Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What Jonathan Edwards Believed About Coming to Christ for Salvation

Jonathan Edwards believed and taught that men will be saved the moment that they believe. He exhorted his hearers to "believe and be saved."

He that covereth his sins will not prosper;
But whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
(Proverbs 28:13)

"God stands ready to forgive every sinner upon his hearty confessing and forsaking his sin."

I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and my iniquity have not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. (Psalm 32:5)

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts:
And let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him;
And to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isa. 55:7)

"If we truly come to God for mercy, the greatness of our sin will be no impediment to pardon."

For thy name's sake, O LORD, pardon my iniquity; for it is great. (Psalm 25:11)

In Edwards' sermon on Psa. 25:11, he shows the necessity of [sinners'] coming from a sense of their misery and as beggars; and they must come through Christ alone, acting upon his universal offer of the Gospel.

"If your souls be burdened and you are distressed for fear of hell, you need not bear that burden and distress any longer. If you are but willing you may freely come and unload yourselves and cast all your burdens on Christ and rest in Him ... If you can find it in your hearts to come to Christ, and close with Him, you will be accepted."

From Jonathan Edwards, Evangelist by John Gerstner. Soli Deo Gloria / Ligonier


Genesis Three said...

Good post. One point of clarification: Confession need happen only once.

In Luke 7:36-50, Jesus tells the woman she is forgiven even though it is not clear that she confessed her sin out loud. Her tears made a convincing demonstration of her need for God's love and redemption.

The change made by this love doesn't go away.

stranger.strange.land said...

Thank you, Genesis Three.

If I correctly understand your "point of clarification," I should mention that Edwards was by no means confident that the congregation of his church was entirely composed of born again Christians. The church that he "inherited" from his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, had a policy of receiving into membership and communion people, hoping that their hearing the preached word and participating in the Lord's Supper would be a means of bringing them to salvation.

Later on, Edwards, convinced that this was unbiblical, tried to change the policy, and that got him into big trouble with the congregation, and eventually, he was dismissed.


p.s. (BTW, I did read your post for today.)