Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Life Well Lived: Charity and Its Fruits (3)

"Rest, then, on nothing that you have done or suffered, or that you can do or suffer, but rest on Christ."

Jonathan Edwards

"And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing" (1 Cor. 13:3, NASB).

From Lecture Three: "The Greatest Performances or Sufferings in Vain Without Charity."

"But doings or sufferings will not avail. They will not atone for your sins, or give you God’s favor, or save you from the overwhelming storms of his wrath. Rest, then, on nothing that you have done or suffered, or that you can do or suffer, but rest on Christ. Let your heart be filled with sincere love to him; and then, at the last great day, he will own you as his follower and as his friend."

Edwards calls upon all Christians "earnestly to cherish sincere Christian love in their hearts." He continues, "If it be so, that this is of such great and absolutes necessity, then let it be the one great thing that you seek. Seek it with diligence and prayer, and seek it of God, and not of yourself. He only can bestow it. It is something far above the unassisted power of nature. For though there may be great performances, and great sufferings too, yet without sincere love they are all in vain. Such doings and sufferings may indeed be required of us, as the followers of Christ, and in the way of duty. But we are not to rest in them, or feel that they have any merit or worthiness in themselves. At best they are but the outward evidence and the outflowing of a right spirit in the heart. Be exhorted, then, as the great thing, to cherish sincere love, or Christian charity, in the heart. It is that which you must have; and there is nothing that will help your case without it."

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