“And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. 9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.” (Isaiah 35:8-9 (ESV)
As previously mentioned throughout this series on Jonathan Edwards, there remains a vast wealth and breadth of Edwards’ books and sermons for the edification of the believer in Christ. On such work by Edwards is a sermon entitled The Way of Holiness. It is based on Isaiah 35:8.
The phrase Way of Holiness in the Hebrew language refers to the believer’s journey and manner of conduct characterized by a separateness and apartness from sin and a sacredness unto God. As a believer in Christ, it is to be an object or person who is dedicated and consecrated unto serving God by a life of moral and inner purity.
What follows is an excerpt from Edwards’ sermon. The complete text, and many other of Edwards’ works, may be accessed at monergism.com.
“In the words observe the holy nature of this way described: first, by the name by which it is called, “the way of holiness”; “and it shall be called the way of holiness.” Secondly, the holiness of those that travel in it, and its purity from those that are unclean, or unholy; “the unclean shall not pass over it.” No wicked person shall ever travel in this way of holiness.”
“To the same purpose is the next verse, “No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up there on, it shall not be found there.” That is, none of the wicked men of this world, which are like lions or ravenous beasts more than like men: in their eager raging and lustful appetites and evil affections, or by their insatiable covetousness, are like hungry wolves, are violently set upon the world and will have it, whether by right or by wrong.”
“Or make themselves like ravenous beasts by their proud, invidious, malicious dispositions, which is directly contrary to a Christian spirit and temper. They are more like wild beasts than Christians, that are wrongful and injurious, are all for themselves and the satisfying their own appetites, and care nothing for the welfare of others, their fellowmen that are of the same blood, make a god of their bellies, and therein resemble tigers and wolves.”
“Now,” says the Prophet, “none such shall go upon this highway to Zion; such unclean and ravenous beasts shall not be found there. No, but the redeemed shall walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion.” This way is a way of holiness and not to be defiled by wicked persons.
“That in Rev. 21:27 will serve well for an explication of these words: “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defiles, neither whatsoever works abomination nor makes a lie, but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
Consider today whether you are on the way of holiness by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone.
Soli deo Gloria!