Sunday, June 04, 2006

Edwards on the Church's Enjoyment of God

I spent Saturday afternoon reading Jonathan Edwards' sermon, "The Excellency of Christ." If you've never read it, I highly recommend it. You're in for a wonderful blessing! After meditating at length on "the admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies in Jesus Christ", Edwards ends the sermon contemplating the future of the Church. Here's the destiny of the pure Church:

"By your being united to Christ, you will have a more glorious union with and enjoyment of God the Father, than otherwise could be. For hereby the saints' relation to God becomes much nearer: they are the children of God in a higher manner than otherwise could be. For, being members of God's own Son, they are in a sort partakers of his relation to the Father. They are not only sons of God by regeneration, but by a kind of communion in the sonship of the eternal Son. This seems to be intended, Gal. 4:4-6, 'God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that are under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.' The church is the daughter of God, not only as he has begotten her by his Word and Spirit, but as she is the spouse of his eternal Son.

"So we being members of the Son, are partakers in our measure of the Father's love to the Son, and complacence in him. John 17:23, 'I in them, and thou in me,-- Thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me.' And verse 26, 'That the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them.' And chap. 16:27, 'The Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.' So we shall, according to our capacities, be partakers of the Son's enjoyment of God, and have his joy fulfilled in ourselves, John 17:13. And by this means we shall come to an immensely higher, more intimate and full enjoyment of God, than otherwise could have been. For there is doubtless an infinite intimacy between the Father and the Son which is expressed by his being in the bosom of the Father. And saints being in him, shall, in their measure and manner, partake with him in it, and of the blessedness of it.

"And thus is the affair of our redemption ordered, that thereby we are brought to an immensely more exalted kind of union with God, and enjoyment of him, both the Father and the Son, than otherwise could have been. For Christ being united to the human nature, we have advantage for a more free and full enjoyment of him, than we could have had if he had remained only in the divine nature. So again, we being united to a divine person, as his members, can have a more intimate union and intercourse with God the Father, who is only in the divine nature, than otherwise could be. Christ, who is a divine person, by taking on him our nature, descends from the infinite distance and height above us, and is brought nigh to us, whereby we have advantage for the full enjoyment of him. And, on the other hand, we, by being in Christ a divine person, do as it were ascend up to God, through the infinite distance, and have hereby advantage for the full enjoyment of him also.

"This was the design of Christ, that he and his Father, and his people, might all be united in one. John 17:21-23, "That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou has given me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one." Christ has brought it to pass, that those whom the Father has given him should be brought into the household of God, that he, his Father, and his people should be as one society, one family, [and] that the church should be as it were admitted into the society of the blessed Trinity."

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