Genuine Christianity

My wife is currently reading A God Entranced Vision of All Things: The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards, a collection of essays edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor. As I was doing some homework yesterday, Rachel came in to share with me something she had read. What she read to me was from J. I. Packer’s essay, “The Glory of God and the Reviving of Religion: A Study in the Mind of Jonathan Edwards.” As she read a portion of the article to me, I was blown away by Edwards’ assessment of the Christian life. Thus, I shall now share with you the quote Rachel read to me from Packer concerning Edwards’ view of religion. 

“What Edwards, standing in the Reformational mainstream, meant by religion is very clear. It is the life of regeneration, repentance, and assured faith and hope in Christ, based on knowing oneself to be a justified and adopted child of God whom the triune Lord has loved from eternity, whom the Son has redeemed by dying on the cross, and whom the Holy Spirit, the divine change agent, now indwells. It is the life of loving both the written Word of the Lord and the living Lord of the Word. It is a life of rigorous self-watch and self-discipline, for the deforming, distracting, desensitizing, demonic power of sin in one’s spiritual system must be detected and resisted. It is a life of reckoning with our temperamental limitations, whatever mixture of sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic we find we are, and seeking to transcend those shortcomings. It is a life of prayer–praise and petition; complaint and confession; meditation and celebration. And with that it is a quest for full Christlikeness of character and action, inasmuch as Christ ‘exhibited to the world such an illustrious pattern of humility, divine love, discreet zeal, self-denial, obedience, patience, resignation, fortitude, meekness, forgiveness, compassion, benevolence, and universal holiness, as neither men nor angels ever saw before.’ Finally, religion honors God by goodwill and integrity in all relationships and by enterprise in seizing such opportunities for “good works” of benevolence and help as present themselves” (96).

May this quotation not be something that causes us to idolize Jonathan Edwards for the life he sought to live, but something that encourages us to go hard after God by loving Jesus Christ with all of our might and hating our sin that hinders us from doing so. 

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2 Responses to “Genuine Christianity”

  1. brsquared Says:

    Jonathan Edwards…..what a light-weight.

    Enjoyed the quote. May the Lord make us see things as clearly as Edwards did; for the sake of the kingdom and the sake of our souls.

  2. John Pistorius Says:

    Excellent quote. Edwards describes the believer’s walk. It begins upon receipt of God’s grace, continues by God’s grace and leads the believer to walk empowered by the Holy Spirit, in holiness. This action-oriented process is not of ourselves, lest we should boast, but is only possible by our surrender and submission. Surrender is necessary in the battle for our soul, for our selfish will must be vanquished if we are to love God with all of our self and to love others. Submission of self to God’s will frees us to walk in His grace continually.

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