Man's Inability

by Frank Jones


... for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:5b)

Jonathan Edwards wrote 70 resolutions that he kept before his conscience during his earthly pilgrimage. His goal was to read through those resolutions meditatively at least once a week. These resolutions were Edward’s attempt "to make this broad statement [to glorify God and enjoy him forever] concrete and specific in his own life. He is concerned that Christ has preeminence and the Bible has priority in all that he does. He wants his life – indeed his days, weeks, and months – not to be squandered on even the things that are good. Instead, he wants the best and commits himself to it." (Nichols, Stephen. Jonathan Edwards Resolutions and Advice to Young Converts)

However, in the introduction of Nichol’s book, Edwards places before every reader a foundational truth. This truth is revolutionary in its experience and glorious in faith.

Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.

The foundational truth is the first phrase, "being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help." It is the inability of man. Men and women do not have the ability to do anything in and of themselves. Our very physical and spiritual life is sustained by Christ. Our breath is under the control of the Almighty. Spiritual truth and understanding is only given by the Spirit of Christ. Lost people are energized by the evil one. The Saved are to be energized by the Risen One, Christ Jesus. Our Deliverer would word it this way, As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. … He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing (John 15:4, 5).

A true knowledge and belief in man’s inability will bring a humbleness and poverty of spirit. It is at this point that our prayer life and hungering for the things of Christ will take on a new dimension. Feast on those things above where Christ sits on the right hand of God, knowing that our very life is dependent on our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus the Messiah.