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God in the Hands of Angry Sinners

Jonathan Edwards politically correctThis is a tough chapter. Almost ugly.

Chapter 9 in The Holiness of God challenges me to check my heart. And instead of finding how good I am in there, I see how self-righteous I still am instead.

It all starts with Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Honestly, would it play in most churches today? Who wants to hear about a God of wrath anymore? The God we’ve conceived in our image would override such a temper.

But as R.C. Sproul points out,

If we think soberly for five seconds, we must see our error. If God is holy at all, if God has an ounce of justice in His character, indeed if God exists as God, how could He possibly be anything else but angry with us?

We violate His holiness; we insult His justice; we make light of His grace. These things can hardly please him.

Well, if you put it that way.

It’s only by God’s gracious hand holding you up that “you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning” (Jonathan Edwards). If you had to depend on your own righteousness to keep you out of hell instead of depending on God’s, you’d have no more chance than “a spider’s web would have to stop a falling rock.” (And really much less than that.)

God’s wrath is divine, is fierce, and is everlasting. So why do we STILL not take it seriously?

We think hell couldn’t happen to us.

We’re almost insulted at the thought. We mistakenly assume that our God of love could never do such a thing. But if our God is not a holy God with holy justice, he is not God at all.

Edwards’ sequel sermon (with Sproul’s rewording) was “God in the Hands of Angry Sinners.” Anyone not born again is an enemy of God and hates God. He considers God unworthy of worship and refuses to be ruled by him. The love of God is not in him. Want proof? Look at what such men did to Jesus.

But that’s not us, we cry. We love God. Yet even here Sproul reminds us to be careful:

There remains a vestige of our fallen nature with which we must struggle every day.

There still resides a corner of the soul that takes no delight in God. We see its ragged edge in our continued sin, and we can observe it in our lethargic worship.

Ouch. So what’s a self-righteous, sinner to do? Throw ourselves into God’s gracious hands.

On our own, we can never love him as he deserves to be loved. But the more we realize his love for us and the more he continues to change our hearts, the more we can love him, wrath and all.

* * *The_Holiness_of_God_by_R.C.Sproul

Chapter 10, Looking beyond Shadows

More on Chapter 9 at Challies
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Rebecca Marchbanks said...

Lisa, I have so enjoyed reading your thoughts on this book! I still haven't ordered it on my Kindle but hope to get it and read over the Christmas break.

Lisa notes... said...

You'll enjoy Sproul's thoughts much more than mine so it's good you're reading mine first. :-)

I've loved reading it on my Kindle, but beware: If you're like me and highlight a lot of passages, this book has a tight limit. I exceeded mine very early in the book. However, the highlights still show up on my online Kindle account, just not my actual Kindle.

Carrie said...

That. is. awesome. Love the title, love the cartoon, and ouched my way through the thoughts!

Becky said...

Yes,a though chapter.

If we don't love Him as He is, "wrath and all" as you say, then we are not loving Him at all!

So true!

Praising the "I AM" today.


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