01 March 2009

A Word (or Two) for Those Who Scoff at the Doctrine of Eternal Punishment

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. This week's dose o' Spurgeon features excerpts from two sermons. The first is from "A Message from God for Thee," preached 16 November 1862 in the morning service. The second snippet is from "Confession of Sin Illustrated by the Cases of Dr. Pritchard and Constance Kent," a sermon delivered three years later on Sunday morning, July 23. The second of these messages was based on Psalm 32:5, and the sermon title refers to the trial and conviction of two notorious murderers at the time.


nrenewed persons find fault with God's justice. Eternal punishment they cavil at; hell is such a bugbear to them, that, just as every culprit will, of course, find fault with the prison and the gallows, so they rail at the wrath to come, though that wrath is just as sure, notwithstanding all their objections to it.

But when the heart is really touched by divine grace, then it has no more to say for itself, but pleads guilty at the bar of God's great assize; and if the Judge should put on the black cap, and condemn it to be taken instantly to the place of execution, that soul could only say, "Thou art righteous, O Lord, for I have sinned."

I despair of ever finding a word of comfort for any man or woman among you, if you have not been brought to feel that you deserve the wrath of God. Come with the ropes about your necks, ready for execution, and you will find a God ready to forgive.

    .  .  .  .  .

very sinner who has really come to Christ has been made to feel that however angry God may he with sin, He is not one whit too angry.

Until we know the power of divine grace, we read in the Bible concerning eternal punishment, and we think it is too heavy and too hard, and we are apt to kick against it, and find out some heretic or other who teaches us another doctrine; but when the soul is really quickened by divine grace, and made to feel the weight of sin, it thinks the bottomless pit none too deep, and the punishment of hell none too severe for sin such as it has committed.

This is not the emotion of a mind rendered morbid by sickness, but these are the genuine workings of God the Holy Ghost in the soul, bringing the man to stand guilty before the Lord, with his mouth closed, not able to say a word against the sentence of divine justice.

C. H. Spurgeon


10 comments:

Frank Turk said...

God's judgment: thank Him for it, and that Christ has taken it for those who will believe.

Joshua Cookingham said...

Now if we could only get some atheists who rant against God to read this.

Seriously, we're the ones who screwed up, Not God. We turned our backs on perfection and grace. God did not make us turn our backs. He does not owe us anything, yet He has offered us the gift of salvation, amazing.

I wish I could do the second part well though, sometimes it's hard for me to accept God's grace, I continue to beat myself up, which isn't true repentance.

Sorry, had to re-type this, I messed up one of the words....
Thanks for the post Phil!

DJP said...

...they rail at the wrath to come, though that wrath is just as sure, notwithstanding all their objections to it.

That is the central, ineradicable truth of the whole subject.

donsands said...

"Come with the ropes about your necks, ready for execution, and you will find a God ready to forgive."

Like Peter said, "Depart from me a sinner Lord." And the Lord says, "Don't fear."

Great words of God's wrath and mercy.

I pray that we, the Body of Christ, would have our minds full of God's truth: His mercy, love, grace, forgiveness, love of the truth, peace & joy, and also His wrath, sin, judgment, hell, and hatred of evil. The Cross of our Redeemmer speaks all these things to us, and to all who will hear, and to all who will not hear.

Thanks for keeping the prince of preachers here for us to glean from each week.

DErifter said...

Sweet.

Chad V. said...

"and find out some heretic or other who teaches us another doctrine;"

A denial of eternal punishment is not just "a fluffy understanding of hell" it's heretical.

andy spaulding said...

Great article!

Yes, until we understand ourselves(wicked sinners who deserve nothing but divine retribution) and we understand God ( wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth in His being) hell will always seem to severe or a "roman catholic myth" of the dark ages. And only the grace of God will make us see this. This is why many who calim to be Christians while denying Hell as it is truly taught, are more than likely still strangers to conversion.

Shinar Squirrel said...

"when the heart is really touched by divine grace, then it has no more to say for itself, but pleads guilty at the bar of God's great assize"

All we can do is throw ourselves on the mercy of the court, for we are without excuse. Oh, the wonders of His Grace!

They who deny hell do so for the same reason that they deny that their sin is worthy of hell; "I'm not that bad..."

The Squirrel

Dennis Elslager said...

I have the same sentiment as donsands when he says "Thanks for keeping the prince of preachers here for us to glean from each week."

It is becoming a favored post for me to visit each week.

We must pray for God’s mercy on the souls who do not see the reality of eternal judgment as we do. How is it that we came to believe? Was it of our own merit or did Christ mercifully convince and convict us of our sin so we could see our great need for salvation from the bondage and punishment of our great offensive ways against our Maker? I really fear that we hear messages like this and treat it as if it were just another doctrine to ponder and give perspectives on. Souls are lost and our Lord has died for them and as He said in John 17 “I do not pray for these alone but for those who will believe in Me through their word…” He has commissioned us as His ambassadors to be used of the power of His Spirit through the Gospel Truth of Scripture to bring conviction to their souls that they too may be saved through His mercy before the Day of Judgment and Eternal Rewards. How will they know unless we tell them? How did we come to know God's mercy? Christ has laid it on us not just to talk about them but to go and tell them. And as we do the Holy Spirit will use His Holy Words spoken through us to convince and convict them of their sin and need of a Savior.

May our hearts be inflamed with the passion of Christ’s love for the lost which He expressed on the Cross when He said “Father forgive them for they do not know what they do”.

founderandperfecter said...

I like to attach disbelief in Hell to Isaiah 44.

Either you believe in the God of the Bible, or you might as well go into the woods and cut down a tree and carve it into a statue and bow down to it.

The Hell-less god is just as real as the god made out of wood.