II. Sinners in the Hands of an angry God – Dt 32:35
1) Man is always exposed to destruction.
2) This destruction is sudden and unexpected.
3) They fall into said destruction on their own.
4) The only reason a man has not yet fallen is that God’s appointed time is not come.
II. Doctrinal Observation
1) There is no lack of power for God to cast anyone into hell.
2) Man deserves this, therefore God’s justice would be served in casting man into hell.
3) This would simply fulfill the sentence of condemnation under which they already are.
4) They are under the same wrath and anger of God that constitutes the torments of hell. God is even angrier with some on earth than he is with some already in hell!
5) The devil is ready to have them as his own. The devils always stand at the ready to take them as prey.
6) The corrupt principles in the soul of natural man are the very seeds of hell-fire. The heart, as a sink of sin, if let loose, would turn into a firey oven.
7) Good health provides false security as man walks over a rotten covering that could fall through at any moment. Only the will of God prevents the death arrows from flying.
8) Diligent prudence of man is no security from the divine providence of God.
9) Man is foolish in his attempts to escape hell apart from turning to Christ.
10) God is under no obligation to natural man. He is only obligated by the promises contained in the covenant of grace. The Mediator of the covenant of grace is the key to escaping God’s wrath. The preservation of unbelievers, moment by moment, is the mere will of an uncovenanted, incensed God.
In this section , Edwards’ is at his rhetorical best. The heaviness of the sinner’s sin makes him extremely sinkable. Just as a spider’s web could not uphold a falling rock, so the sinner will fall. The wrath of God is like damned waters about to flow due to the sinner’s wickedness which only serves to store up wrath against himself. The wrath of God is described here also in terms the arrow imagery. Only the pleasure of God prevents the arrow from being released and made drunk with the sinner’s blood. God’s wrath is also pictured as tough the sinner is held over the fires of hell by God as though on a slender spider’s web. The flames lick against the web threatening to singe the web and drop the sinner into eternal torment. The sinner is lost to this dreadful condition lest he gains an interest in the Mediator. Edwards proceeds to further describe the wrath:
1) This wrath is the wrath of an infinite God, not simply of a mere man.
2) The fierceness of his wrath excludes all pity, and assures the hated sinner of being crushed under God’s feet.
3) The sinner will be the occasion for God to display to angels and men just how terrible his wrath actually is.
4) Just as God is infinite, so his wrath is everlasting. In this is a dire warning for people of all ages to flock to Christ. Men must repent of their hardened hearts and fly from the wrath that is to come.
Edwardsian Links (next page)
M nn, 44, 258, 275, 279, 441, 491, 690, 1284, 1348, 1356, 2, 367, 617, 825, 1091
History of the work of Redemption, III.II
History of the Work of Redemption, “Improvement of the Whole,” X