“The central principle in Edwards’ thought, true to his Calvinistic heritage, was the sovereignty of God.” – George Marsden, 2003.
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:1–5 (ESV)
Jonathan Edwards took to heart the instruction by the Apostle Paul to Timothy, his young protégé. By all accounts, throughout any given week Edwards preached the Word of God. He was faithful in rightly dividing the Word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15).
“Edwards’ sermons were marked by a riveting expository skill…wide thematic range, a wealth of evangelical thought, a pervasive awareness of eternal issues, and a compelling logical flow to make them arresting, searching, devastating, and Christ-centeredly doxological to the last degree,” writes Dr. J.I. Packer.
“His preaching style was commanding and by all accounts was almost hypnotic in its power to fix his hearers minds on divine things,” Packer further explains.
In preparing and preaching biblical, expository sermons week in and week out, Edwards became a staunch defender of the sovereignty of God in salvation. He became committed to Reformed Theology.
“No theologian in the history of Christianity held a higher or stronger view of God’s majesty, sovereignty, glory and power than Jonathan Edwards. He ardently defended the Puritan Calvinistic doctrines…declaring that God is the all-determining reality in the most unconditional sense possible and always acts of His own glory and honor,” church historian Roger Olson remarks,
Not only did Edwards preach the Word of God from the pulpit of Northampton, but also when he preached to Puritan ministers of Boston in July, 1731. Preaching from I Corinthians 1:29-31 he asserted God’s absolute sovereignty in salvation to the Harvard alumni in attendance.
“On July 8, 1731, Edwards preached in Boston the “Public Lecture” afterwards published under the title ‘God Glorified in the Work of Redemption, by the Greatness of Man’s Dependence upon Him.’ The emphasis of the lecture was on God’s absolute sovereignty in the work of salvation: that while it behooved God to create man pure and without sin, it was of his “good pleasure” and “mere and arbitrary grace” for him to grant any person the faith necessary to incline him or her toward holiness, and that God might deny this grace without any disparagement to any of his character,” a historian writes
Those in attendance were impressed with Edwards’ message. The sermon became the first of Edwards’ works to be published.
One of the benefits in studying the life and ministry of Jonathan Edwards is the breadth of written material he left for future generations. His books, resolutions, personal diaries along with his many sermons are available for reading, study and enjoyment today.
Many of these resources concerning Jonathan Edwards, and many other theologians and pastors, are available for free access online. One such online resource is monergism.com.
Monergism.com is a free, comprehensive online theological library comprised of Reformed Christian resources designed to bring glory to Jesus Christ alone. The resource’s managers explain that, “The directory consists of original and aggregated content from around the world emphasizing the good news that salvation is God’s free gift for guilty sinners, not a reward for the righteous.”
More to come on the life and ministry of Jonathan Edwards. Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!