My Latest Literature Read

My Summary…………….

Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God

    ~ Jonathan Edwards: July 8, 1741

        Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758) was born in Northhampton, Massachusetts. Starting college at 13, he attended Yale for four years. After graduating, Edwards ministered at a Presbyterian church. Two years later, Edwards became a tutor but had to resign due to poor health. In 1726, he returned home and assisted his maternal grandfather until 1729. Filling his grandfather’s position as the congregation’s teacher, he started to repair doctrinal damages by teaching church membership was not based on “moral uprightness” but rather the personal conversion process and the testing of faith. During the Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards preached many sermons; however, his most famous was entitled, Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God. 

    On July 8, 1741, Jonathan Edwards, teacher of the Northhampton, Massachusetts congregation, taught a sermon on the Scriptures Amos 9:2,3 and Deuteronomy 32:35. The first passage, Amos 9:2-3, states, Though they dig into hell, from there My hand shall take them; though they climb up to heaven, from there I will bring them down; And though they hide themselves on top of Carmel, from there I will search and take them; though they hide from My sight at the bottom of the sea, from there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them;” The second, “Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; their foot shall slip in due time; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things to come hasten upon them.” Edwards begins his morning sermon with the focal point of these Scriptures, “their foot shall slip in due time”.

{ their foot shall slip in due time }

    After explaining the historical context, Edwards starts with the three Implications he notices in this phrase. First, he recognizes that it indicates the subject has been always exposed to destruction and states his basis: their foot slides. [Psalm 73:18, “Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction.” ] Along with this he includes they are subject to sudden destruction since those who slip do so in a moment [ Psalm 73:19, “Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors.”]  The second implication he observes is the subject of the passage is liable to fall of themselves as no one needs the help of another to slip but rather only their own body weight. The third is they fall at the appointed time, in due time. In other words, at the appointed, or due, time God removes His providentially sovereign and merciful hand and lets them fall from their own weight on that slippery slope. From this Edwards goes on to include his observations of the text. 

    Jonathan Edwards continues in his sermon to demonstrate his observations to the congregation. The first is there is nothing that keeps wicked men out of Hell, but the mere pleasure of God. Pleasure in this instance is defined as sovereign pleasure; arbitrary (or) will. The punishment of Hell is unavoidable since God lacks NO strength and nothing can prohibit Him from doing so. The fact that we deserve Hell {Luke 13:7} and are under condemnation already {John 3:18; 8:23} also plays a factor. Another observation Edwards noted was God’s wrath is kindled against all men equally. This essentially means those suffering in Hell this very minute are under the same degree of wrath as the one still breathing in this mortal and physical world. The Devil rejoices in knowing that some person who has not accepted Jesus’ atoning reconciliation will soon be within his gaping jaws {Luke 11:21}. The one thing that hinders him from devouring a corrupt soul any moment is the sheer providence of God’s merciful hand staying him back in his hole. Without God’s merciful protection, whether there is a lack of awe or not, the corrupt mortal would combust as the devils within his spiritual soul and body would feast and use him. To exemplify this point more, there is no security for the wicked. It can be pictured as a pit filled with lions or anything else not pleasant covered with very thin branches and leaves so that any waking moment the one walking on top could just fall through. All striving to not fall through is vanity. A question may be begged here: If God is so “Sovereign” then why does he (lower case intentional since that is the tone of one who asks) not protect me? The most logical answer seems to be that God is a JUST God. Therefore, He must punish those who have rebelled or sinned against Him. It is likened to a Father who gives His children free will to do what they will but gives them rules to live by. If they disobey those rules then they are deserving of punishment, yes? Thus God is a JUST God and is incapable of breaking any law.  How does this apply to me?

In conclusion, Edwards bluntly applies his amazing sermon to the unconverted. In doing so, he points out that Creation groans underneath the weight of mankind’s evil nature and the weight of being used to glorify evil and not God’s glory. Following this brief revelation, he discussed the dangers of the wrath the corrupt and unrepentant are under. First, he points out the severity of Whose wrath it is. The sinner is under the wrath of Almighty God! (For parallel passages, Edwards uses Luke 12:45 and Proverbs 20:2) Second, Edwards relates another danger: The Fierceness of His Wrath (Isaiah 59:18, 66:15, and Rev. 19:15). God’s wrath is kindled fiercely since the corrupt sinner has rebelled and ignored His merciful love. The last danger he states is that His Wrath Is Eternal. It isn’t just something to playfully ignore, but rather something to mournfully consider. Finishing his thoughts up, Jonathan emphasizes Proverbs 1:25-26: God laughs and mocks at the futility of rebellious mankind. 

The Sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God cannot be stressed enough unless you read it for yourself. It is a sermon all mankind needs to hear in this present age and be of reminded often. It is my hope that this summary will fuel you to read it yourself regardless of your spiritual health. Jonathan Edwards was an amazing testimony to the Colonial Period clergymen and was definitely used by God’s hand. His ministry ended when he was called home after a botched smallpox inoculation. Nevertheless, his life and ministry will be remembered far past that fateful day and hopefully repeated to future posterity. The message is one we need to hear of daily. Finally, as Jonathan Edwards said in his famous sermon, “Now God stands ready to pity you; this is a Day of Mercy; you may cry now with some encouragement of obtaining Mercy: but when once the Day of Mercy is past, your most lamentable and dolorous Cries and Shrieks will be in vain;”


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