Thursday, 24 March 2011

Taking Great Pains to Warn About Eternal Pain

Jonathan Edwards was a man who was keenly aware of the dreadful reality of hell, an eternal conscious torment for all those who reject Jesus. He is well known by many simply because of a single sermon he preached, entitled Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, which set before his hearers in vivid imagery the reality and the seriousness of hell. Edwards has much to say to us today (and not only on the matter of hell), he said these words about why we ought to speak about hell, which no doubt were part of the reason why he preached such a sermon:
If there be really a hell of such dreadful and never-ending torments, as is generally supposed, of which multitudes are in great danger—and into which the greater part of men in Christian countries do actually from generation to generation fall, for want of a sense of its terribleness, and so for want of taking due care to avoid it—then why is it not proper for those who have the care of souls to take great pains to make men sensible of it? Why should they not be told as much of the truth as can be?
(Jonathan Edwards, The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God)
If we truly believe in hell, which the Bible clearly tells us is a terrifying reality for all those who do not bow the knee to Jesus, and if we truly love people,  then ought this not drive us to "take great pains" to warn people of it and point them to the only one in whom there is refuge from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).