Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Excellency of Christ - Post #3

This is the third post on the sermon called The Excellency of Christ as found in Altogether Lovely (Jonathan, Edwards. Altogether Lovely Jonathan Edwards on the glory and excellency of Jesus Christ. Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1997). You can read #1 here, and #2 here.

This post, again - the third, concerns itself with Edwards' third premise which is as follows:
III. Such diverse excellencies are expressed in him towards men, that otherwise would have seemed impossible to be exercised towards the same object; as particularly these three, justice, mercy, and truth.
To justice, mercy, and truth, Edwards writes "The strict justice of God, and even his revenging justice, and that against the sins of men, never was so gloriously manifested as in Christ. He manifested an infinite regard to the attribute of God’s justice, in that, when he had a mind to save sinners, he was willing to undergo such extreme sufferings, rather than that their salvation should be to the injury of the honour of that attribute" (28).

Under the main point above (III), Edwards preaches five sub-points which he introduces with this: "Having thus shown wherein there is an admirable conjunction of excellencies in Jesus Christ, I now proceed, second, to show how this admirable conjunction of excellencies appears in Christ’s acts"(29). And these acts, as mentioned, are five-fold.
  1. It appears in what Christ did in taking on him our nature.
  2. This admirable conjunction of excellencies appears in the acts and various passages of Christ’s life.
  3. This admirable conjunction of excellencies remarkably appears in his offering up himself a sacrifice for sinners in his last sufferings.
  4. It is still manifest in his acts, in his present state of exaltation in heaven.
  5. And lastly, this admirable conjunction of excellencies will be manifest in Christ’s acts at the last judgment.
It should come as no surprise that Edwards spent the majority of his time on the third point. Christ's atoning work would naturally lend itself to much preaching and would carry the weight of his argument. Thus, Edwards placed seven points expounding how the conjunction of excellencies appears in Christ's sacrifice for sinners. Consider:
  1. Then was Christ in the greatest degree of his humiliation, and yet by that, above all other things, his divine glory appears.
  2. He never in any act gave so great a manifestation of love to God, and yet never so manifested his love to those that were enemies to God, as in that act. Christ never did any thing whereby his love to the Father was so eminently manifested, as in his laying down his life, under such inexpressible sufferings, in obedience to his command, and for the vindication of the honour of his authority and majesty; nor did ever any mere creature give such a testimony of love to God as that was. And yet this was the greatest expression of his love to sinful men who were enemies to God; Rom. v. 10.
  3. Christ never so eminently appeared for divine justice, and yet never suffered so much from divine justice, as when he offered up himself a sacrifice for our sins.
  4. Christ’s holiness never so illustriously shone forth as it did in his last sufferings; and yet he never was to such a degree treated as guilty.
  5. He never was so dealt with, as unworthy, as in his last sufferings; and yet it is chiefly on account of them that he is accounted worthy.
  6. Christ in his last sufferings suffered most extremely from those towards whom he was then manifesting his greatest act of love.
  7. It was in Christ’s last sufferings, above all, that he was delivered up to the power of his enemies; and yet by these, above all, he obtained victory over his enemies.

My fourth post, and hopefully last, will consider Edwards' application to this sermon.

1 comment:

  1. I'm really looking forward to the application! I am more into Owen than Edwards, but I see the same vision of Christ in them both. They seem equally astute in mining into the truths of the beauty and glory of Christ. Very good posts on these Edwards sermons. Thanks Jude!