This is an excerpt from Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards. I think Edwards does an excellent, truthful, poetic, Scriptural job of summing up the destiny of all men apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit to bring us to faith Christ. As difficult as it is to swallow, it is simply the mere sovereign pleasure, power, and mercy of God that holds any wrath-deserving sinner living outside of Christ from falling into eternal condemnation forever.
How patient and merciful is this great God who bears with wicked sinners who spit on His name day after day in their words and actions, who take for granted all that He sovereignly blesses them with? Thank God for Christ, that He underwent this very torment and was indeed cut off from the land of the living on the cross, experiencing the wrath of God Himself for the sake of His people, to rescue them from this awful, terrifying eternal torment. Praise God that whosoever believes in Him should not perish and experience this awful plight forever, but rather that they may have everlasting life to dwell before this great and powerful God forever.
“The use of this awful subject may be for awakening unconverted persons in this congregation. This that you have heard is the case of every one of you that are out of Christ.-That world of misery, that lake of burning brimstone, is extended abroad under you. There is the dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God; there is hell’s wide gaping mouth open; and you have nothing to stand upon, nor any thing to take hold of, there is nothing between you and hell but the air; it is only the power and mere pleasure of God that holds you up.
You probably are not sensible of this; you find you are kept out of hell, but do not see the hand of God in it; but look at other things, as the good state of your bodily constitution, your care of your own life, and the means you use for your own preservation. But indeed these things are nothing; if God should withdraw his band, they would avail no more to keep you from falling, than the thin air to hold up a person that is suspended in it.
Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell; and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf, and your healthy constitution, and your own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell, than a spider’s web would have to stop a falling rock.”
“And now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has thrown the door of mercy wide open, and stands in calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners; a day wherein many are flocking to him, and pressing into the kingdom of God. Many are daily coming from the east, west, north and south; many that were very lately in the same miserable condition that you are in, are now in a happy state, with their hearts filled with love to him who has loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own blood, and rejoicing in hope of the glory of God. How awful is it to be left behind at such a day! To see so many others feasting, while you are pining and perishing! To see so many rejoicing and singing for joy of heart, while you have cause to mourn for sorrow of heart, and howl for vexation of spirit! How can you rest one moment in such a condition?”
The entire sermon can be found here:
http://www.jonathanedwards.com/sermons/ … inners.htm