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December 27, 2007

New Year – New Resolutions

Jonathan Edwards

As the new year begins we are often asked about any resolutions we may have made. To eat better, smoke less, work harder, etc. But are we just working towards a better self or are we working to a better relationship with God?

I personally don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Partly because I am fully aware of my own depravity, and partly because I think I’m perfect “just the way I am”. Funny how that works.

The problem with most New Year’s resolutions is that they are based on law rather than grace. If we work hard enough or want it badly enough, then we can change are habits (of our own free will). Just get rid of the bad habits and pick up good ones instead. Unfortunately, they don’t last long. Surveys (and our own experience) have shown that one quarter of all New Year’s resolutions have already been broken by the end of January 2.

When Jonathan Edwards was 19 years old, he wrote 70 resolutions over the course of a year. These he resolved to read over each week, and to keep by God?s grace. They were the product of a young and zealous faith, but they were also the product of a deep determination to keep God?s glory as the priority in his life. For Jonathan Edwards, the new birth ? his conversion to Christ ? was the most important threshold he, or anyone else, could cross. Consequently, the life that he lived afterwards he determined to live for God alone.

Dr. Philip G. Ryken put it best when he said:

In his resolutions Jonathan Edwards attempted to put down in writing what sort of man he wanted to become. But even before making any resolutions, he acknowledged his absolute dependence on God’s grace and his absolute submission to God’s will. Edwards wrote: “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.” As you can see, Jonathan Edwards was careful not to resolve anything contrary to the will of God. He was also careful not to even attempt to keep his resolutions in his own strength. This was not some kind of self-help program. Rather, Edwards was aspiring to grow in grace by the power of the gospel.

The bulk of the published material of Jonathan Edwards included sermons, treatises, and miscellaneous studies. This material is mostly of a Biblical and Doctrinal nature. Though never meant for publication, his personal / devotional writings clearly show Edwards’ character and desire to Glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.

Read Jonathan Edwards’ Resolutions for yourself and then make your new year’s resolutions.

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