Sin is against the One True Holy God and requires punishment. For the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23; …without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Hebrews 9:22; when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might…2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 Either we are punished OR Jesus Christ is punished in our stead. God’s wrath demands justice.
In a sermon by Pastor Joe Lechner on 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12, he quoted Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”
I have heard of this renowned message that led to great revival, but I never read it in its entirety myself. I surely don’t remember the following quote about what awaits those who chose not to follow Christ, those who are not saved, regenerated, born-again, redeemed. Warning: This is difficult to read…
“’Tis everlasting Wrath. It would be dreadful to suffer this Fierceness and Wrath of Almighty God one Moment; but you must suffer it to all Eternity: there will be no End to this exquisite horrible Misery: When you look forward, you shall see a long Forever, a boundless Duration before you, which will swallow up your Thoughts, and amaze your Soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any Deliverance, any End, any Mitigation, any Rest at all; you will know certainly that you must wear out long Ages, Millions of Millions of Ages, in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless Vengeance; and then when you have so done, when so many Ages have actually been spent by you in this Manner, you will know that all is but a Point to what remains. So that our Punishment will indeed be infinite. Oh who can express what the State of a Soul in such Circumstances is!”
Perhaps, like me, you can think about this only briefly without being completely overwhelmed. But even in those brief moments we can grow in our appreciation for what we have been saved from. I believe this human description of eternal damnation should silence the fools who think they want to go to hell because that is where their friends will be or it will be one big eternal party of debauchery and absolute freedom to do whatever, whenever, however their sinful flesh desires. In reality, there will be NO pleasure in anything ever. No fun. No rest. No escape. No relief. NO RELIEF EVER.
Does that send shivers up your spine? Does your heart flip-flop as you consider the reality of a real place called hell? Mine does.
I cannot assume that all of our Victory Call readers are saved from such a horrible eternity. I cannot apologize for the bluntness of today’s VC. Your eternal destiny is at stake. Only those who trust Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and the blood He shed for sin’s payment, only those who surrender their life to God wholeheartedly will be saved.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Romans 5:6-10
Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Have you asked Him to save you? Have you accepted and believed that the blood He shed on the cross is not only NECESSARY for your salvation but it is all SUFFICIENT? You cannot add anything – not good works, not religion, not random acts of kindness, not anything to tip the scales in your favor.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (underlining mine)
My heart swells with gratitude and awe when I consider what Jesus saved me from.
Thank you Jesus. Give us a greater understanding of what we deserve and your grace that has rescued us from it.
Written by Diane Hunt: Diane Hunt serves on the board of America’s Keswick and is the Executive Director & CEO of Changed Choices, a Christian non-profit in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.