It is the highest benevolence to warn men of their danger, and to exhort them to escape from the wrath which will surely come upon them, for ‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’ We feel that it must be a fearful thing to be punished for sin when you remember the atonement. It is our full belief as Christians, that, in order to pardon human sin, it was necessary that God himself should become incarnate, and that the Son of God should suffer excruciating pains, to which the dignity of his person added infinite weight. Brethren, if the wrath of God be a mere trifle, there was no need of a Saviour to deliver us; it were as well to have let so small a matter take its course; or, if the Saviour came merely to save us from a pinch or two, why is so much said in his praise? What need for heaven and earth to ring with the glories of him who would save us from a small mischief? But mark the word. As the sufferings of the Saviour were intense beyond all conception, and as no less a person than God himself must endure these sufferings for us, that must have been an awful, not to say infinite evil, from which there was no other way for us to escape except by the bleeding and dying of God’s dear Son. Think lightly of hell, and you will think lightly of the cross. Think little of the sufferings of lost souls, and you will soon think little of the Saviour who delivers you from them. God grant we may not live to see such a Christ-dishonouring theology dominant in our times.
For meditation: As Spurgeon feared, vital and inseparable biblical doctrines such as the atonement and eternal damnation have come under tremendous attack in recent years in favour of more sophisticated teaching which is more acceptable to human taste. The Bible contrasts the words of the holy prophets and the apostles of our Lord, with the words of ‘scoffers, walking after their own lusts’ (2 Peter 3:2–3). Beware of people who twist the Scriptures to suit themselves (2 Peter 3:16–17).