Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

So as the ladies and I have been going through Pursuing God by Jim Elliff we came to the third chapter, which, honestly, I had a hard time understanding and teaching. The title of the chapter is "Is God Angry Anymore?" basically having to do with the wrath of God, a topic I confess that I have many questions on. So in doing a little more studying I listened to Jonathan Edwards sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God". Edwards, in this sermon, was as straightfoward with the wrath of God and God's anger towards those out of Christ as one can get. I can see how this would be hard to hear by the "hard-hearted congregation" it was preached to in July of 1741.

Here's a exerpt from the sermon that expresses "the awful weight of sin, the wrath of an infinitely holy God, and the unexpectedness of the moment when God will execute justice" (http://edwards.yale.edu)

"The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to hell the last night; that you was suffered to awake again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep. And there is no other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning, but that God's hand has held you up. There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell, since you have sat here in the house of God, provoking his pure eyes by your sinful wicked manner of attending his solemn worship. Yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down into hell."

"O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment."

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God can be read here
It can also be downloaded and heard here


Sarah said...

I've always been intrigued and challenged by this sermon. In a recent history class, it was used to illustrate the point that Calvinists believe only in a vengeful, angry God. However, my Dad has often noted that the emphasis of the sermon is on the "hands" -- God's mercy to the sinner. It's been a while since I've read it... but between my history class and your post I've decided a re-read is in order.
Hope your Bible studies are going well - I'm praying for you!

Jamie Dunbar said...

This is surely one of the most challenging sermons I have read. I do believe God is angry, but I also believe he is very merciful. Is it not his mercy that holds back on sinners, each day, the punishment they deserve.

"It is true, that judgment against your evil works has not been executed hitherto; the floods of God's vengeance have been withheld"

"And now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has thrown the door of mercy wide open, and stands in calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners; a day wherein many are flocking to him, and pressing into the kingdom of God."

Becca said...

yeah that's one of the current selections on my iPod. It's sobering serious stuff, thinking about how awesome and pure God's wrath against sinners is. But then those of us who have been saved from that wrath are thrown all the harder back to the cross marveling at God's incredible unexplainable grace towards us!!

Hope everything's going well for yall up there! :-)