“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.
“Those that have not this holiness are not in the way to heaven. Those that are not thus conformed to God, to Christ, and God’s commands, are not in the way to heaven and happiness; they are not traveling that road; the road they are in will never bring them there. Whatever hopes and expectations they may have, they will never reach heaven to eternity except they alter their course, turn about, and steer [towards] another point; for the way is a way of holiness, and the unclean shall not pass over it.”
“Christ said that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into heaven, but yet he left it absolutely possible with God that it might be; but he said positively and without exception that except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. None but those that are holy are in the way to heaven, whatever profession they may make, whatever church they may be in: for in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availed anything nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.”
“Whatever external acts of religion they may perform, however they may be constant attendants on the public or family worship, and live outwardly moral lives; yea, what is more, if they speak with the tongues of men and angels, though they could prophesy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though they have faith that they can remove mountains; though they bestow all their goods to feed the poor, and though they give their very bodies to be burnt: yet if they have not charity or holiness which is the same thing, for by charity is intended love to God as well as man though they have and do all those things, yet they are nothing; they are as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal (see I Cor. 13). It is good that we should be thoroughly convinced of the most absolute and indispensable necessity of a real, spiritual, active and vital yea, immortal holiness.”
Soli deo Gloria!