Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sinners In the Hands of An Angry God

My Father (the earthly one) once told me that he appreciated a good fire-and-brimstone sermon, as compared to a watered-down appeal to "be good." Well, in my near 4 years of being saved, I've not heard a more frightening wake up call than Jonathan Edwards' classic: "Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God." Here it is, with updated language (the original was first preached in 1741).
This sermon helps remind me why Hell MUST be eternal. The answer is also why hell must exist at all, and be so horrible. God will be glorified in one of two ways: A) By showing His unfathomable love, or B) By showing His equally devastating, powerful wrath. Would you respect a so-called righteous judge who let known criminals free? Some have wondered why the punishment must be so harsh. My response would be: "Do you believe punishments should fit the crime?" If so, how should one be punished for a lifetime of offending the explicit laws of one's creator? Should that punishment be made more severe if the judge Himself took the offender's punishment, but the offender said "forget you - I'll take the punishment myself?" Should the judge go light on the offender when His offer to transfer the punishment involved brutally killing his Son?
The Bible says that no eye has seen, nor can any man even imagine the wonders God has in store for those who love Him. I recently heard a preacher suggest that God must give us a new body - including better senses - to be able to handle the pleasures of heaven. Without such upgraded pleasure sensors, we would simple explode (or something similar) at God's glory. Conversely, hell will involve the flip side of that - unimaginable horrors. God will make our bodies eternal one way or the other after death. Those in hell will have a body where "the worm dieth not." Thus, those in hell will also have an "upgraded body." That body will be one that has all the capacity for feeling an eternity of excruciating pain, with none of the hope of a moment's reprieve. Either way, we are all destined for an eternity of understanding (in a highly personal way) God's power. The only question is, do you want to understand that power as it manifests in love, or punishment. God's word tells us that he desires that none should suffer His wrath, but He gives us the choice. Have you made your decision yet?

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