“Regret? Or Wise Reflection, Repentance, and Holy Resolve?”

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I would like to begin our time together with an important follow-up question to our main question this week, as cited above, “Is it your daily hope and prayer that you will grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, both this year, and continuing on until your final breath (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18)? I hope so …

Thanks to an awakening to “the doctrines of grace,” in recent years, many evangelical Christians are not only starting to think in this way (Philippians 3:12-16), but they are also discovering many great examples from Church history (along with their writings), to emulate toward pursuing this godly end. One of the most popular among those towering examples, is the New England Puritan, Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), and specifically, his very useful and well-known “seventy resolutions.” He penned those resolutions when he was a mere nineteen-year-old pastor near New York City. His prayer was that these resolutions would enable him to be more spiritually-disciplined so that he would walk with God until he opened his eyes in glory (Revelation 22:3-4). Let’s look at several of these resolutions which have, particularly, encouraged many faithful Christians throughout the last two-hundred-and-fifty years plus (you can access all seventy of these resolutions from: www.desiringgod.org). Resolution #4. “Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; not be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.” Resolution #6. “Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.” Resolution #7. “Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.” Resolution #28. “Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.” Resolution #30. “Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.” Resolution #37. “Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself, also at the end of every week, month, and year.” Resolution #55. “Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heaven, and hell’s torments.” Resolution #56. “Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.” So, Edwards’ complete list of seventy resolutions can be simply said to include: resolving to be more faithful in our daily Bible reading and study; aiming to read the Bible all of the way through regularly (e.g. in a year); being more diligent and consistent in your secret intercessory prayer life; serving God and His people more faithfully in your local church; aiming to speak the gospel to at least one unbeliever each day (Psalm 96:2); seeking to mortify or murder (Romans 8:13) every known sin that so easily entangles you (Hebrews 12:1); controlling your tongue (James 1:26; Ephesians 4:29); being “quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger” (James 1:19); stopping your normal procrastination at home, in school, at work, and at church; putting off sin, and putting on Christ (“… putting off the old self with its practices and putting on the new self which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator” [Colossians 3:9-10]); and last, but not least, joyfully pursuing Edwards’ “total summary” resolution; Resolution #17. “Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I die.” O God, by your grace and in your power, help us aim to live, each day, with Holy Resolve, as Edwards has sketched-out for us, and as Your Word has unveiled to us! Amen …In conclusion, let us draw near to God, first, by taking heed to our heart preparation today, for encountering the living God tomorrow, in our public Worship service, both through our praises and prayers to Him, with God’s people; and secondly, through our attending to the reading and preaching of His Holy, inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word! Soli Deo Gloria! Happy Reformation Year 500!!

 

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