The real difference between the godly and ungodly is different than many think it is

18 Sep

Sometimes we doubt our conversion because we find such sins in our hearts.

We look at the way we love God or pray or read our Bibles and we think there can’t ever have been a Christian who was so bad at all of this. We want to be more humble and thankful and passionate, and yet, we even maybe feel like, it’s not possible for a person like this.

Jonathan Edwards suggests while seeing our own corruption should certainly humble us, it shouldn’t necessarily cause us to think our salvation wasn’t genuine.

“Such things as these, provided they are a great burden to a person and something that they strive and long to be rid of, doesn’t necessarily mean they are a hypocrite.

There is the same corruption in the heart of a godly man as there is in the heart of an ungodly man and all the same corruption. There is not one less in the  heart of an uncovered but it is also in the converted but only there is this difference that in the heart of the saints there is a contrary principle that is a bitter enemy to this corruption and resists it and struggles against and makes a warfare in the hearts against it and makes the man to hate it and loathe it and in his choice and inclination to reject and renounce it and into lament it and grain under it and long to be rid of it and strive against it. Though there be much corruption in the heart of a godly man yet there is none there but it is condemned and disallowed and born as a grievous burden. A godly man does indeed disallow of everything that is sinful and would by no means allow of it.

Even the most eminent saints ever there were in the world have found cause to cry out of dreadful corruption in their hearts and even apostle Paul one of the most eminent men he cried out, O most wretched man. There was not only sin in him but a body of sin and death.

Natural men have very mistaken notions of converted persons in this respect. They think they are much freer of corruption than they are. They hear that when men are converted old things are done away and they think that if they ever are converted they should always be in a good frame, and have but little trouble from corruption. They did not expect to have any cause to cry out of an hard, useless, proud, wicked heart after that.

In this respect, unconverted men commonly look upon converted persons as much better than they are. In some sense natural men don’t look on the godly so good as they are but in another they look upon them as much better than they are.

In this sense the godly are much better and more excellent than natural man esteem them, that grace and holiness is a far more excellent thing than natural men conceive it be. They are not at all sensible of the exuding bounty of loveliness that there is in holiness and therefore don’t honor and esteem the godly for the sake of their holiness as they ought to. They are not sensible how they are the excellent of the earth and more excellent than their neighbors.

But then in this sense natural men often times look on converted men as much better than they be, in that they think they have more of holiness than they have. Though they are not sensible of how excellent the holiness is that the converted men have, yet they think they have more of it than they have. They are ready to expect that they should be almost perfectly holy. That they should always be in the exercise of love to God and heavenly minded and live like angels. They are not aware what corruption there is left and how interrupted the exercises of grace are.”

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