Edwards’ Resolutions – Preamble

Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013 in Resolutions

The following is the preamble to “The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards”:

downloadBeing sensible that I am unable to do any thing 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. Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

There are no wasted words from the pen of the nineteen year old Edwards, who would “grow up” to become one of America’s most well-known preachers, theologians, and philosophers. He penned the first 34 of his resolutions in two sittings and the remaining 36 of the course of a year. We will consider these resolutions by way of daily devotion, beginning with these introductory words.

Notice Edwards’ clear understanding of himself. The truth that apart from God he was nothing and could do nothing resonated deeply in Edwards’ soul. We hear a hint of Paul’s warning in Romans 12:3 “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment.” This is the way we should begin each day – agreeing with God that we are unable and incapable of doing anything without God’s help. Our very breath is ordained by Him so that we can’t even rise from the bed in a day apart from His enablement. Our planet is such that we could not even stand on solid ground apart from God’s power in gravity. So we are reminded to begin each day remembering our utmost dependence upon God for all things pertaining to our existence.

Armed with this truth Edwards not only entreats God for provision, but for His provision, for Christ’s sake. We will see tomorrow that this does not mean that we don’t pray for our “own good, profit, and pleasure” but that we do so only according to the will of God and for the glory of God and the sake of the Son. We are also reminded that this enabling grace comes from the Holy Spirit at work in us, “both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). This is a mark of true sanctification in the life of the believer – our desires and affections are to be His desires and affections, Our passion is to do His will, not our own, unless our will is His will. This was in fact the theme of much of Edwards’ voluminous works – that he (and we) would have a God entranced vision of all things.

So our day should begin in pleading with God that our desires and our affections would be agreeable to His will for us. We must pray for His wisdom to accomplish His goal for us in His power – all that His glorious Son and our great Savior might be magnified!

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