“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.
“We shall now, in the third place, give the reasons why none that are not holy can be in the way to heaven, and why those who never are so can never obtain the happiness thereof.”
“First, it is contrary to God’s justice, to make a wicked man eternally happy. God is a God of infinite justice, and his justice (to speak after the manner of men) “obliges” him to punish sin eternally; sin must be punished, the sins of all men must be punished. If the sinner retains his sin, and it is not washed off by the blood of Christ, and he purified and sanctified and made holy, it must be punished upon him. If he is sanctified, his sin has been already punished in the passion of Christ, but if not, it still remains to be punished in his eternal ruin and misery; for God has said that he is a holy and jealous God, and will by no means clear the guilty. It is reckoned amongst the rest of God’s attributes which he proclaims in Ex. 34:7 and Num. 14 18.”
Second, it is impossible by reason of God’s holiness, that anything should be united to God and brought to the enjoyment of him which is not holy. Now is it possible that a God of infinite holiness, that is perfect and hates sin with perfect hatred that is infinitely lovely and excellent, should embrace in his arms a filthy, abominable creature, a hideous, detestable monster, more hateful than a toad and more poisonous than a viper? But so hateful, base, and abominable is every unsanctified man, even the best hypocrite and most painted sepulchers of them all.”
“How impossible is it that this should be, that such loathsome beings, the picture of the devil, should be united to God: should be a member of Christ, a child of God, be made happy in the enjoyment of his love and the smiles of his countenance, and should be in God and God in them? It is therefore as impossible for an unholy thing to be admitted unto the happiness of heaven as it is for God not to be, or be turned to nothing. For it is as impossible that God should love sin as it is for him to cease to be, and it is as impossible for him to love a wicked man that has not his sin purified, and it is as impossible for him to enjoy the happiness of heaven except God love him, for the happiness of heaven consists in the enjoyment of God’s love.”
Soli deo Gloria!
The His Word Today Weekly Podcast begins Monday, September 5 featuring expository messages from the Epistle to the Ephesians.