I have been reading Jonathan Edwards. He keeps using the word “felicitous” like it was mother’s milk. So I decided I better look it up.
Any guesses about what felicitous means? Perhaps you know. My guess was that it had to do with being happy. Don’t laugh, but here was my thought process in a nutshell. Jose Feliciano sang “Feliz Navidad” which was a happy song by a happy guy about having a Merry Christmas. Hey, it works a lot in Trivial Pursuit!
However, according to the thesaurus, “felicitous” is roughly synonymous with “meet”, “condign” and “consonant”. Still not sure? Okay, enough teasing of all of you ignorant people who don’t know what I just learned. If something is felicitous, it is “apt”, “fitting”, “suitable” or “appropriate”. In modern parlance, we might say that it has a poetic justice to it.
This is my lead in to my main thought, i.e., our being justified through faith sure is felicitous. Jesus has fulfilled the law to a “T”. However, the means by which his perfect obedience is legally applied to us is faith — our faith in what God has said and promised in his word, even when (or perhaps particularly when) our eyes don’t see it. Faith and trust in the veracity of God’s word is what he has chosen to be the glue by which we are united with Christ so that his righteousness can also be ours. How felicitous is that!
In the Garden of Eden, our first parents fell due to a lack of such faith. Though they had every advantage, they failed to trust that God was good and that his word was true. Eve was the first to eat the forbidden fruit. Genesis 3 says that “. . . when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” The general picture is that Eve trusted in her eyes more than in her ears. She had heard God’s word, but she looked at the fruit and used what she saw as her ultimate guide.
How felicitous is it then that the means ordained by God for our salvation from the curse that resulted from this sin is just the reverse? Now, we are called not to “walk by sight””, but to “live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”. Our calling is to trust our ears and not our eyes. Faith in the goodness of God and the veracity of what he has spoken, regardless what our eyes say, is our way back home. That is felicitous, indeed!