Before embarking on his journey to pursue holiness through seventy written goal statements, Edwards determined to set his course right at the outset.
Being 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.
Dr. Lawson, in his commentary on Edwards’ pursuit of holiness, “The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards,” summarizes the Preamble, dividing it into 5 themes.
- Personal Inability
- Divine Enablement
- Humble Submission
- Purest Motive
- Regular Review
Today, I want to focus in on Humble Submission.
Honestly, God amazes me in how He orchestrates my study decisions. I started out a month or so ago reading Mahaney’s book on humility. He suggested further study (and practical application) of humility through the study of the incommunicable attributes of God. That suggestion led me to A.W. Pink. I chose to start with God’s sovereignty (as you might have ascertained based on the themes of many posts over the last month. I am still striving to understand God more, particularly as His sovereignty is portrayed throughout the events of Scripture.) In addition to my study on God’s sovereignty, I picked up Dr. Lawson’s book on Edwards. (I recalled the many times I’ve heard godly teachers encourage me to rehearse God’s grace through reading good biographies on the lives of the great heroes of the faith.) Incidentally, Edwards was a man whose life was centered around the sovereignty of God. (This is my story in a nutshell – how I started in personal humility and ended up in the pursuit of holiness, lived out in the Resolutions of one man, Jonathan Edwards.)
Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
The Resolutions, not only for Edwards, but also for me, today, should not be an attempt to gain holiness without the Spirit’s work or for my own personal, God-less desires. Dr. Lawson writes of Edwards, “…the ‘Resolutions’ must be a humble attempt to submit himself to the will of God in all things, for God’s will rules. God had charted a course for his life, one that was ‘good and acceptable and perfect’ (Rom. 12:2), and he must submit to that divine plan in and through his ‘Resolutions.'”
In addition to my study of the sovereignty of God and Edwards and his Resolutions, I have also picked up a reading plan I followed earlier in the year. The plan (Prof. Horner’s Bible-Reading System – download) sets up 10 chapters throughout the Bible to read each day. The benefit of this system is that it gives the reader an opportunity to see God’s hand in the big picture. Today was a great example of seeing God for who He really is. He is like the flawless diamond in that there are so many facets (characteristics/attributes), each with a different colored beam of light. Today (Day 51) had me reading the following chapters of the Bible:
- Ecclesiastes 9 – God is sovereign; God is the source of wisdom.
- Psalm 51 – God afflicts, forgives, and restores sinners. (D.I. & N.I. wrote an awesome song speaking of blessing the name of the Lord, even through the tough times, the valleys. God is faithful to afflict AND faithful to forgive.)
- Proverbs 20 – God is righteous, hating sin; God is creator; God is Savior; God is sovereign and “ordains the steps of man”.
- 1 Samuel 2 – God is the provider of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17); God is our salvation; God is holy; God has the power to “kill and make alive”; God is creator; God is strong; God is the Protector of His chosen ones; God is Judge; God is worthy of honor and praise.
- Isaiah 51 – God is the Comforter; God is our salvation; God is righteous; God is strong; God is powerful; God performs mighty works, miracles in our eyes; God is our Maker; God is LORD; God is full of wrath against sin.
These are just a few of the observations that can be gleaned from the passages above. I am in awe. How can I stand before such an awesome and holy God? Were it not for His Son, Christ Jesus….
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8:3-4