Saturday, May 19, 2018

God in the Hands of Angry Sinners

Perhaps the most famous sermon ever preached in America was the one Jonathan Edwards delivered called “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Edwards preached another famous sermon that can be viewed as a sequel to his most famous. He titled the sermon, “Men Naturally God’s Enemies.” If I can presume to improve Edwards’ title, I would suggest “God in the Hands of Angry Sinners.”

If we are unconverted, one thing is absolutely certain: We hate God. The Bible is unambiguous about this point. We are God’s enemies.

Romans 5 teaches: “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son.…” The central motif of the New Testament is reconciliation. Reconciliation is not necessary for those who love each other. God’s love for us is not in doubt. The shadow of doubt hangs over us. By nature, our attitude toward God is not one of indifference. It is a posture of malice. Our natural hearts are devoid of affection for Him; they are frozen to His holiness. By nature, the love of God is not in us.

If God were to expose His life to our hands, He would not be safe for a second. We would not ignore Him; we would destroy Him. This charge may seem extravagant and irresponsible until we examine once more the record of what happened when God did appear in Christ. Christ was not simply killed. He was murdered by the hands of malicious men.

His divine nature did not perish on the cross. It was His humanity that was put to death. Had God made His divine essence vulnerable to the executioner’s nails, then Christ would still be dead and God would be absent from heaven. Had the sword pierced the soul of God, the ultimate revolution would have been successful and man would now be king.

When we understand the character of God, when we grasp something of His holiness, then we begin to understand the radical character of our sin and helplessness. Helpless sinners can only survive by grace.

How can we love a holy God? The simplest answer I can give to this vital question is that we can’t. Loving a holy God is beyond our moral power.

Unless we are born of the Spirit of God, unless He stoops in His grace to change our hearts, we will not love Him. He is the One who takes the initiative to restore our souls.