jonathan-edwardsThe 21st century ushered in a new emphasis that had an effect on ecclesiology and anthropology.  The so-called seeker-sensitive movement held that unregenerate people seek God.  However, the notion that unconverted people seek God is absent from the pages of Scripture.  Jonathan Edwards present the biblical case against such an idea in his sermon, Unbelievers Contemn the Glory of Christ.

The Doctrine

Unbelievers set at nought the glory and excellency of Christ.

Edwards sets forth two propositions that support his doctrine:

  1. They set at nought the excellency of his person.  Christ is a great and glorious person, a person of infinite worthiness, on which account he is infinitely esteemed and loved of the Father, and is continually adored by the angels.
  2. They set at nought his excellency in his work and office.  They are told how glorious and complete a mediator he is, how sufficient to answer all our necessities, and to save sinners to the uttermost; but they make light of it all; yea, they make nothing of it.

Four evidences are presented to support the doctrine:

  1. They never give Christ an honor on account of his glory and excellency.
  2. They have no love to him on account of his glory and excellency.
  3. Unbelievers have no desires after the enjoyment of Christ.
  4. They show that they set at nought the glory and excellency of Christ, in that they seek not a conformity to that glory and excellency.


Edwards argues: “This doctrine may teach us the heinousness of the sin of unbelief, as this sin sets all the glory and excellency of Christ at nought.”

The sermon concludes with four practical applications, each of which are directed to unbelieving people.

  1. Hereby you may be convinced of the greatness of your guilt.
  2. Hereby you may be convinced of your danger.  You must needs think that such guilt will bring great wrath.
  3. You may hence be led to see how worthless many of those things in yourselves are, that you have been ready to make much of.
  4. Hence learn how justly God might forever refuse to give you an interest in Christ.  For why should God give you any part or interest in him who you set at nought, all whose glory and excellency you value not in the least, but rather trample it under your feet.

Jonathan Edward’s sermon is a vivid reminder about the serious nature of the sin of unbelief.  His heart for lost people shines brightly in this sermon.  And his love for God’s glory is manifest as well.

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