Monday, February 15, 2010

The Excellency of Christ - Post #2

I dealt with the first part of this sermon, found in Altogether Lovely (Jonathan, Edwards. Altogether Lovely Jonathan Edwards on the glory and excellency of Jesus Christ. Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1997), by looking at Edwards' introduction and first major point. It can be seen here. This second post will deal with Edwards' second major point which is:
There do meet in the person of Christ such really diverse excellencies, which otherwise would have been thought utterly incompatible in the same subject; such as are conjoined in no other person whatever, either divine, human, or angelical; and such as neither men nor angels would ever have imagined could have met together in the same person, had it not been seen in the person of Christ. I would give some instances. (22)
There are 7 sub-points under this heading. The seven sub-points correspond with seven ways in which 'diverse excellencies' meet together in the person of Christ. I have listed them below along with some quotes that I found edifying.

1. In the person of Christ do meet together infinite glory and lowest humility. "Infinite glory, and the virtue of humility, meet in no other person but Christ. They meet in no created person; for no created person has infinite glory; and they meet in no other divine person but Christ ... But however he is thus above all, yet he is lowest of all in humility. There never was so great an instance of this virtue among either men or angels, as Jesus. None ever was so sensible of the distance between God and him, or had a heart so lowly before God, as the man Christ Jesus" (23-4).

2. In the person of Christ do meet together infinite majesty and transcendent meekness. "These again are two qualifications that meet together in no other person but Christ. Meekness, properly so called, is a virtue proper only to the creature: we scarcely ever find meekness mentioned as a divine attribute in Scripture; at least not in the New Testament; for thereby seems to be signified, a calmness and quietness of spirit, arising from humility in mutable beings that are naturally liable to be put into a ruffle by the assaults of a tempestuous and injurious world. But Christ being both God and man, hath both infinite majesty and superlative meekness" (23).

3. There meet in the person of Christ the deepest reverence towards God and equality with God. "Christ, when on earth, appeared full of holy reverence towards the Father. He paid the most reverential worship to him, praying to him with postures of reverence ... This became Christ, as one who had taken on him the human nature; but at the same time he existed in the divine nature; whereby his person was in all respects equal to the person of the Father. God the Father hath no attribute or perfection that the Son hath not, in equal degree, and equal glory. These things meet in no other person but Jesus Christ" (24-5)

4. There are conjoined in the person of Christ infinite worthiness of good, and the greatest patience under sufferings of evil. "He was perfectly innocent, and deserved no suffering. He deserved nothing from God by any guilt of his own; and he deserved no ill from men. Yea, he was not only harmless and undeserving of suffering, but he was infinitely worthy; worthy of the infinite love of the Father, worthy of infinite and eternal happiness, and infinitely worthy of all possible esteem, love, and service from all men. And yet he was perfectly patient under the greatest sufferings that ever were endured in this world" (25).

5. In the person of Christ are conjoined an exceeding spirit of obedience, with supreme dominion over heaven and earth. "Christ is the Lord of all things in two respects: he is so, as God-man and Mediator; and thus his dominion is appointed, and given him of the Father. Having it by delegation from God, he is as it were the Father’s vicegerent. But he is Lord of all things in another respect, viz. as he is (by his original nature) God; and so he is by natural right the Lord of all, and supreme over all as much as the Father ... And yet in the same person is found the greatest spirit of obedience to the commands and laws of God that ever was in the universe; which was manifest in his obedience here in this world" (26).

6. In the person of Christ are conjoined absolute sovereignty and perfect resignation. "This is another unparalleled conjunction. Christ, as he is God, is the absolute sovereign of the world; the sovereign disposer of all events. The decrees of God are all his sovereign decrees; and the work of creation, and all God’s works of providence, are his sovereign works. It is he that worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will ... But yet Christ was the most wonderful instance of resignation that ever appeared in the world. He was absolutely and perfectly resigned when he had a near and immediate prospect of his terrible sufferings, and the dreadful cup that he was to drink. The idea and expectation of this made his soul exceeding sorrowful, even unto death, and put him into such an agony, that his sweat was as it were great drops or clots of blood, falling down to the ground" (27).

7. In Christ do meet together self-sufficiency, and an entire trust and reliance on God; which is another conjunction peculiar to the person of Christ. "As he is a divine person, he is self-sufficient, standing in need of nothing. All creatures are dependent on him, but he is dependent on none, but is absolutely independent. His proceeding from the Father, in his eternal generation or filiation, argues no proper dependence on the will of the Father; for that proceeding was natural and necessary, and not arbitrary. But yet Christ entirely trusted in God" (28).

Two more posts should cover this sermon: one on the third major point, and one on the application portion of this sermon. Keep checking in!

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