1Glories

Refining Life, on Purpose

Bearing Spiritual Fruit, Resolutions and Jonathan Edwards

Christian living should bear spiritual fruit. This is evident in Edwards resolutions, where you’ll find they span matters of time, relationships, sin, human nature, behavior, motives,service, and more to frame a context for Christian living and development.

For Jonathan Edwards, resolutions were instructions for living. It’s well chronicled that he wrote 70 resolutions and read them daily throughout life. He followed them and relied upon them for sustaining strength with the ultimate intention being the development of a “soul fit for eternity with God.” In many respects, he was taking on the duty of ensuring his personal discipleship.

The “served as a set of practical day-to-day guidelines for achieving that end. Edwards adjured himself to study the Scriptures above all other books and to pray steadfastly; Jesus was to be trusted as Lord; God was present, personal, and primary.” (Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University)

I’ve spent a lot of time reviewing the 70 resolutions that Jonathan Edwards made for himself. He prepared them during his late teens, and read through them daily as a form of keeping himself true to his commitment to God.

As I have read them, I have struggled with the language used, as it is both sophisticated and antiquated. Common language no doubt changes a lot over 200-ish years. As I suspect many others have struggled here, I have taken the liberty of recomposing them with more modern context.

Having done that, I began identifying keywords and concepts for categorizing. It should be noted here that Dennis Griffith has already written them in modernized language (as has Chris Quinlan).  Also, Matt Perman has categorized them. While I did not merely mimic their work, I have referenced both, so I feel obligated to note/share it.

Cultivating the Fruit of the Holy Spirit

In praying as I considered the categorizing of Edwards resolutions, it felt strongly that they should be grouped according to the fruit of the spirit, as identified in Galatians 5:22-23.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Given these resolutions are about developing a God centered life, and the fruits are representation of that development, this seemed appropriate. I will admit, however, that some do not easily fit into their assigned area. Additionally, it had not been Edwards’ intention to do so.

Another reason I chose to categorize according to the fruit of the Holy Spirit is because Edwards’ resolutions are clear in mandating recognition, repentance and correction sin. This is in direct contrast with sinful nature as described earlier in Galatians 5:19-21.

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

What’s more, Billy Graham says that “this cluster of fruit should characterize the life of every Christ-born child of God.” He further explains that all people, before knowing Christ, is ruled by sin nature. However, with Christ rightly put onto the throne in your life, the Holy Spirit dominates your life. A complete yield to him as Savior results in receiving the Holy Spirit, who produces the fruits.

Observations About Edwards Resolutions

Christian living should bear spiritual fruit. This is evident in Edwards resolutions, where you’ll find they span matters of time, relationships, sin, human nature, behavior, motives,service, and more to frame a context for Christian living and development.

Christian living should bear spiritual fruit. This is evident in Edwards resolutions, where you’ll find they span matters of time, relationships, sin, human nature, behavior, motives,service, and more to frame a context for Christian living and development.

Something I find interesting is that just 4 of them specifically reference scripture (numbers 32, 62, 74, and 65). I have therefore applied scripture to the others if there is proper context or inferences that can be noted.

Edwards resolutions, are quite focused on personal development and knowing a personal state of being. Also, they are frequent in calling for self-examination. Moreover, they are committed to pursuing God’s glory above all else.

You’ll also find they span topics including, matters of time, relationships, sin, human nature, esteem, and emotions. Additionally, they speak to behavior, motives, humanity, good works, service, and so much more. They provide a context for Christian living and development.

I’m really looking forward to kicking this off.

About Chad Gramling

Chad Gramling makes his home in Indiana with his wife and three daughters. He's the founder and primary blogger at 1Glories, a vision cast onto his heart and detailed in Listen Up Kids: Foolish Dreams, Syncing with God & Running to Win.