Today I’m apparently living in the hottest place on earth. With temperatures predicted to soar to 46 degrees Celsius it’s definitely a scorcher.
But you know what? Although it’s definitely hot, sitting in an air-conditioned house I’m hardly feeling it; I’m not being hit with the reality of 46 degrees.
This reminded me of a sobering passage from Jonathan Edwards’ famous 1741 sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God:”
‘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, not any Thing to take hold of: there is nothing between you and Hell but the Air; ‘tis 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 don’t 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 Hand, they would avail no more to keep you from falling, than the thin Air to hold up a Person that is suspended in it.”
How great is the grace of God that holds us out of hell! And how fearful the day that He removes His hold from those who, by their own will, have rejected it.
I have to admit, sometimes depravity makes me so mad. When I talk to someone who openly loves everything that God hates; who blatantly scorns His word and mocks His name, I sometimes feel a deep, bubbling anger rise in me.
Some would call this righteous anger, and sometimes it is; but sometimes it’s not too. Sometimes I feel aggressively angry, sometimes I wonder why God still offers these people grace.
A couple of months ago I was flying over one of Australia’s cities at night. I remember looking down and seeing the tiny cars zooming along the highways like glowing ants, and I thought about how small we all are when viewed from afar. I thought about how easy it would be for God to reach down and squish us with as little thought as we give to stepping on an ant that has bitten us.
And then I encounter depravity and I wonder why He doesn’t; sometimes I even wish He would. It’s a good thing I’m not God.
When faced with total depravity, God’s grace abounds even more. I should know, because He’s bestowed it on me. When I look at someone who curses God’s name, I must remember that ‘there but for the grace of God go I.’
And those who continue to despise and reject Him must remember that ‘today is the day of salvation,’ and they cannot assume that there will always be a future chance for repentance.