Thursday, December 15, 2011

Don't Assume Saving Feelings

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! (Psalm 34:8a)
 In his book Religious Affections, Jonathan Edwards says this about the natural man having a perception of God's greatness yet not submitting to God for salvation:

"Natural" people can have some perception of God's greatness, power, and awesome majesty, and this tends to convince them that the Bible is the Word of a great and terrible God.  They may even have a sense of the great guilt that sin against this God brings, and the dreadfulness of His wrath.  Because of their guilt and fear, they then tend to believe more readily what the Bible says about the world to come.  But this sense of fear and guilt is not enough for a truly spiritual conviction, for these people have no sense of the beauty and sweetness of God's holiness.  And yet this fear and guilt are sometimes mistaken for a saving conviction, and the emotions that result are assumed to be a saving feeling of the heart.

Edwards is not taking away from the fear of the Lord but salvation is not all about dread.  God's wrath is against all of us yet for those who are is chosen children through the finished work of Christ we now have been given a new heart that cherishes God.  The wrath we deserve has been poured out on Christ so we in return will have hearts that are overflowing in worship for our Savior.  The "natural" religious man knows nothing of this part of the relationship.  The reason?  Because he truly does not have a relationship with God.  To the "natural" man God is an angry grandfather who lacks compassion; but for his children he is a loving Father who has graciously sent his Son to die in our place in order to bring reconciliation.  

We also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:11)

Grace upon grace,

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