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12 Distinguishing Signs of True Religious Affections

We bring our Lord much glory if we get from Him much grace -Charles Spurgeon

According to the great theologian and philosopher, Jonathan Edwards, the affections are the practical exercises of the inclination and will of the soul. The affections equal the heart; feelings; and attitude. All of us have affections for people, places, and things. But do we have affection for the one true God? and if we claim to have affections for God and have experienced God…How do we know that we  have a true and genuine experience with God?  Jonathan Edwards, makes some keen observations regarding our affection for God.

How The Religious Affections May Be Falsely Appraised

  1. The Intensity of Religious Affections is No Evidence
  2. Bodily Affections Are No Evidence of True Affections
  3. Much Fluent and Fervent Talk is No Evidence
  4. Imposed Emotions Are Not Evidence
  5. Scripture Tests-The Devil Misuses Scripture, Parable of the Sower
  6. The Exhibition of Love is No Evidence of True Religious Affections
  7. Many Accompanying Kinds of Religious Affections Are Not Evidence
  8. The Resultant Comfort and Joy That Follow Spiritual Awakening and Conviction of Conscience Are not Evidence
  9. True Afections are Not Equated with Time and Effort Spent in Religious Affections.
  10. Verbal Worship is No Evidence
  11. Self-Confidence Is No Evidence
  12. Outward Evidences Are Not Enough

12 Distinguishing Signs of Truly Gracious and Holy Affections

  1. True Spiritual Affections Are Divinely Given
  2. The Fundamental Basis of Gracious Affections is the Transcendant Excellence and Loveable NAture of Divine Things
  3. Gracious Affections Are Based on the Delight of the Beauty and Moral Excellence of God Himself
  4. Gracious Affections Arise from a Spiritually Enlightened Mind
  5. Gracious Affections Are Associated with Historical Evidence and True Conviction (Jesus is the way, the truth, the life)
  6. Gracious Affections Flow from Deep Awareness of Personal Insufficiency
  7. Gracious Affections Depend upon Conversions That Change Our Characters
  8. Gracious Affections Have Christ-Like Gentleness
  9. Gracious Affections Soften the Heart in Christian Tenderness
  10. Gracious Affections Are Consistent and Constant
  11. Gracious Affections Intensify Spiritual Longings
  12. Gracious Affections Are the Daily Practice of Christian Ministry

These insights from Edwards have been helpful for me not so much to prove to myself that I am “in” but rather to help me as I seek to know Christ in a deeper way. I don’t want my own faith to be hypocritical. I don’t want to fake my way through this life thinking somehow that I’ve done it right. I want an ever growing utterly genuine relationship with the God who is there. It seems to me that our God who is the essence of both love and logic, as we draw nearer to His thronek, will change our affections in the ways that Edwards has suggested.  Of course, I can’t see my own progress toward Christ-like character and often wonder how God and others perceive my walk. However, I can trust that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. I thank you Lord for Your continued work to mortify the sinfulness in me, and I pray from the depths of my inner most being that You would give me affections that are truly grace filled, holy, and pleasing in Your sight.



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One response to “12 Distinguishing Signs of True Religious Affections”

  1. Have you seen the new Charles Spurgeon Collection from Logos Bible Software? I thought you might be interested: Charles Spurgeon Collection (78 Vols.)

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