Treatise on Grace by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)

September 2, 2009
Treatise on Grace by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
‘Tis common for us to speak of various graces of the Spirit of God as though they were so many different principles of holiness, and to call them by distinct names as such, —repentance, humility, resignation, thankfulness, etc. But we err if we imagine that these in their first source and root in the heart are properly distinct principles. They all come from the same fountain, and are, indeed, the various exertions and conditions of the same thing, only different denominations according to the various occasions, objects, and manners, attendants and circumstances of its exercise. There is some one holy principle in the heart that is the essence and sum of all grace, the root and source of all holy acts of every kind, and the fountain of every good stream, into which all Christian virtues may ultimately be resolved, and in which all duty and [all] holiness is fulfilled.” — from the introduction to Chapter 2
Read this classic at the CCEL
I have encountered many who use Jonathan Edwards sermon title “Sinners in the hands of an angry God” and it seems they never really listened to it. In fact the other day I was told by someone who seemed to think that they knew so much more than me, that repentance is a work. I stated it was not and to turn it into a “work” then means we earned Grace and forgiveness and thus forfeit God’s grace. All of these things (as Edwards states above) are by God’s grace: “repentance, humility, resignation, thankfulness, etc.”
I would rather be in error with Edwards than agree with my “friend” who claims grace then negates it with his Gospel of works. Now I will state one thing, I see no mention of “common grace” in the bible and see that really there is no such thing no matter how someone tries to make it so. Grace is the substance that holds all things together in all creation. Grace is God’s very emotion that is expressed in the Person of Jesus Christ. To state that there is some lesser Grace in my view diminishes all Grace. If you state God has come special grace for some and a lesser grace for others, then… that is favoritism. God gave grace in the very fact he held off judgment until Christ Jesus was revealed. Now, Grace is given to all and by this Grace anyone can be saved through faith. If this is rejected, meaning Jesus who is Grace unto Grace… or very Grace Incarnate then there is no more Grace to be had only judgment. I praise God for His great Grace every day. It was not cheap and cannot be cheapened. It was paid for by the very blood of Jesus on the Cross… If there be cheap Grace then it is from those who mouth “grace” and then steal it away by works.
The point I love from Jonathan Edwards is his focus on this great and wonderful Grace and I view the common/special grace but a minor disagreement. I pray that those who misuse Jonathan Edwards words would someday read his words and find God’s Grace for themselves.

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