Edwards’ Resolution #8

Posted: Monday, November 25, 2013 in Resolutions

download8. Resolved, To act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings, as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God. 

This one is easy to comment on but difficult to sustain in life – “But for the grace of God, there go I.” This digs to the heart and at the heart of human depravity. We might not want to hear it, but we are capable of anything, and, apart from God’s restraining sustaining grace, would commit even the most heinous acts – and like it. The apostle Paul called himself “chief of sinners” near the end of his ministry. The closer his walk with God, the more holy a man he was, the more vile he saw himself against the backdrop of the holiness of God.

Edward’s does not suggest that we need to excuse the sins of others. Nor does he mean we should coddle or accept them. What he does say is that when we see sin in others, the immediate effect on us should be to confess our own sin, whether it be like theirs or not, and then praise Him for forgiveness and live as if we are forgiven. We should also be thankful, if our sin is not as heinous, that He protects us – from others and from our own flesh – as we walk in the power of the Spirit.

This is what Jesus meant in the Sermon on the Mount — “Judge not, that you be not judged. [2] For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. [3] Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? [4] Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? [5]You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:1-5 ESV). This is often applied, “You shouldn’t judge others.” However, that is not what Jesus said, He said, “Until you are confessed up, after you have rightly examined yourself, THEN approach a brother.” Verse 5 clearly indicates this. We should seek to remove our brother’s speck once we have seen ourselves in the light of God’s grace.

So, this resolution reflects Jesus’ command in the Sermon on the Mount. It sets the heart right before God so that we can go in righteousness to a brother in sin while recognizing our own propensity to sin and need for forgiveness. “But for the grace of God, there go I.”

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