Thursday, February 4, 2010

Altogether Lovely - God The Best Portion Of The Christian

The second part of the sermon "God The Best Portion Of The Christian", as found in the 9 sermon anthology of Jonathan Edwards entitled Altogether Lovely, is concerned with the application to earlier points which I have blogged about here and here.

Edwards divides this application into 2 points, the second point having 5 sub-points. Consider these points and, as you do, appreciate this great mind's ability to artfully articulate theological truths.

First, hence we may learn, that whatever changes a godly man passes through, he is happy; because God, who is unchangeable, is his chosen portion.
" Whereas now, those earthly enjoyments, on which men chiefly set their hearts, are often most fading. But how great is the happiness of those who have chosen the Fountain of all good, who prefer him before all things in heaven or on earth, and who can never be deprived of him to all eternity!"

Second, let all by these things examine and try themselves, whether they be saints or not.
"He that chooses God for his portion, and prefers him to all other things, is a godly man, for he chooses and worships him as God. To respect him as God, is to respect him above all other things. And if any man respect Him as his God, his God he is...If you would know what a man is, whether he be a godly man or not, you must inquire what his God is."

Under this second point, Edwards offers several ways to examine yourself; "Inquire, therefore, how it is with you, — whether you prefer God before all other things. It may sometimes be a difficulty for persons to determine this to their satisfaction. The ungodly may be deluded with false affections; the godly in dull frames may be at a loss about it. Therefore you may try yourselves, as to this matter, several ways; if you cannot speak fully to one thing, yet you may perhaps to others."
  1. What is it which chiefly makes you desire to go to heaven when you die? "If it be not so with you, but you find that you have a desire after heaven, then inquire what it is for. Is the main reason, that you may be with God, have communion with him, and be conformed to him? that you may see God, and enjoy him there? Is this the consideration which keeps your hearts, and your desires, and your expectations towards heaven?"
  2. If you could avoid death, and might have your free choice, would you choose to live always in this world, without God, rather than in his time to leave the world, in order to be with him?
  3. Do you prefer Christ to all others as the way to heaven? "He who truly chooses God, prefers him in each person of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: the Father, as his Father; the Son as his Savior; the Holy Ghost, as his Sanctifier. Inquire, therefore, not only whether you choose the enjoyment of God in heaven as your highest portion and happiness, but also whether you choose Jesus Christ before all others, as your way to heaven. And that in a sense of the excellency of Christ, and of the way of salvation by him, as being that which is to the glory of Christ, and of sovereign grace. Is the way of free grace, by the blood and righteousness of the blessed and glorious Redeemer, the most excellent way to life in your esteem? Doth it add a value to the heavenly inheritance, that it is conferred in this way? Is this far better to you than to be saved by your own righteousness, by any of your own performances, or by any other mediator?"
  4. If you might go to heaven in what course you please, would you prefer to all others the way of a strict walk with God? "They who prefer God as hath been represented, choose him, not only in the end, but in the way."
  5. Were you to spend your eternity in this world, would you choose rather to live in mean and low circumstances with the gracious presence of God, than to live for ever in earthly prosperity without him?

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I knew something good was coming after I had read the quote on the 'twitter update'. Edwards gets into the heart of the matter, what do we really want God for? It would be interesting and enlightening to hear the responses to these questions from people in church. Would they really see anything wrong with the way they answer, if answered honestly? I could feel my seat squirming under me a little as I read. Honestly, it was the seat. I kept thinking that there are times I am wanting God more just to avoid hell. Convicting, and a sweet reminder. Thanks for sharing.