Tuesday, August 2, 2022

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

I just ordered this book. 

I cannot wait to read it. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once wrote this about Edwards:

I am tempted to compare the Puritans to the Alps, Luther and Calvin to the Himalayas, and Jonathan Edwards to Mt. Everest.

But why should he say that?

At the age of 18, Edwards found himself pastoring in New York City. Even at that young age, he was deeply concerned that he would live a life that was completely surrendered to God, and that he would pursue holiness with every ounce of energy he had. So he sat down and wrote what would eventually be known as his "resolutions." There would be 70 of them, headed by this preamble:

Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God's help, I do humbly entreat him, by his grace, to enable me to keep these resolutions so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ's sake.

I have read these resolutions. As I look at them, I am often appalled by my own lack of surrender to God. Yet in a paradoxical way that only serves to increase my confidence in God's sanctifying purpose in my life. By God's standards, we all fall short. Even when the Bible warns us against it, we "copy the behavior and customs of this world" (Rom. 12:2). But God says, "You must be holy, because I am holy." On our own, that's impossible. But, as Edwards discovered, we're not struggling on our own. God is still at work in us to give us both the desire and the ability to do what pleases him.

In this and a few subsequent blog posts, I am going to mention some of these resolutions of Edwards -- without commenting on them. I pray that God will use them in your life, as he has in mine, to lovingly guide you along the route he deems best for you. You are not Jonathan Edwards. You are you. You're a unique creation of God's whom he will enable to live out your faith in very everyday, ordinary ways -- and trust him, like Edwards, in very extraordinary ways.

Here's Resolution #1:

Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God's glory, and my own good, profit, and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved, to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.