“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” —Hebrews 10:31
Our business is not to think out our own idea of what God should be, but to find out, as far as we can, what God really is. Let me then remind you of the deluge. When the world was covered with inhabitants, and according to the computation of some, owing to the longevity of man, with a population more numerous than the present which crowds it (however that is not a material point in the question), when the world was covered with inhabitants, and these had sinned, God destroyed all flesh from off the face of the earth with the exception of eight souls, whom in his sovereignty he saved in the ark. Can you picture to yourself the horrors of that tremendous day, when the fountains of the great deep were broken up and the rains descended from on high? Here were millions of creatures like ourselves destroyed at a blow! Can you hear their shrieks and cries? Do you see them clambering in affright to the mountain tops? Do you behold them struggling for existence amidst the devouring flood? Can you hear the cries of the last strong swimmers in their agony? Who does all this? It is that God who so hates sin, that, though he is infinite love, —and we would never detract from that attribute, —he is also infinite justice, and will by no means spare the guilty. Do not imagine that he who thus destroyed the world with a flood was never at any other time equally severe. Let me show you the dreadful picture of Sodom and Gomorrah and the other cities of the plain. Those cities were filled with inhabitants, happy and cheerful like ourselves. They found their happiness, however in sin, and their sin had so provoked God to anger that after a personal visit to the spot, what did he? Ho, you who believe in effeminate personification of shallow benevolence, turn hither your blind eyes if perhaps the fire which fell from heaven may yield you some ray of light. Can you see the dwellers of those cities when the fiery hail begins to fall? in vain their cries, in vain their tears, the burning sleet pitilessly descends until one dreadful sheet of flame enwraps the sky and all the men of the plain are consumed before the terrible wrath of the Most High. What think ye of this scene of horror? And what of those words of Peter where he speaks of God who, turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly.
Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
Delivered Sunday Morning, March 25, 1866
at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 12, Sermon No. 682
“Future Punishment a Fearful Thing”