Every week I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. This week I am taking a look at Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.
The title of this blog is taken from the famous Jonathan Edwards sermon. That sermon dealt with the fact that the only thing keeping the ungodly (unsaved) out of Hell is God. In other words, God keeps such people alive and out of Hell to give them the opportunity to be saved. How long He gives them is strictly according to His will not theirs!
Just as this truth shook millions of churchgoers who heard or read this sermon the same should shake those of us who are believers. The same Bible that teaches the truth about the unsaved also teaches that while the saved are secure in the Lord they also are kept from a different judgment purely based on His will and purpose.
What do you mean?
As a believer I am forever secure. I was saved by grace, I am kept by grace, and I will continue to live according to His grace. But my rewards in Heaven are based on works.
But before we discuss that let’s take a look at the very first word in the title, namely Sinners.
Who are Sinners?
Many people believe and some even teach and preach that there are small sins, medium sized sins, and then the whoppers! Furthermore, they teach that Hell is the destination of those guilty of the big sins or whoppers. But the Bible doesn’t teach that.
In fact the Bible says in Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” and in Roman’s 3:10-12, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” In verse 23 it says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” We are all sinners! And in case you think you are the exception take a look at Revelation 21:8:
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Did you notice ‘and all liars’? It only takes one lie to become a liar. And you, my friend, have told at least one lie; and so have I!
Then all will go to Hell?
Without God in your life the answer is yes. The Jonathan Edwards sermon showed that the unbeliever (aka unsaved) is only a fraction of a second from Hell. But Roman’s 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” and has provided for us a way to Heaven. In Romans 10:13 it says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”; in other words, if you sincerely ask Jesus to save you He will. And He knows whether you are sincere or not!
Then a Believer isn’t under God’s Wrath?
That is true. However, God sets a very high standard for our behavior. When we got saved He didn’t take us home to Heaven. Instead, He left us here to serve Him. To accomplish that He wants us to triumph over our sins but we live in sinful flesh and will continue to do so until we are raptured or die!
Then we have no hope!
Wrong! If you belong to God (and all believers do) He loves you eternally. He loves you and will make a way for you to confess your sins and restore your fellowship. In 1 John 1:9 it says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Oh, you mean we can sin all we want as long as we ask forgiveness afterward?
If you approach life with that attitude you will find yourself in a world of trouble. 1 John 1:9 is not a free pass. It’s talking about real confession of the heart with the understanding that God can read our hearts and knows whether it is true or not. And don’t forget, it’s talking about forgiveness not consequences.
That’s because you haven’t discerned that the wrath of God and the judgment of believers are two separate issues. The wrath of God is upon unbelievers (unsaved) while God’s judgment of works is reserved for His children (only believers are the children of God; all people are the creation of God).
So what is this Judgment of Works?
In the old Roman arenas the victors were rewarded by leis or something of that nature. The victors would wear them like crowns. The governor or some other high official would sit upon a seat called the Bema Seat to award the victors.
Just as that governor watched and awarded the winner God is watching us. When His people (all believers in Christ) do His work He takes notice. Someday we’ll stand in His presence and He will reward us for what we did for Him. He will reward us with crowns that we’ll cast at His feet in awe and worship for Him.
Oh, then our works are involved!
For rewards, yes; for salvation, no. In Ephesians 2:10 it says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Combine that with James 2:18, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works” and you get a powerful statement of faith.
Then we are ordained to work?
Yes. We are saved by grace, ordained to work, and displayed for all the world to see.
But what if I don’t do good works?
Good question. In 1 Corinthians 9:27 Paul touched on this issue. Within that verse is the following phrase: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
Castaway is not the loss of your salvation. Rather it is the loss of usability. It means to be put on the shelf; to be worthless for service; to be unusable! It means God will reject your service!
I can’t think of anything worse than that for the believer!
Yes it is! And some don’t like that idea because it doesn’t fit with their concept of a loving God. They’ve adopted the Hollywood concept of love where God ignores our sins because He loves us! But this is not found in the Bible. He is both a loving God and a holy God. He does and He will judge sin!
God loves me but He hates it when I sin. And then there comes broken fellowship, correction, forgiveness, and restoration. But before forgiveness I must first confess. In 1 John 1:9 it says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This is a promise from God to all believers. And please note that it’s sin being forgiven, but nothing is said of the consequences! (God promises to forgive a man for drinking alcohol if he repents, but He doesn’t promise the man won’t get Cirrhosis of the liver.)
We who have trusted Christ for our salvation are spared the Wrath of God which is for an unbelieving world. But God will judge our works that follow our salvation. And if we are disobedient and thereby sin we are in danger of being castaways. It means that we could enter Heaven without any crowns to cast at Jesus’ feet! What a tragedy that would be!
In writing this blog I am very aware of my own sinfulness. I received Christ as my Savior on May 9, 1973 and have a home in Heaven. The Bible doesn’t teach sinless perfection. In fact it says in 1 John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Therefore we need to trust God, rely on His help and mercy, and worship Him with all our being!
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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. In addition he is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical and Speculative Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.