SINNERS IN THE HANDS OF A FORGIVING GOD!
by David J. Stewart
2nd Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
There is a famous sermon titled, SINNERS IN THE HANDS OF AN ANGRY GOD. It is an excellent sermon by Pastor Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), touching upon the taboo subject in today's churches of sin, judgment and hellfire. Would to God that more preachers preached on these topics.
But may I also say that we are all SINNERS IN THE HANDS OF A FORGIVING GOD as well. The Bible has much to say about God's forgiveness, just as it does concerning God's wrath. The Bible says that God invites all mankind to be saved, even the vilest of sinners...
Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
The word “crimson” comes from a Hebrew word that refers to a worm used to make dye. God is saying that even if our life is stained with sin (so bad that it's like permanent dye in our clothes that won't come out), God will cleanse that sin away. The Bible teaches that it is Jesus' precious blood that washes our sins away in 1st John 1:7...
1st John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
Again in Revelation 1:5 we read the precious Words...
Revelation 1:5, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”
What Does Isaiah 55:7 Mean?
There's much misunderstanding about repentance today in America.
We read in the Bible...
Isaiah 55:6-7, “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
The word "way" in Isaiah 55:7 doesn't mean to cease from committing sins as some ignorant Bible scholars claim. Biblical repentance is "a change of mind"; not a change of lifestyle. Salvation is turning to God to be forgiven in Jesus' name; not reforming one's life as a prerequisite to faith in God. Romans 3:19, "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." Biblically, you simply need to believe on Christ to be forgiven of your sins. That is the simplicity of salvation in Christ.
Some Bible teachers like John MacArthur and Ray Comfort have attempted to misquote Charles Spurgeon to support their Lordship Salvation heresy; but they need to keep reading Spurgeon's sermons, because Charles Spurgeon clearly DIDN'T believe in giving up sins to be saved...
"You must not expect that you will be perfect in "repentance" before you are saved. No Christian can be perfect. "Repentance" is a grace. Some people preach it as a condition of salvation. Condition of nonsense! There are no conditions of salvation. God gives the salvation himself..." —Charles Spurgeon
SOURCE: Charles Spurgeon, sermon: REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE [http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0044.htm (from a sermon preached at the New Park Street Chapel, Southwark, on September 23, 1855)]
Clearly, Charles Haddon Spurgeon DIDN'T believe that forsaking one's sins, or grieving, or feeling sorrow, or being willing to turn from them, was necessary to be saved. Rather, Spurgeon believed that they were evidences of genuine repentance. Spurgeon did in fact teach, as have other great men of God, that a sinner ought to turn from his or her sins as evidence of genuine repentance; but this is after-the-fact, and not a requirement for salvation itself. Spurgeon plainly taught "there are no conditions of salvation," which is what the Bible teaches. We are sinners and Jesus is the Savior!
Pastor Harry Ironside (1876-1951) DIDN'T teach Lordship Salvation, he simply taught that Biblical repentance was necessary for salvation, which is evidenced in the following quote by Pastor Ironside...
"Repentance is the very opposite of meritorious experience. It is the confession that one is utterly without merit, and if he is ever saved at all it can only be through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, 'who gave himself a ransom for all.' Here is firm footing for the soul who realizes that all self-effort is but sinking sand. Christ alone is the Rock of our salvation."
SOURCE: Harry A. Ironside; Except Ye Repent, pg. 36
Clearly, Ironside taught a Free Grace view of the Gospel. Consider further the following quote by Dr. Ironside...
Ezekiel 33:11-13 explains what Isaiah 55:7 means...
Ezekiel 33:11, “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth. When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.”
Notice the phrase in Verse 13, IF HE TRUST TO HIS OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS! This is the evil way which a man must turn from to be saved, that is, from his own self-righteousness. Anyone who trusts in their own self-righteousness will die IN THEIR SINS (John 8:24) and none of the good works done in their life will be remembered by God. Those who reject Christ by trusting in their own self-righteous works will go to Hell forever. Many false religions have deceived people into believing that they are going to Heaven; but they are not as Jesus plainly taught in Luke 13:23-24, Matthew 7:13-14 and Matthew 7:21-23. The Apostle Paul gave the same warning in Romans 10:3-4 and 2nd Corinthians 11:3-4 and 11:13-15.
God Will Forgive Anybody
We read a precious passage of Scripture in Psalm 103. This was Pastor Jack Hyles' (1926-2001) mother's favorite passage of Scripture...
Psalms 103:11-14, “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”
Notice in Psalm 103:12 that God separates ours sins as far as the east is from the west. You can travel east and never find west. You can travel west and never find east. However, you can only go so far up north until you'll be going south. And you can only go so far south until you'll be headed back up north again. Isn't it beautiful what the Bible teaches here... God has separated our sins as far as the east is from the west. How far is that? We'll they NEVER MEET! Amen and amen!
The Bible teaches that we are a bunch of dirty, rotten, hell-deserving, guilty sinners (Romans 3:19). Here is Isaiah 64:6, which says that even our righteousness as as filthy rags...
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."
This Scriptures explains Ezekiel 33:11-13. Our own righteousness cannot save us. Romans 10:3-4 and Ephesians 2:8-9 clarify this. Any attempt to merit or earn one's way into the kingdom of God is to become a thief and a robber (John 10:1-9). There's only one way into Heaven, and that is through the front gate, which is through Jesus Christ (John 14:6).
Please read this brief excerpt from Jonathan Edwards' famous sermon, SINNERS IN THE HANDS OF AN ANGRY GOD...
“The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to hell the last night; that you was suffered to awake again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep. And there is no other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning, but that God's hand has held you up. There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell, since you have sat here in the house of God, provoking his pure eyes by your sinful wicked manner of attending his solemn worship. Yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down into hell.”
SOURCE: SINNERS IN THE HANDS OF AN ANGRY GOD! by Jonathan Edwards; preached in Enfield, Connecticut; July 8, 1741
Oh listen my friend, do you have any idea just how sinful you and I are? We are so sinful that even one sin is all it takes to end up in the Lake of Fire for all eternity (James 2:10; Revelation 20:15). We need Jesus' righteousness, that is, God's righteousness (2nd Corinthians 5:21). We learn in Jonah 2:9 that “Salvation is of the LORD.”
We are all sinners in the hands of an angry God, that is true (John 3:36; Psalm 7:11); but we are also sinners in the hands of a forgiving God (2nd Peter 3:9; John 3:16). God is fair and just and willing to forgive (1st John 1:9), if we'll come for forgiveness by way of the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:10-12).
This world is filled with ingrates today who hate Jesus Christ, like comedian Sarah Silverman. The real joke is her sad heathen life. There's is nothing more wicked than to blaspheme the Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9)...
“Good! I hope the Jews did kill Christ, I'd do it again. I'd F*cking do it again in a second!” —Jewish comedian, Sarah Silverman, Jesus is Magic; 72-minute movie, 2006
Conan Mocks God, Jokes About Going to Hell
Forgiveness for the Worst Sinner
Repent! Repent! Repent!
"And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible." —Isaiah 13:11
"Ye that love the LORD, hate evil..." —Psalm 97:10
Ye Must Be Born Again!
You Need HIS Righteousness!