I recently re-read a sermon and thought I would share with you some quotes from it. As you read the following quotes, I ask that you do it slowly and ask yourself, “Do I believe this?”
God will execute the fierceness of his anger and he will inflict wrath without any pity. When God…sees how your poor soul is crushed, and sinks down, as it were, into an infinite gloom; he will have no compassion upon you, he will not stop the executions of his wrath, or in the least lighten his hand; there shall be no moderation or mercy, nor will God then at all stop his rough wind; he will have no regard to your welfare, nor be at all careful lest you should suffer too much in any other sense, than only that you shall not suffer beyond what strict justice requires. Nothing shall be withheld.
If you cry to God to pity you, he will be so far from pitying you in your unhappy case, or showing you the least regard or favor, that instead of that, he will only tread you under foot. And though he will know that you cannot bear the weight of His Almighty Power treading upon you, he will not care about that, but he will crush you under his feet without mercy; he will crush out your blood, and make it fly, and it will be sprinkled on his garments, so as to stain all his clothes. He will not only hate you, but he will have you in the utmost contempt: no place shall be thought fit for you, but under his feet to be trodden down as the mire of the streets.
If you continue in unbelief; the infinite might, and majesty, and terribleness of the Almighty God shall be intensified upon you, in the unthinkable power of your torments. You shall be tormented in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb; and when you shall be in this state of suffering, the glorious inhabitants of heaven shall go forth and look on the awful spectacle, that they may see what the wrath and fierceness of the Almighty is; and when they have seen it, they will fall down and adore that great power and majesty.
When the great and angry God hath risen up and executed his awful vengeance on the poor sinner, and the wretch is actually suffering the infinite weight and power of his indignation, then will God call upon the whole universe to behold that awful majesty and mighty power that is to be seen in it.
Powerful, eh? More than powerful, this stuff is downright terrifying. The God of these paragraphs is scarier than the monsters of Hollywood’s horror movies. He is more powerful in His strength. He is uncompromising in His holiness. He is unrelenting in His punishment. He is merciless and without pity toward His enemies. I would gladly choose to take on Chucky, Jason, and the Wolfman over the God of this sermon any day. Falling into the hands of this angry God induces nothing less than soul-crushing, heart-stopping, sweat-inducing terror.
Who Is This God?
Now, I invite you to ask, “Is the God of these paragraphs the God I worship?” Does God get angry? Will your God come to a point where He will not care about the great suffering of those He is punishing? Is your God capable of staining His clothes with the blood of His enemies?
I hope you said yes.
The God of those terrifying paragraphs above describe the God of the Bible. Don’t believe me? Listen to God’s own testimony of Himself from the Bible. Each of the following passages corresponds to to the respective quotes above (the bolded lines are from the above quotes).
God will execute the fierceness of his anger, implies, that he will inflict wrath without any pity. “I will act in wrath. My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. And though they cry in my ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.” Ezekiel 8:18
He will crush out your blood, and make it fly, and it shall be sprinkled on his garments, so as to stain all his clothes. “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel.” Isaiah 63:3
You shall be tormented in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. “And the peoples will be as if burned to lime, like thorns cut down, that are burned in the fire. ‘Hear, you who are far off, what I have done; and you who are near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless…'” Isaiah 33:12-14
God call upon the whole universe to behold that awful majesty and mighty power that is to be seen in it. “From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the Lord. ‘And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.’” Isaiah 66:23-24
With these passages in mind, it is no wonder why the author of Hebrews plainly states, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).
Unfortunately, the God of many people, even church going folk, looks nothing like the Triune God of the Bible. America loves and worships a god who is all mercy and no wrath. But a God who is all mercy and no wrath is no the God of the Bible, but an idol of our own making. The God of the Bible hates sin perfectly and righteously. The God of the Bible, as seen above, will exact justice upon all who gladly and willing cling to their sin and continue in their rebellion against Him. Unfortunately, the God of the Bible is nothing like the god many worship on Sundays.
Where Do You Get Your Thoughts of God?
This post is a small effort to illustrate that too often our thoughts about God are more formed by what our culture tells us rather than what we are learning from the Bible. We live in a day where churches love to speak about the love, mercy, grace, and kindness of God but are uncomfortable with even saying the word “wrath.” Pastors love to quote Ghandi’s “God loves the sinner but hates the sin,” yet never quote Edwards’, “There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God.” Our thoughts about God are unfortunately more informed by the world than by God Himself.
So what the application from this? May we get our noses in the Bible and let God tell us who He is. May we put away the idols our minds have created and get on our faces and worship God in all His splendor. May the church get all the more serious about making sure our thoughts about God are God’s thoughts and not ones of our own making.
A Final Note of Grace
Before ending this post, I think the torments of Jonathan Edwards, the preacher of the above quoted sermon, need to be followed up with the gospel call of Jonathan Edwards.
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. Many are daily coming from the east, west, north and south; many that were very lately in the same miserable condition that you are in, are now in a happy state, with their hearts filled with love to him who has loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own blood, and rejoicing in hope of the glory of God.
Will you be content to be the children of the devil, when so many other children in the land are converted, and are become the holy and happy children of the King of kings?
Therefore, let every one that is out of Christ, now awake and fly from the wrath to come.
Is God full of furious wrath against sin and the sinners who commit them? Yes. But today, God is holding out His arms to forgive any and every sinner who takes refuge in His Son.For all of God’s great and terrible wrath has been poured out on His Willing Son Jesus that whoever believes in Jesus can be forgiven of their sin and made into the objects of God’s affection (John 3:16-17). In our sin we are by nature objects of God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:3), but through Christ we can become objects of His delight (Zephaniah 3:17). As the song sings…
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For every sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.
If you are terrified by God’s wrath displayed in the fires of hell, then run to His mercy which is displayed in the cross of His Son. Let your terror turn to peace. Let your fear turn to love.