Jonathan Edwards and Resolutions (63): Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy
63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true luster, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time. Jan. 14 and July 3, 1723.
Before I give comments on the 63rd resolution, one central thing needs to be at the forefront of our minds— a believer's everlasting union with Christ. It is Christ alone who provides our reconciliation to God. It is Christ alone who left our sins behind in the empty tomb. And it is Christ alone who freed us from the bondage of sin so that we might grow in holiness. Edwards knew this and today's resolution should be seen as the outworking of a believer's union with Christ Jesus.
Now Edwards' chief concern as we've seen on this long journey was applied theology. And it is here we should learn from Edwards. We should sit at the feet of this dead saint and pay attention. Christians and churches today are plagued by dead, cold orthodoxy. In my opinion, this is way more dangerous than liberalism. Many of our churches may subscribe to the great confessions informed by Scripture and born in adversity such as the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith or the Westminster Confession of Faith. But how our orthodoxy moves from our heads to our hearts and hands matters.
Edwards as evidenced in today's resolution (and in all his resolutions, really) concerned himself with warm devotion to the Lord. If your orthodoxy does not lead to doxology something is wrong. If your orthodoxy does not lead to orthopraxy repentance is necessary. Edwards' devotion had movement and thus a kingdom impact that has far outlasted his life. The piety that Edwards sought had at its core a desire to find joy and delight in the Triune God and to declare to this world that Christ has all authority. His obsession to be a 'complete Christian' was to bring his body and soul into subjection to the Lordship of Jesus Christ so that Edwards could be "poured out as a drink offering" (Philippians 2:17) for the eternal good of others.
In light of this example, we need to examine ourselves. Is our orthodoxy stuck in our heads? Do we walk in obedience to God? Is the Holy Spirit of God warming your heart and hands as you prayerfully study the Scriptures? Or is your devotion to God academic (which is to say useless and therefore non-existent)?