Jonathan Edward, Sermon
Sinners in the Hands of Angry God by Jonathan Edwards is one of the most famous sermons that have ever been preached in this world. There are several metaphors and themes that the author has employed to bring the point home. The book represents an appeal that sinners need to recognize God will judge them. It also shows that the judgment by God will not only be fearful but also painful. Some of the themes that have stood out clearly include; sinners who are corrupt will face a very fearful judgment, time is very limited for those who don’t repent: the wrath of God comes unexpectedly and suddenly and that it is only the free choice of God that can extend the day of mercy.
Judgement and corruption
Edward does not pull any punch when condemning human being sinfulness. Those that are unrepentant are those that remain wicked in the eyes of God. These people are either rejected by God or are complacent. These people mainly belong to people who always believe and think that they can able to drive either their family or community in a way that will make them avoid judgment. According to Edward however, he strongly believe that sin is always controlled by devil. He believes that anyone who still has not yet experienced inward renewal or has not yet been converted is a servant of devil. This shows that he believes sinners always emphasize how helpless they are. It also shows how corrupt they are.
Alberts has used some metaphors so has to bring the situation of human beings unbelieving clear. He has even described the most powerful leaders of the world as feeble, despicable dust worms. He has also referred them as grasshoppers. The sinner on the other has been described as a spider or some other loathsome insects that are being dangled by God over the fire while being prepared for destruction. There is no single room for either pride of justification here. They have to be born again.
According to this sermon, God’s judgment is awaiting these sinners and the judgment will be terrifying. As it has been described, fire image is central when it comes to describing hell according to biblical texts concerning judgment. The descriptions of Edward are however very strong. He has also incorporated the image of an infinite pit as a descriptive of judgment. The judgment however is not fearful but truly violent
The fleeting day of mercy
The sermon of Edward cannot be divorced from the time it was written. This is due to the fact that there were so many conversations and religious zeal was also on increase at the time. This made many people to see this as unprecedented event as well as a signal of a very important moment in the Christian faith. What Edward actually wanted to mean is that Christ has now thrown the door of mercy and that it was fully opened. The door was now standing in calling and even crying with a very loud voice for the sinners to come for repentance. The judgment of heaven was also very near.
What Edward wanted was to make people have a good understanding of the fact that sinful was very utterly and makes God to be very angry. He also wanted people to understand that it is only the grace of God that any person can be saved. He also believes that there is nothing that there is nothing that can make sinful people go to heaven. The most important however was the fact that Edward wanted people to embrace God. He wanted them to have a very strong emotional relationship with God. This is because this was the only way they could be saved from facing the punishment before them. In real sense, what Edward was doing was trying to help his congregation to avoid damnation that they deserve richly. The fact that his congregation deserved the damnation and that his advice was how they could avoid it marks the major themes in his sermon.
I also have a feeling of the fact that what Edward was actually aiming was to bring about fear in the heart of his listeners. The vision of God that he present is the one where that one is expected to repent and then fall into the favor of God. Edward constructed this deliberately. This therefore shows that Edward also strived to show bring about fear and at the same time make his listeners strive to be in favor with God. The main target go Edward is to the people who always fail to believe as well as to the people who actively participate in spiritual transgressions. There is very little in this sermon that is meant reassuring those who follow the path. The main aim of Edward in fact was to strike some fear to his listeners as well as ensuring that people who are intact spiritually have not become stray or complacent. At the end of his sermon, those who are afraid of the divine is something that tends to resonate in a lucid manner.
Concerning the impact of the sermon on the Americans, Edward has actually brought out the theme of the will of God versus the power of human beings when it comes to resisting temptations and avoiding damnation through their own efforts. This can be clearly seen when he talks of one being kept out of the hell but at the same cannot see the hand of God in this but instead keep on looking at other things due to the tastes of ones bodily constructions, these are the people who only cares about their lives and the means they use for their own preservation. He adds that such things are nothing. In case God withdraws his hand, these things avail no more to keep one from falling. The only thing available for holding such people is a thin air when suspended in it.
Edward also tends to be exhorting his audience to have an understanding that the only way they can have a direct experience with God is by being born again and experiencing what he was referring to as a great change of heart. This is the only way to keep one away from the wrath of God and that by mere observance of forms of righteousness and religion is nothing but useless exercises. That it is not just enough to keep on going to church and talking good things. One has to undergo what Edward was considering as a genuine conversion experience so as to be saved from the fury of God.
Edwards, J. (1900). Sinners in the hands of an angry God. Hickory, Ky: Faith Publishers.
Kreider, G. R. (2004). Jonathan Edwards's interpretation of "Revelation" 4, 1-8, 1. Dallas (Tex.: University Press of America.
Barshinger, D. P. (2014). Jonathan Edwards and the Psalms: A redemptive-historical vision of scripture.
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