“If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.” Psalm 7:12
Suggested Further Reading: 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12
God has a sword, and he will punish man on account of his iniquity. This evil generation has laboured to take away from God the sword of his justice; they have endeavoured to prove to themselves that God will “clear the guilty,” and will by no means “punish iniquity, transgression and sin.” Two hundred years ago the predominant strain of the pulpit was one of terror: it was like Mount Sinai, it thundered forth the dreadful wrath of God, and from the lips of a Baxter or a Bunyan, you heard most terrible sermons, full to the brim with warnings of judgment to come. Perhaps some of the Puritan fathers may have gone too far, and have given too great a prominence to the terrors of the Lord in their ministry: but the age in which we live has sought to forget those terrors altogether, and if we dare to tell men that God will punish them for their sins, it is charged upon us that we want to bully them into religion, and if we faithfully and honestly tell our hearers that sin must bring after it certain destruction, it is said that we are attempting to frighten them into goodness. Now we care not what men mockingly impute to us; we feel it our duty, when men sin, to tell them they shall be punished, and so long as the world will not give up its sin we feel we must not cease our warnings. But the cry of the age is, that God is merciful, that God is love. Who said he was not? But remember, it is equally true, God is just, severely and inflexibly just. He were not God, if he were not just; he could not be merciful if he were not just.
For meditation: The “meek and lowly” Lord Jesus Christ spoke often of judgment because of his care for the souls of men and his longing for them to repent and find rest (Matthew 11:20-30).
Sermon no. 106
7 December (1856)