Summary: Sermon 5 in a study in Hosea
18th century theologian, Jonathan Edwards once preached a sermon called “Men Naturally Are God’s Enemies”.
And by the way…I found this sermon on the web and copied and pasted it to my Word program so that I could extract the quote I’m about to read to you. I want you to know that I put it in the same font and size as my own sermons, and gave it 1.5 line spacing like my own, and whereas my average sermon is 14 to 15 pages, this one of Edwards’ is 54 pages.
So there are two things to consider here. One is that you are fortunate mine are so much shorter; the second is that now you know how long people will listen to someone who really knows what he’s talking about.
In any case, Edwards said something early in this sermon about the reasons the natural man hates God. I want to read it and then I’ll go over the highlights of it as it pertains to our text today. Edwards preached…
“Though they are ignorant of God; yet from what they hear of him, and from what is manifest by the light of nature, they do not like him. By his being endowed with such attributes as he is, they have an aversion to him. They hear God is an infinitely holy, pure, and righteous Being, and they do not like him upon this account; they have no relish of such qualifications.
They take no delight in contemplating them. It would be a mere task, a bondage to a natural man, to be obliged to set himself to contemplate those attributes of God. They see no manner of beauty or loveliness, nor taste any sweetness, in them. And on account of their distaste of these perfections, they dislike all his other attributes. They have greater aversion to him because he is omniscient and knows all things; and because his omniscience is a holy omniscience. They are not pleased that he is omnipotent, and can do whatever he pleases; because it is a holy omnipotence. They are enemies even to his mercy, because it is a holy mercy. They do not like his immutability, because by this he never will be otherwise than he is, an infinitely holy God.”
So the truth Edwards is setting forth, is that natural men, and by that he means unregenerate or what we often refer to as unsaved men, have a great aversion to God because of what His attributes mean. He is omniscient. That means He knows all. That means He knows all about them. Further, He is omnipotent, which means He is all powerful, which means they are not the one ultimately in charge. They hate His mercy because it is a perfectly holy mercy and in its kindness it illuminates their utter unholiness and they despise His immutability, which is His unchangeableness, because that means He will never be other than all these things just listed. And there is no escape.
Therefore when Romans 5:10, which was Edward’s text verse for his sermon, says that we were enemies of God, it is not saying that we were His enemies by His declaration, but by our own. He didn’t call us His enemies, we, in our sin, made ourselves His enemies in arms.
Gomer, by her actions, made herself estranged from her husband although he pursued her. The sons of Israel were guilty of the same.
Through this chapter we see the words that prove the charge. According to verse 3 they think to hide from God. In verse 4 they choose to continue in their evil deeds rather than to return to God. In verse 5 they are filled with pride which causes them to stumble. In 6 and 7 they offer insincere religion and deal treacherously against God.
As we move through we will see that He finally has to deal very harshly with them for their own ultimate good. As we move through, let’s continue to refocus and bring the message back to ourselves that they were the original branches and it is we who were grafted in.
“For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.” 27 “THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.” 28 From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; 29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. 32 For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.” Rom 11:25-32