Religious Affections

1133 Words5 Pages
In “A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections,” Jonathan Edwards speaks to the place of affections in religion. By affections, Edwards is referring “the distinguishing qualifications of those that are in favor with God and entitled to his eternal rewards? Or, which comes to the same thing, what is the true nature of religion? And wherein do lie the distinguishing notes of that virtue and holiness, that is acceptable in the sight of God” (137). In his treatise, Edwards argues that it is through the affections, we see signs of true faith in the life of a believer.
In this paper, I will explore Edward’s treatise to prove of the while there are many affections that can claim to be proof of salvation, the most reliable is that of Christian practice
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Edwards makes the claim that typically showing too high of an affection would speak to it being false, however with love things are a little more complicated. “But will any Christian say, men ought not to love God and Jesus Christ in a high degree” (150)? Next, he looks at the effects of affections on the body (one’s actions), the way one speaks about their faith, the strength of one’s spirit, and finally on one’s knowledge of scripture. Through these, he asserts that none of these filters, so to speak, serve as a way to effectively judge one’s true faith (152-153).
In the third section, Edwards turns his focus to the best ways to distinguish between true and false affections. He starts off by clearly stating, “those affections that are spiritual and gracious, do differ from those that are not so” (153). While it can often be difficult to judge affections when examining the life of a person, there is one clear distinguishing factor and that is the presence of the Spirit of God in the life of the believer
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On page 164, Edwards states that, “gracious and holy affections have their exercise and fruit in Christian practice. I mean, they have that influence and power upon him who is the subject of ‘em, that they cause that a practice, which is universally conformed to, and directed by Christian rules, should be the practice and business of life.” He continues on pages 165 and 166, “Christian practice is the principle sign by which Christians are to judge, both of their own and others’ sincerity of godliness. To bolster his argument, Edwards quotes Matthew 7:16, “Ye shall know them by their fruits” and Luke 6:44, “Every tree is known by his own fruits”
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