It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God! “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” Hebrews 10:31. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God, because, as He is the all-knowing and Almighty God, so He is the just and righteous God; and will be so forever, for He is the living God. His righteousness and justice are everlasting–and this makes Hell so dreadful. As it is the great comfort of believers to have such a Mediator and Surety, such a high priest to live forever to make intercession for them–so this is the great misery of lost sinners: to fall into the hands of that God, whoever lives to avenge Himself on their unbelief and rebellion. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God who knows all their sins, who is so holy–that He must punish them, who is so powerful–that He can punish them, who is so just–that He does punish all impenitent sinners forever! (Matthew Mead, “Falling into the Hands of the Living God!” 1629-1699)
“It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” Hebrews 10:31. How can it be consistent with the justice and righteousness of God to punish temporal sinning, with everlasting suffering; to inflict eternal vengeance, for momentary offences; to cast a sinner into unending misery, for committing a few sins here which quickly have an end? This has made some conclude against the eternal duration of Hell’s torments–as if God were so merciful that He would not let the unrepentant lie under His wrath forever. But I answer this with the Apostle, “Is God unjust in bringing His wrath on us? Certainly not!” (Romans 3:5-6). God is holy, just, and righteous–even when He punishes momentary offences with everlasting torments. And this will appear, by considering the following: It is necessary for the governing of the world, that the penalty should be so stated. It is necessary for the preserving the authority of God’s law in its full force and vigor, and to render it more solemn and dreadful. The design of God is to have the punishment so great as to check all the temptations to sin which a man can have. There is in man since the fall, such a propensity to sensual things, that, without this fear of Hell, nothing is able to keep it down. Fleshly lusts are so pleasing to corrupt nature, that they need to be checked with the severest threatenings. Therefore, God has told us beforehand, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient!” Ephesians 5:6. God wisely balances the sinner’s delights with the fear of punishment, that by setting eternal pains against momentary pleasures, we may the better escape temptation. The pleasures of sin, which are but for a season–entail on us torments which are eternal! God has wisely left to our own choice whether we will have the passing pleasures of sin here on earth–or those eternal pleasures which come hereafter. Things at hand will far more prevail than things to come, if those eternal things are not considerably greater. Here on earth the pain is short, and so is the pleasure–but in the eternal world both the pain and the pleasure are eternal. In the wisdom of God, those who work out their salvation with fear and trembling here, should have pleasures at the right hand of God for evermore–and those who will have their sinful pleasures here, should have everlasting misery in the eternal world. (Matthew Mead, “The Eternal Duration of Hell’s Torments” 1629-1699)
“As God’s New Covenant people we are a people whose hearts have been tuned to know Him and to love His Law. We have been incorporated into a vast nation of followers of Christ. Our salvation is not intended merely to help us cope with life in the world. Our church is not just some spiritual ‘watering hole’ in the vast secular desert, unconnected to the ocean of God’s people all over the world. Living in God’s covenant demands a radically new understanding of the life of faith and the mission of the local church. Our experience of that new reality will be something less than full, rich, and abundant, as long as we allow the world or our own preconceptions and preferences to tell us otherwise.” “I Will Be Your God” T.M. Moore
“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” Ephesians 1:11. God sustains, nourishes, and cares for everything He has made, even to the least sparrow. (Matthew 10:29) God’s providence, as it is taught in Scripture, is opposed to fortune and chance. There is no such thing as fortune or chance–these are pagan terms, with which the minds of the godly ought not to be occupied. All events are governed by God’s secret plan! They babble and talk absurdly who, in the place of God’s providence, substitute bare permission–as if God sat in a watchtower awaiting chance events, and His judgments thus depended upon human will. It is certain that not one drop of rain falls without God’s sure command. Nothing, including human suffering, happens by chance. God so regulates all things, that nothing happens but what He has knowingly and willingly decreed. Each year, month, and day is governed by a new, a special, providence of God! No creature has a force more wondrous or glorious than that of the sun. The sun does not daily rise and set by blind instinct of nature–but God Himself, to renew our remembrance of His fatherly favors toward us, governs its course. In times of adversity, believers comfort themselves with the solace that they suffer nothing except by God’s ordaining and command, for they are under His all-controlling hand. (John Calvin on Divine Providence)
“Looking unto Jesus!” Hebrews 12:2. Only three words, but in these three words is the whole secret of spiritual life. Look unto Jesus in the Scriptures, to learn there who He is, what He has done, what He gives, what He desires. Looking unto Jesus in the Scriptures, we find in His character–our pattern; in His teachings–our instruction; in His precepts–our law; in His promises–our support; in His person and in His work–a full satisfaction provided for every need of our souls. “You study the Scriptures thoroughly because you think in them you possess eternal life, and it is these same Scriptures that testify about Me!” John 5:39.
Your constitution, your situation, your temperament, all that is either comfortable or painful in your lot–is of God’s divine appointment. The hairs of your head are all numbered! The same power which produced the planets, is necessary to the production of a single hair; nor can one of them fall to the ground without His notice, any more than the stars can fall from their orbits! In providence, no less than in creation, He controls the very greatest as well as the very smallest things. Healing and wounding are equally from His hand–and equally tokens of His love and care over us. Our faithful and good Shepherd affords to us strength according to our day. He knows our frame, and will lay no more on us than He will enable us to bear–no more than He will cause to work for our good. Our comforts of every kind come free and undeserved–and when we are afflicted, it is because there is a need-be for it. He does it not willingly. Our trials are either beneficial medicines, or honorable appointments, to put us in such circumstances as may best qualify us to show forth His praise. Our sea may sometimes be stormy, but we have an infallible Pilot, and shall infallibly gain our port! Therefore do not be afraid; only believe! (Letters of John Newton)
“Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod–and save his soul from death!” Proverbs 23:13-14. To leave the roots of weeds growing in the garden among the flowers–is to insure the springing up of those weeds by and by, to mar the beauty of the garden. In the same way, some parents have such foolish hearts that they cannot bear to correct a child lest they cause it pain. They forget that to leave an uncorrected fault in a child, or to allow any wrong habit to grow up in its life unchecked–is the greatest unkindness they could possibly do the child! No tender feeling should ever prevent a parent from trying to correct a fault in a child. Love must always seek the best. “Chasten your son while there is hope–and do not set your heart on his destruction!” Proverbs 19:18. (J.R. Miller)