14 June 2009

No Clouds of Darkness Can Remain

For most of us the idea of God's judgment is ominous. In a 1736 sermon on Psalm 7, Jonathan Edwards shows that for forgiven, conscience-cleansed sinners God's judgment is an unspeakable comfort, because the righteous, all-seeing, heart-discerning Creator will fully vindicate all wrongs and bring all hidden motives, both the good mistaken for bad and the bad mistaken for good, out into the open to be dealt with and either silenced or vindicated once and for all (1 Cor 4:5).

At one point Edwards exults in the mouth-stopping of all accusation that will take place for believers and says of them:

In that God is to be their judge, all difficulties in their own minds concerning their own integrity and uprightness will be effectually and eternally removed. There are many sincere persons who yet meet with many and great difficulties concerning their own sincerity. They are exercised with great fears about it, and sometimes very distressing fears and are by this means under exceeding darkness.

And Satan delights to afflict and torment them. He is perpetually accusing of them to their own conscience of God's vengeance on their souls. And he is trying to possess them with it--that they are hypocrites, that there is no sincerity in them, and that God takes no delight in them but hates them. That what they do is only out of self-love, that they have nothing but only common illumination and affections.

But in that God is to be their judge, the time will come when all the difficulties shall be forever removed; all darkness shall be forever banished away. Satan's accusations will be made void when God comes to acquit them and approve them. All doubts and fears will forever flee away. No clouds of darkness can remain after this.

--The Glory and Honor of God: Previously Unpublished Sermons of Jonathan Edwards, Vol 2, p. 60

. . . to all who have loved his appearing. --2 Tim 4:8

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