“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 35:8-9.
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.
“What is holiness? I shall answer to this question in three things which fully comprehend the nature of holiness, which are not in themselves distinct as so many parts of holiness, but the same thing in three different lights, to give us the fuller understanding of it. First, holiness is a conformity of the heart and the life unto God.”
Second, it is a conformity to Jesus Christ. Christ Jesus is perfectly conformed unto God, for he is God. He is his express image. Now Christ is nearer to us in some respects than God the Father, for he is our Mediator and is more immediately conversant with us; John 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” Jesus Christ, he has been with us in the flesh and as one of us he appeared in the form of a servant, and we have seen his holiness brightly shining forth in all his actions. We have seen his holy life; we have a copy drawn, and an example set for us.”
“Now holiness is a conformity unto this copy: he that copies after Jesus Christ, after that copy which he has set us and which is delivered to us by the evangelists, is holy. He that diligently observes the life of Christ in the New Testament need not be at a loss to know what holiness is. Christ commands us to follow his example: Matt. 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
“Have you ever read the four Gospels, and did you not observe in the life of Christ wonderful instances of humility, love to God, love to religion; wonderful instances of zeal for God’s glory, steadfastness in resisting temptations, entire trust and reliance on God, strict adherence to all his commands; astonishing instances of condescension, humility, meekness, lowliness, love to men, love to his enemies, charity and patience? Why, this is holiness. When we imitate Christ in these things, then are we holy, and not till then.”
Soli deo Gloria!