Devotional by Brian Chilton
On July 8, 1741, Jonathan Edwards, famed pastor and theologian of colonial America, delivered one of his most famed messages of all-time at a church in Enfield, Connecticut. The title of his message was “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Using Deuteronomy 32:35 as his text, Edwards argued that sinners are kept in the hands of God. Their sin pulls them to hell, whereas God tries to save them from their awful fate in hell. Using vivid language and descriptive adjectives, Edwards notes that the normal state of humanity leads toward destruction. That is, if humanity is left to its own devices, human beings drag themselves to hell.
The nationwide riots and unjustified killing of innocent people serve as depictions of what hell will be like. The looting, killing, shooting, and burning all illustrate well the hell that human beings often create for themselves. Hell is a place of rebellion. It is a place designed for rebellious entities, not originally planned for human beings.
These issues, while scary, do not take God by surprise. Jesus warned during his message on the Mount of Olives that “you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains” (Matt. 24:6-8, ESV). He goes on to say that he will return in an instantaneous fashion. Jesus says, “For as lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt. 24:27, ESV).
Going back to Edwards’s message, a parallel can be drawn from Edwards’s message to the state of our society. While the sin of society is dragging itself toward chaos, they are but birth pains which indicate that the return of Christ is closer than ever before. Is your soul right with God? When God calls the roll up yonder, will you be there?