Jonathan Edwards on the “glorious things of the gospel”

I’ve been reading a little booklet about the great scholar/pastor/university president Jonathan Edwards called “Resolutions of a Saintly Scholar.” I am struck with Edward’s utter passion to find his hope, joy, and delight in Christ and Christ alone.

He writes of how a “delightful conviction” of God’s absolute sovereignty broke upon his consciousness as he read 1 Timothy 1:17:

“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Edward’s describes how he read these words and a sense of the glory of the divine Being came upon him–and he determined to live all his days in this absorbing love of God.

As he reflects on the gospel, Edwards writes:

“The sweetest joys and delights I have experienced have not been those that have arisen from a hope of my own good estate; but in a direct view of the glorious things of the gospel. When I enjoy this sweetness, it seems to carry me above the thoughts of my own safe estate.”

I find Edward’s life challenging to me. Do I find the sweetest joy and delight in Christ and the glorious things of the gospel? Am I awed at the scandal of grace, the outrage of the cross, the marvel of God’s pursuit, the comedy of the Incarnation, the joy of salvation? Or do I seek joy and delight in entertainment, self-fulfillment, praise from others and the like? How would my life be different if I were truly captured with a holy sense of wonder at the glory of the divine Being? Edward’s life and words challenge me to consider: Do I, in my heart of hearts, believe that Jesus is worthy? May we learn from Edwards a holy passion to find all of our hope and joy in Christ and the things of the gospel–and cultivate a habit of keeping our eyes on the “glorious, pleasant object” of Christ. This is the only path that leads to life–may we not be fooled into seeking joys and delights in anything other than Jesus.

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