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.