The bridge collapse yesterday made me think of this sermon. Not because it made me think of how we are sinners... although we are all sinners. Not because God isn't angry at us... although he is. I don't think that the bridge collapsing really has anything in particular to do with the fact that we're sinners, or that he's angry, any more than my daughter waking up with a sore neck this morning had anything to do with us being sinners or that he's angry. Maybe it did, but I do not know the mind of God, it's not in my place to say why it happened. In Jesus' day, 18 people died when a tower collapsed. He remarked to the people of his day that the people in the tower were not worse sinners than anybody else. It was just something that happened.
The tragedy yesterday reminded me of "Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God" because of how Jonathan Edwards talked about the suddenness of how our lives end. How God keeps us alive not because we deserve it, but because He is so good. But it is also up to Him to decide when our lives will end. People who are unsaved are kept from the pit of hell on a thread so fragile... if God decides that it is time for them to go, there is nothing they can do to fight it. We might be able to fight a King... usually without success however... but there is nothing that we can do to fight God. We are just worms in his sight.
I reread parts of the sermon last night... it's really long so it's hard to read the whole thing all at once. But his description of hell and wrath really struck me. I found it a little scary.
We have to think of:
- Whose wrath it is. Wow. If my baby gets mad at me because I won't let him roll over on the changing table or chew on electric wiring... who cares, he's powerless. If my 5 year old gets mad at me because I won't let her eat candy for dinner, still not a big deal. If my husband gets mad at me, he can make me feel bad. If I get caught speeding and I make the police angry because I curse at them, they might throw me in jail. If I assaulted the president and he is angry, I'll get in even more trouble. How much more serious is it that GOD is angry with us?
- The fierceness of God's wrath. I'm a person, so I really don't understand God's goodness too much. But I suppose if I made someone, gave him life, gave him air to breathe and food to eat, gave him friends, clothes, a nice bed to sleep in, and in America wonderful little gadgets like televisions and computers... if I was God... and I was good, and I made someone and gave him all those things... and in return he broke all my laws, used my name as a curse word, hated me with a venomous passion, hated the people that loved me... I think that I would be torqued. And since I am not good and can not understand how good God is... I can't understand how fierce his anger is at us as a society (and everyone in the world, for that matter). I'm thinking that it's probably pretty bad though.
- The misery that people in hell suffer. I don't understand how powerful God is... but I know that it only took 6 days to create the Heavens and the Earth. If it only took 6 days to create the universe... that we in the thousands of years that humankind has been on earth have only begun to explore and barely understand... I do not want to even come near to imagining the misery of people in hell. It's scary to even think about.
- The wrath is everlasting. One person made this analogy about Heaven: if a bird picked up a grain of sand and flew that grain of sand to the nearest star, and then came back and picked up another grain of sand and carried it to the star again (and so on) until every last piece of dirt on earth was transplanted on the star, we wouldn't even be getting ready for breakfast yet. We would just be getting started in Heaven. Likewise, the people in Hell will just be getting started as well. They have no hope of ever escaping. No matter how old you end up being... no matter what you go through on Earth... it is nothing in the blip of time known as eternity... whether we are in an eternity of eternal paradise or eternal damnation.
So I was thinking about all that. It really scares me. Not that I don't think that I'm saved. I know that Jesus died for me. I have repented and I trust Jesus as my savior. What scares me is that there are people living and dying today who are not going to Heaven. There are people in Hell today that died in Noah's flood... they've been there for thousands of years already, but they have barely begun. There were people yesterday who died, whether by collapsing bridge, war, disease, accidents, or crime... and they do not have the chance to repent. It's too late for them. I am scared for them. I am scared for the people that are headed in that direction.
Those of us who are saved and have Jesus as our Savior do not get off the hook. What we do today will affect our entire eternity as well. Do we teach our kids about Jesus? Do we tell others about Jesus? Do people know that we are Christians? What will Jesus say to us when we arrive in eternity? Will Jesus be pleased with us? Or will he look at us with sad eyes, and tell us of the people that he placed in our pathways that could have gotten saved, but we never bothered to tell them about the love of God.
I know that I'm guilty. I could have done more.