“A more glorious work of power…”

The following is from the Jonathan Edwards sermon God Glorified in Man’s Dependence.

We receive all from the power of God. Man’s redemption is often spoken of as a work of wonderful power as well as grace. The great power of God appears in bringing a sinner from his low state, and from the depths of sin and misery, to such an exalted state of holiness and happiness. Eph. i. 19. “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.”

We are dependent on God’s power through every step of our redemption. We are dependent on the power of God to convert us, and give faith in Jesus Christ, and the new nature. It is a work of creation: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature,” 2 Cor. v. 17. “We are created in Christ Jesus,” Eph. ii. 10. The fallen creature cannot attain to true holiness, but by being created again. Eph. v. 24, “And that yet put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” It is a raising from the dead. Colos. ii. 12, 13. “Wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” Yea, it is a more glorious work of power than mere creation, or raising a dead body to life, in that the effect attained is greater and more excellent. That holy and happy being, and spiritual life, which is produced in the work of conversion, is a far greater and more glorious effect, than mere being and life. And the state from whence the change is made – a death in sin, a total corruption of nature, and depth of misery – is far more remote from the state attained than mere death or non-entity.

It is by God’s power also that we are preserved in a state of grace. 1 Pet. i. 5. “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” As grace is at first from God, so it is continually from him, and is maintained by him, as much as light in the atmosphere is all day long from the sun, as well as at first dawning, or sun-rising. Men are dependent on the power of God for every exercise of grace, and for carrying on that work in the heart, for subduing sin and corruption, increasing holy principles, and enabling to bring forth fruit in good works. Man is dependent on divine power in bringing grace to its perfection, in making the soul completely amiable in Christ’s glorious likeness, and filling of it with a satisfying joy and blessedness; and for the raising of the body to life, and to such a perfect state, that it shall be suitable for a habitation and organ for a soul so perfected and blessed. These are the most glorious effects of the power of God, that are seen in the series of God’s acts with respect to the creatures.

Man was dependent on the power of God in his first estate, but he is more dependent on his power now; he needs God’s power to do more things for him, and depends on a more wonderful exercise of his power. It was an effect of the power of God to make man holy at the first: but more remarkably so now, because there is a great deal of opposition and difficulty in the way. It is a more glorious effect of power to make that holy that was so depraved, and under the dominion of sin, than to confer holiness on that which before had nothing of the contrary. It is a more glorious work of power to rescue a soul out of the hands of the devil, and from the powers of darkness, and to bring it unto a state of salvation, than to confer holiness where there was no prepossession or opposition. Luke xi. 21-22. “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace; but when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armor, wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.” So it is a more glorious work of power to uphold a soul in a state of grace and holiness, and to carry it on till it is brought to glory, when there is so much sin remaining in the heart resisting, and Satan with all his might opposing, than it would have been to have kept man from falling at first, when Satan had nothing in man. Thus we have shown how the redeemed are dependent on God for all their good, as they have all of him.

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