What imagery flashes through your mind when reading the words, “Sinner in the hands of an angry God?” The most memorable exhortation in centuries was a sermon of this title given on July 8, 1741, by Jonathan Edwards. Edwards created a passionate response to word-pictures of people suffering in the fiery pit of hell. His premise was that God’s vengeance against the sinner put them there. Following the delivery of this sermon, a great revival ensued. This interpretation begs the question—Do we repent because of our love for God, or because of our fear of the fiery pit of hell?
How can I reconcile this vengeful image of God with the God of love? Can I adore someone who is judging me according to performance? Constant fear of never being able to measure up to the standards of a perfect God, drive people to despair. My God’s love found a home in my heart which gave me the desire to change. Fear cannot be the motive for coming to God. Love is the only reason people change; everything else is an obligatory performance.
Do you have children? Do you rejoice over their negative behavior? No. What if they detest you, want nothing to do with you, mock you before others or hate everything you stand for, is that enough to destroy them?
A Mount St. Helens man in Washington State received multiple warnings to evacuate his home due to danger from the mountain’s imminent eruption. Nothing and no one could change his mind—he remained. When the volcano erupted on Sunday morning, May 18, 1980, Harry Truman died by choice as the mud and snow avalanche hit his lodge.
God’s anger on Judgment Day He directs toward the sin that took His children from Him. Even though the judged may stay their course in the face of certain death, God’s love for them has not changed. Even the soldiers who drove spikes in Jesus’ hands received His prayer of forgiveness. God hates evil because evil/sin destroys His beloved children, “the apple of His eye.
This world draws near to eruption; the warning signs are here. Jesus is calling His children to safety under His tender watch and care.
Ezekiel 18: 31-32
Why will you die, people of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live.