Jonathan Edwards has been regarded as one of America’s most influential theologians. He is considered one of most influential philosophers of Protestantism Theology. He published many writings that expressed his Christian viewpoints on such issues as salvation, eternity and God’s purpose. He says Christians should not wait to be awakened by Christ before they change their ways and become better Christians.
Jonathan Edwards used this sermon to educate his congregation as well as his followers on the reality of Hell. He believes that God gave humans the chance to confess sins and avoid the wrath hell. Christians can learn through Edwards’ writings that God doesn’t have to save those who don’t make a covenant to His son Jesus Christ. This paper analyzes Edwards’ work, Sinners at the Hands an Angry GOD, in order for the reader to fully understand Edwards’s teachings.
Jonathan Edwards preached Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God as a response to his observations on the secularization of society. His congregation was warned by him that God was going to punish them much more harshly. Edwards used Deuteronomy 32.35 when he said that people were slipping towards sin. They would then be paying a higher price for their eternal existence. Edwards believes people’s lifestyles expose them to hell’s destruction, which is a place he sees as dangerous and filled with suffering. Edwards believes that a person is responsible for avoiding sin in order to avoid destruction. He warns those not in sin that God has yet to come, and that God is the only thing that can keep them. Those who fall, God will not save them. Edwards claims that God has a vengeance that is unending and can throw people into hell for failing to obey God’s commandments. This is based on the Bible and other Christian teachings. He believes that God punishes only those who are wicked and considered to be enemies of God. Jonathan Edwards believes that God’s divine justice means that sins will be punished indefinitely by being thrown to hell without objection. Hell is perceived as a place to condemn those who violate God’s teachings. Hell also contains sufferings for everyone. Edwards states that the believers will not be condemned at all (Edwards 6). Edwards describes in his sermons the flames that await sinners who fall into sin or disobey God’s instructions.
Edwards describes the hell as a place of lust and greed. Satan watches Christians committing sins on a daily basis. Hell is considered a place full of suffering and violence that will leave you feeling troubled. He wants Christians to be scared and change their lives and adhere to godly beliefs. His goal is to make Christians fearful and change their ways. He uses the example of a stormy sea to illustrate how dangerous it is for people not to change. His teachings urge men to lead a life of wisdom and care in order to enjoy a divine experience with God. Rejecting Christ will lead to eternal suffering and hell. God won’t save them despite the pain they are experiencing. He describes those who commit sins as children of men, who are often mistaken about their abilities. They lose God’s Grace, which is a vital component of God’s kingdom (Edwards 10).
New England experienced a period of modernity, secularization and political activism in the mid-1750s. The real Christian faith had been diluted by many, and people had different views on what Christians should do. People began to lose their faith (Zakai 1) because of this. Jonathan Edwards led other influential evangelists to join together and teach their followers to adhere to true Christian values, or they will suffer God’s wrath by going to hell. His sermons were designed to create tension in the congregation. He would describe how violent Hell was and how God never forgave sinners. His teachings were not popular in many major cities because they contradicted the Anglican faith that is prevalent in Europe. He allowed those who were baptized and not members to take holy communion, something which was unheard of in the major Christian denominations. Sein sermons entitled Sinners in an Angry God have sealed his reputation for explaining how to stay in God’s way and avoid slipping into devilish ways that can lead to severe suffering.
Different preachers might use different approaches to explain and help their congregations understand their sermons. Jonathan Edwards’ use of imagery in explaining hell and God’s vengeance on those who reject his teachings was profound. Edwards warns his readers and audience not to fall into hell by using words which create an image. Edwards warns his followers not to slide into hell by using words that create images in the minds of the audience or readers. The pit has opened her mouth and is holding the shining Sword over them. This phrase describes the punishment that will be given to the wicked, which includes eternal hell fires as well as a life of hardship and suffering. Images are used to demonstrate how God punishes with violence and power. The imagery has been used to show the harshness of God’s punishment for those who do not follow His will.
Edwards portrays God in his message as merciless, unforgiving and angry. He also depicts God to be brutal in his punishments and judgements. Edwards believes that God is disappointed when men do not follow the preachers’ instructions and the holy scriptures like the bible. The punishments for those who refuse to repent and follow God’s ways will be severe (Choinski and Rybicki, 351). Edwards describes God in the sermon as a person who will not forgive those who follow the devil’s ways. Edwards states clearly that God’s mercy is for all people, but he cannot help them when they are caught in the sin trap. God’s unforgiving attitude towards sinners can be seen in the way He punishes His own children for their sins. He continues to say that the people in hell have no hope of being saved by God, as God is not willing to forgive sins if they are repented before death. (Blue Letter Bible).
Jonathan Edwards says that sin is closely linked to hell, since it increases the chances of a person suffering God’s wrath. According to its author, God punishes those who reject his words by sending them into hellfire. Thomas (65) insists on God being more angry with those who do not follow his will. The sermon warns that hell awaits those who do not repent of their sins, and return to God’s will. The audience was scared of God’s judgment because of their understanding of sin. Edward says that a slip-up can happen at any time in a person’s life. It doesn’t matter how healthy or strong an individual is. This encourages Christians to renew their covenants and seek forgiveness of sins in Christ’s ways. Edwards also argues that God never promised to remove any sinners who are already in hell. Those in hell must therefore endure their suffering for eternity (Morelli). This sermon explains the harsh relationship between God’s punishments and those who are in Hell. God doesn’t allow anyone to redeem himself once they enter Hell.
Jonathan Edwards’ works have a significant role in the modern Christian faith. They help Christians to understand God’s nature and his attitude towards sinners. This sermon has changed the way people think about eternal life and helped believers to conform to the teachings of Edwards. It also clarified that God’s judgement is severe, as most Christians believe God to be all-merciful. This was explained by using parts of scripture which supported their reasoning. It has convinced Christians to live a holy life in order to receive God’s eternal love.
Jonathan Edwards’s sinners in the hands of a vengeful God has remained one of the greatest works he produced in describing the fate of those rebelling against God. Edwards’s imagery used to describe the hell caused fear among Christians. It has also played an important role in encouraging them to follow the preachers of modern society. The work of Edwards will have a lasting impact on the development of studies in theology, understanding God and punishments God may impose to those who defy His teachings.