Jonathan Edwards was arguably one of the greatest philosophers, theologian and pastor of the eighteenth century, who at the age of seventeen graduated from Connecticut Collegiate School, known to us today as Yale University.
As a young man he was both deeply devoted to his studies and deeply religious spending much time in the studying and memorising of the Word of God. He knew it very well and attempted to obey its moral and spiritual guidelines. However, as important as knowledge and obedience are, neither can save the soul and transform the heart. One must acquire what Jonathan later called the “true sense” of God for conversion to take place.
It was as Jonathan pondered (1 Timothy 1:17) “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (NIV) that his heart was struck. He later said of that instance:
As I read the words, there came into my soul, and as it were diffused through it, a sense of the glory of the divine being; a new sense, quite different from anything I have ever experienced before. Never any words of Scripture seemed to me as these words did. I thought with myself, how excellent a Being that was; and how happy I should be, if I might enjoy that God, and be wrapt up to God in heaven, and be as it were SWALLOWED UP in Him. (Works 16, 792-3).
From about that time, I began to have a new kind of apprehension and ideas of Christ, and the work of redemption, and the glorious way of salvation by Him. I had an inward, sweet sense of these things, that at times came into my heart; and my soul was led away in pleasant views and contemplations of them. And my mind was greatly engaged, to spend my time in reading and meditating on Christ; and the beauty and excellency of His person, and the lovely way of salvation, by free grace in Him. ((Works 16, 793)
Dear friend, to know about Jesus Christ is good, but to know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and saviour is to know an inexpressible joy and satisfaction. To know about Him can neither, save your soul, or transform your heart, but to know Him through faith and complete surrender is to know His saving power and His transforming grace upon your heart.
It is my sincere prayer that as you read God’s Word you may gain a sense of the glory of God in your soul.
- Dirk Coetzee – Pastor – Grahamstown Baptist Church