that zealous persons are led away with.

…Therefore strive that you may be kept humble. Persons are never so safe as when kept truly humble and dependent, [as] little children. [And they are] never so much in danger as when spiritual pride rules.”

-Jonathan Edwards, Sermons and Discourses, 1739-1742. As recorded in Owen Strachan, “Always in God’s Hands: Day by Day in the Company of Jonathan Edwards,” 202.

Edwards: Your Wickedness

“Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell; and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf, and your healthy constitution, and your own care and prudence,and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell, than a spider’s web would have to stop a falling rock.

Were it not that so is the sovereign pleasure of God, the earth would not bear you one moment; for you are a burden to it; the creation groans with you; the creature is made subject to the bondage of your corruption, not willingly; the sun don’t willingly shine upon you to give you light to serve sin and Satan; the earth don’t willingly yield her increase to satisfy your lusts; nor is it willingly a stage for your wickedness to be acted upon; the air don’t willingly serve you for breath to maintain the flame of life in your vitals, while you spend your life in the service of God’s enemies. God’s creatures are good, and were made for men to serve God with, and don’t willingly subserve to any other purpose, and groan when they are abused to purposes so directly contrary to their nature and end. And the world would spew you out, were it not for the sovereign hand of him who hath subjected it in hope.”

-Jonathan Edwards, from Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. As recorded in Owen Strachan, “Always in God’s Hands: Day by Day in the Company of Jonathan Edwards,” 199.

Edwards: Consider the Fearful Danger

“O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: ‘tis a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you as against many of the damned in bell; you hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any mediator, and nothing to lay bold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment.”

-Jonathan Edwards, Sermons and Discourses, 1739-1742. As recorded in Owen Strachan, “Always in God’s Hands: Day by Day in the Company of Jonathan Edwards,” 197.

Edwards: Follow Christ

We should travel on as a way of obedience to all God’s commands, even the difficult, as well as the easy, commands. We should travel on in a way of self-denial, denying all our sinful inclinations and interests. The way to heaven is ascending; we must be content to travel up hill, though it be hard, and tiresome, and contrary to the natural tendency and bias of our flesh, that tends downward to the earth. We should follow Christ in the path that he has gone; the way that be traveled in was the right way to beaven. We should take up our cross and follow him. We should travel along in the same way of meekness and lowliness of heart, in the same way of obedience, and charity, and diligence to do good, and patience under afflictions.

-Jonathan Edwards, Sermons and Discourses, 1730-1733. As recorded in Owen Strachan, “Always in God’s Hands: Day by Day in the Company of Jonathan Edwards,” 180.

Edwards: Obedience

“We should travel on as a way of obedience to all God’s commands, even the difficult, as well as the easy, commands. We should travel on in a way of self-denial, denying all our sinful inclinations and interests. The way to heaven is ascending; we must be content to travel up hill, though it be hard, and tiresome, and contrary to the natural tendency and bias of our flesh, that tends downward to the earth. We should follow Christ in the path that he has gone; the way that he traveled in was the right way to heaven. We should take up our cross and follow him. We should travel along in the same way of meekness and lowliness of heart, in the same way of obedience, and charity, and diligence to do good, and patience under afflictions.”

-Jonathan Edwards, Sermon: The True Christian’s Life, A Journey Towards Heaven (Hebrews 11:13-14.

Edwards and Strachan: Love Our Enemies

“Christ denied himself to help us, though we are not able to recompense him; so we should be willing to lay out ourselves to help our neighbor freely, expecting nothing again. Christ loved us, and was kind to us and was willing to relieve us, though we were very hateful persons, of an evil disposition, not deserving any good, but deserving only to be hated, and treated with indignation; so we should be willing to be kind to those that are an ill sort of person, of a hateful disposition, and that are very undeserving. Christ loved us, and laid himself out to relieve us, though we were his enemies, hated him, had an ill spirit towards him, had treated him ill; so, as we would love Christ as he hath loved us, should {we love those who are our enemies, hate us, have an ill spirit toward us, and have treated us ill}.”

-Jonathan Edwards, Sermons and Discourses, 1730-1733.

“It isn’t hard to say that we’re Christians. If we keep the definition vague, the shoe seems to fit. We go to church, do what we’re supposed to do at work, and write a check once in a while to a worthy cause. With this low threshold, the faith doesn’t seem all that challenging; it fits comfortably into a typical American lifestyle, and we experience little discomfort.

But when we dig into the priorities of true Christianity, that laxness seems woefully deficient. The standard of Christ is not simply to love people who love us back, or to love humanity in a general sense. The standard of Christ is to love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). Such teachings present us with a major challenge. It’s no easy thing to love someone who acts hatefully toward us. Our every instinct runs away from love in such situations.

Christianity brings about a quiet revolution in the human heart. One of its chief effects is to awaken a full range of compassion and kindness to the people we encounter. Faith grabs hold of the truly repentant, and upends us, making friends of those who once were enemies. “Christ loved us” when we “hated him.”

Now, God gives us the strength, the otherworldly ability, to emulate our Savior and love those who despise us. Few practices are more challenging—or more revealing of the authenticity of our faith.”

‘If while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.’ (Romans 5:10)

-Owen Strachan, Always in God’s Hands, Day by Day in the Company of Jonathan Edwards, 167.