‘Lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood.’ Deuteronomy 29:18
Suggested Further Reading: 2 Peter 2:4–9
Ask Noah, as he looks out of his ark, ‘Does sin bring bitterness?’ and he points to the floating carcases of innumerable thousands that died because of sin. Turn to Abraham: does sin bring bitterness? He points to the smoke of Sodom and Gomorrah that God destroyed because of their wickedness. Ask Moses, and he reminds you of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, who were swallowed up alive. Turn to Paul, and you do not find Paul speaking with the honeyed phrases of these modern deceivers, who would make people believe that sin will not be punished. ‘He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?’ Listen to James or Jude, or Peter, and you hear them speak of chains of darkness and flaming fire. Hear John as he writes of the wrath of God and of the winepress of it, out of which the blood flows up to the horse’s bridles. Let the Saviour himself speak to you. He cries, ‘These shall go away into everlasting punishment.’ He is the author of those words, ‘Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.’ It is he who speaks of the outer darkness, where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. The Bible tells you (and O that you might hear it as God’s own voice to you!), not that sin will end in pleasure and joy, but that the wrath of God will abide upon you if you do not turn from sin; that the soul that sinneth, it shall die; that God’s curse is upon the wicked, and that everlasting punishment is the portion of the impenitent.
For meditation: A life of pleasure and sin which has no room for the Lord Jesus Christ can be great fun in the short term, but it will all end in everlasting tears (Ecclesiastes 11:8–9; Luke 12:19–21; 16:19,25). The wise person takes eternity into account (Ecclesiastes 12:1; Hebrews 11:24–26).
Sermon no. 723
2 December (1866)