Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The End of the Wicked

The first discussion we ever had in the original Round Table dealt with the end of the unsaved, and how we, the chosen saved, could and should relate to them and think about their fate. You original knights will recall that I had an uncle, a really nice guy, pass away unexpectedly, without ever having accepted Our Lord as his saviour.

Well, apparently Christians have had this dilemma ever since Christ told the young man to "let the dead bury their own dead." (Luke 9)

The great Puritan preacher, Jonathan Edwards, gave on the subject. Here's an excerpt.

At the day of judgment, the saints in glory at Christ's right hand, will see the wicked at the left hand in their amazement and horror, will hear the judge pronounce sentence upon them, saying, " Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels;" and will see them go away into everlasting punishment. But the Scripture seems to hold forth to us, that the saints will not only see the misery of the wicked at the day of judgment, but the forementioned texts imply, that the state of the damned in hell will be in the view of the heavenly inhabitants; that the two worlds of happiness and misery will be in view of each other. Though we know not by what means, nor after what manner, it will be; yet the Scriptures certainly lead us to think, that they will some way or other have a direct and immediate apprehension of each other's state. The saints in glory will see how the damned are tormented; they will see God's threatenings fulfilled, and his wrath executed upon them.

Print out the sermon, and read it in a quiet place when you've got an hour or two. It's quite different preaching that we hear these days. My question to you...is that a good thing or bad thing?

Sir Chuck, contemplating the flames

6 comments:

  1. I would say it is good in some ways and bad in others. The sermon does have a tendancy towards presumption. We don't know that Popery is the antichrist, it doesn't seem plausible now, and there is a wee bit of wonder if he was biased by the fact that the catholics were his great-grandfather's political enemies.*It maintains several things we just don't know. It is true that pleasure in seeing justice done is different from pleasure at suffering-looking within ourselves we can tell the difference for we can do both and while we know the two can be mixed because we are fallen, we know the difference exists(I.E. I am not altogether displeased that Cortez found the Aztecs and I know my motives are not entirely low but I equally know I should not take the risk of indulging such pleasures often because I am not perfect enough to do so). However whether we will actually take much pleasure in the fate of the damned even in this sense is debatable and I would think we would be spending more time thinking about God.
    On the other hand, shocking as the sermon is to modern ears, the modern error is more likly to be sentimentality; the indulging of pity and fellow-feeling to the neglect of prudance and even justice. This sermon contains a confidance and zeal which not all modern Christians have.
    So things are better in some ways and worse in others.
    Johnathan Edwards was a great man of God but he was well-scary. I would not wish to sit through one of his sermons-but at least I wouldn't fall asleep!

    Sir Jason the Longwinded

    *You just say that because you are... is admittedly faulty argument, is used to often and can apply both to the accuser and accused. I just thought it an amusing point.

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  2. "This sermon contains a confidence and zeal which not all modern."

    Good point Sir Jason. People need to be called to repentance rather than coddled in their state of sin.

    "This the Scriptures plainly teach us, that the righteous and the wicked in the other world see each other's state."

    This is a conclusion, not a stated fact. While Abraham and the rich man could see each other, it does not follow that this is the situation for all of the inhabitants of heaven and hell. Also, Abraham was in Paradise, which may be a temporary waiting station. It is probably true that the saints will witness the judgment of the sinners, but it is not stated that they will forever watch them burn in torment.

    "That the torments of the damned are no matter of grief, but of joy, to the inhabitants of heaven, is very clearly expressed in several passages of this book of Revelation; particularly by chap. 16:57, and chap. 19 at the beginning."

    I am not finding chap. 16:57; I think the writer made a typo. But I did find chap. 19



    "After this, I heard the sound of a vast crowd in heaven shouting, "Hallelujah! Salvation is from our God. Glory and power belong to him alone. 2 His judgments are just and true. He has punished the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and he has avenged the murder of his servants." 3 Again and again their voices rang, "Hallelujah! The smoke from that city ascends forever and forever!"" Revelation 19

    This is the judgment of the great whore, which is widely accepted as being Rome. Naturally there would be rejoicing over this victory, just as there was on V day.

    Conclusion:

    There is no question that Jonathan Edwards is a great man. His sermons brought many to repentance. Also, it is good that he address the issue of not grieving in heaven over those who were loved on earth who did not repent. Otherwise, many in heaven would grieve rather than rejoice. I believe we need more of this type of sermon.

    On the other hand, it is vitally important that we cling only to what is actually stated in scripture. The word of God has many mysteries and we need to leave them as such. The fact of hell and that it last forever is very clear. How, exactly, every sinner is judged and the extent of his torment is not as clear.

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  3. Sir J said.. Johnathan Edwards was a great man of God but he was well-scary.

    People these days go to horror movies to get scared, for fun, Sir Jason. Wouldn't they be better off being scared by the likes of JE?

    The fear of the LORD is pure,enduring forever. Psalm 19:9a

    and... I would not wish to sit through one of his sermons.

    Why not, Sir J?

    Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life. Proverbs 22:4

    Looks to me like sitting through sermons such as these would be a productive way to spend your time!

    Sir C, longing to be scared

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  4. People these days go to horror movies to get scared, for fun, Sir Jason. Wouldn't they be better off being scared by the likes of JE?
    _______________________________
    A fair point Sir Chuck-though I never had much taste for horror movies anyway. I was expressing what I would desire to do not what I should do.
    I don't like "scary" sermons but I understand that they have a place. Just as I don't like dental appointments.

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  5. RE: Scary sermon.

    The sermon should not be scary to anyone who is covered by the blood of Christ.

    Jhn 3:18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    Sir John, Confident in Christ

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  6. RE: Scary sermon.

    The sermon should not be scary to anyone who is covered by the blood of Christ.

    Jhn 3:18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    Sir John, Confident in Christ

    _________________________-

    Maybe not personally. It could be scary to someone who has friends, reliatives, or people he admires who are not.
    And emotional effect and logic diverge in any case.
    Sir Jason the Longwinded

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