Print Friendly, PDF & Email

(Click here to search for all the posts in this series…)

Original Author – Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
Enfield, ConnecticutJuly 8, 1741

2004 Version Author – Brent Riggs •
Tulsa, OklahomaJuly 8, 2004

You can download the entire message here:

2004 Preface

I love to rewrite the Puritan and Reformation prayers into modern English, utilizing my own particular style that God has blessed me with. I believe God has impressed me to write a modern version of one of the greatest sermons of all time – “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”.

Make no mistake – the thoughts and the outline of this message are originally Jonathan Edward’s (from God first of course). As a teacher, I would not be worthy to do his laundry. I just felt, given our different vocabulary and reading skills of today, it was time to write a version of his sermon for the 21st century Christian.

This is NOT a word for word translation, but a paraphrase of his message in my own words and style. I have followed the outline and thought pattern of his message, and adding my own thoughts where I believed them to be applicable to our times (my additions are identified by italics type).

This message by Jonathan Edwards is not only a classic, but it was also the spark that lit a revival all across America in his time.

Why not a revival today? America has been soft pedaled a feel-good, “Jesus will improve your life”, positive-self-esteem Word of God for many decades. The result is a weak Church, a worldly people, and a far too casual attitude about sin… accompanied by a lack of fear about the reality of hell for those who do not obey God.

It is simply not “American”, “civilized” or “polite” to reveal the jealous, angry God who hates sin and MUST by His own character, repay sin with the appropriate compensation – DEATH. (Rom 3.23).

But this IS the God we so easily dismiss. Yes, He is loving; but He is an all consuming jealous God. Yes, He is patient and merciful; but He is also fearsome and terrible to those who reject His Son. Yes, He will bless you with an abundant life of contentment and peace; but He will condemn to the eternal flames of hell those who do not turn from their wickedness.

There is no second chance. There is no other way. The only thing between you and hell is our God, who is angered by sin and will not fail to punish every single person who does not obey HIS message of salvation.

This is the Gospel that our country needs to hear, and perhaps we will repent, as individuals, as families, as communities and as a nation; then God will hear, and heal our land and bless our homes and nation.

Please pass this on to as many people as you can.

Brent Riggs

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God – 2004

Deuteronomy 32:35 Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things to come hasten upon them.’ (NKJV; emphasis mine)

In this verse, God promises to punish the wicked, unresponsive and unbelieving Israelites. In the Old Testament times, the Israelites were God’s people on earth; they were His chosen children who lived under God’s protection and grace.

But despite all of God’s wonderful blessings, they denied God and pretty much kicked Him out of their nation and society (sound familiar in our world today?). Even though God did everything He could to be patient and bring the Israelites back in line, they still persisted in their wickedness and sin. (sound anything like the world today?)

In our opening verse, you see the phrase “their foot shall slip in due time”. There are four things this phrase seems to imply about the punishment and destruction that was about to come on the Israelites for their continued disobedience (as you read these, consider whether or not God would punish our wickedness today in the same manner… after all, He has never failed to punish an evil nation… is America [or other countries] somehow exempt from God’s justice?)

  1. If you are standing on slippery surface, are you not predisposed to slipping? If you put yourself into wicked situations, are you not prone to sinning? If you continue to do wrong, are you not destined to be punished? The phrase “their foot shall slip in due time” seems to imply that because the Israelites had chosen to ignore God, was it not only a matter of time before God would respond appropriately?

  2. The phrase also implies that God’s judgment would be sudden, and unexpected. Just like walking on an icy sidewalk, you never know when you are going to slip and fall. It could happen at any time, and it will happen very quickly when it does. You have no idea when it will occur; then ‘whoosh!’, down you go!

    Psalm 73:18-19 Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. (NKJV)

  3. Another implication is that people fall because of themselves, not because someone pushes them down. When a person goes down on a slippery sidewalk, they only need their own body weight. No outside push is necessary.

  4. We also find that the fall comes at the time that GOD has determined. “In due time” means “at the appointed time”. Who is capable of determining that time? God of course. It’s not that God will push them down; no, it will be that God will simply no longer hold them up. Sinners fall by their own weight, God does not cause it. They only reason it doesn’t happen sooner is God’s mercy and patience.

So here is the point I want you to understand about this: there is nothing that keeps the wicked and sinful person from dying and going straight to hell this very moment but the mere pleasure of God.

What does “mere pleasure” mean? It means His sovereign pleasure. God can do whatever He wants and is under NO obligation to seek our approval. He is hindered by no one, and no thing.

The fact that the preservation of the wicked from hell for one single moment, or the delaying of the sinner’s death and consignment to hell this very second is due solely to pleasure of God can be seen as true when we consider the following:

  1. There is certainly no lack of power or ability in God to cast sinful men into hell at any moment that He chooses. Obviously He could do this, so the fact that He does not, displays His pleasure in delaying.

    If God chose to cast us in to hell, we would be powerless to stop it. God can do it, and do it easily if He so chooses.

    Sometimes an earthly authority has trouble getting an outlaw under control who has some means of fighting back, or perhaps has recruited a group of criminals to fight with him. But this is not true for God.

    There is no place to hide from God, or place to hole up and fight Him off. Even if every person on earth decided to join together to go against God, they won’t last a single second longer than if it was only one person.

    Anyone attempting to go against God will be like a blade of grass in a tornado; or like dry hay in a firestorm. It would be easier for God to defeat all the armies of the world that it would be for you or I to crush a worm on sidewalk by stomping on it.

    How easy would it be for you to burn a single piece of thread in two that held something up in the air? Just put a lighter to it for one second and the thing “hanging by a thread” would fall. So it would be infinitely easier for God to “let go” of the thread that keeps us from falling into hell.

    Who are we to argue this truth to the God before whom the entire earth trembles, and the mountains are crumbled to the ground?

  2. Second, the wicked DESERVE to be cast into hell; there is nothing “unfair” about it. If God chose to destroy all sinners this very moment, it would be perfectly just and right. In fact, justice CALLS for our punishment!

    Justice says “let wickedness be punished!” and of course this is right. The sword of justice could cut the strand that holds us from plunging into hell at any moment; and it is only the will of God that delays this from occurring.

  3. The sinner is already condemned to hell, just like a criminal who is sentenced to jail. The sinner not only deserves hell, but the sentence and the pronouncement of condemnation has already been proclaimed. Why? Because it is the proper consequence of sin as it separates us from the eternal righteousness of God. Hell is already a certainty, a just certainty, and inevitable certainty for those who die without Christ.

    John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (NKJV)

    Every person who dies without believing in and responding to Jesus Christ belongs in hell. That is tough language in today’s world of ‘positive’ religion and ‘let’s don’t mention hell” seeker-friendly churches. But it is the truth; the real, awful truth. For example, consider this quote from one of today’s most popular “Christian” leaders, Robert Schuller:

    “I don’t think anything has been done in the name of Christ and under the banner of Christianity that has proven more destructive to human personality and, hence, counterproductive to the evangelism enterprise than the often crude, uncouth, and unchristian strategy of attempting to make people aware of their lost and sinful condition.” (Christianity Today,
    October 5, 1984)

    John 8:23-24 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (NKJV)

    The proper place of unrepentant sinners is hell; “you are from beneath”. And there in hell the sinner is trapped because it is the proper place where God’s justice must be served… that is the result of His unchangeable law that proclaims clearly what the penalty of sin is (Rom 3.23)

The unbelieving sinner is the object of the very same anger and violence that is found in the torments of hell. The only reason the sinner does not go to hell today, is not because God, who is in control of all, does not have, right now at this very moment, the very same hellish anger towards their sin. Don’t believe that God is not angered over sin just because He is silent for a short time, or because no hellish consequences have been delivered.

No, don’t mistake God’s patience for apathy because even now many miserable and eternally lost people are already experiencing the torments of hell. Billions of unrepentant sinners can already attest to the fierceness of God’s holy anger.

Because we have the revealed Truth at our fingertips today, no doubt that God is even a great deal more angered with the multitudes on earth today who ignore or deny Him. There is no question that even a great many who read this sentence at this moment are in danger of God’s anger to an even greater degree than those who already suffer in hell. Why? Because many in hell already did not have the vast resources of the Bible and the Gospel message that we enjoy today. We have no excuse.

Do not be mistaken… it is not because God is ignoring wickedness today, or that He doesn’t notice it, that keeps every sinner from being cut loose into hell at this moment. God is not like us, so we must not harbor any foolishness that He is forgetful or thinks lightly of our sin.

The wrath of God burns with full fury in preparation for the careless, rebellious or ignorant sinner. Hell is prepared to receive those who deserve to be there. The sentence has been pronounced, the torments are waiting. Hell rages and glows hot in anticipation.

Even now, as the unbelieving sinner dangles over those flames, the Sword of Wrath has been sharpened and the Swordsman is ready to sever the thread that keeps sinners from the plunge. Hell is open wide to receive its eternal inhabitants.

End of part ONE
You can download the entire message here: