Thursday, October 25, 2012

Infinite upon Infinite

The mathematical symbol for "infinity"
"Is not your wickedness great, and your iniquity without end?"
Job 22:5

I've been reading the biography of Jonathon Edwards by Iain Murray.  In it he records the following entry from Edwards' journal:

"I know not how to express better what my sins appear to me to be than by heaping infinite upon infinite, and multiplying infinite by infinite.  Very often, for these many years, these expressions are in my mind, and in my mouth.  'Infinite upon infinite...Infinite upon infinite!'  When I look into my heart, and take a view of my wickedness, it looks like an abyss infinitely deeper than hell."

Taken in isolation - one might quickly conclude that Edwards was a pretty melancholy man. 

But those familiar with his other writings, particularly his works on heaven, know otherwise.  In fact, it occurs to me today that the more infinitely unworthy I see myself to be - the greater my potential for happiness.


Consider this.

Who is happier? 

1)  The person moved from a position of $5 in debt to the opposite ($5 in the bank)


2)  The person moved from a position of $1,000,000 in debt to the opposite ($1,000,000 in the bank)

The answer is obvious I think.  The experience of person #2 is one of inexpressible joy.  The experience of person #1 is hardly worth noticing. 

Change the illustration over to a contemplation of heaven.

Who is the happier Christian on earth?

1)  The one who expects to move from a position of a few bothersome bad habits - to heaven without them?


2)  The one who expects to move from a position of INFINITELY ugly sin and sinfulness - to a heaven INFINITE holiness and love?

It is, it seems to me, the Christian who sees his/her infinite upon infinite sin that has the greatest potential for joy here on earth.  Edwards, I believe, knew that joy.  I want to know it too.

And this highlights for me the great tragedy of the modern gospel.  The modern gospel waters down the seriousness of sin.  And the consequence is harmful to unbelievers and believers alike.  The unbeliever sees nothing from which to be saved.  And the believer sees almost nothing worth waiting for.  Both individuals are left to get all they can from this life.  The unbeliever - because he does not fear hell.  The Christian - because he cannot love heaven.

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