Consider that man’s condemnation is grounded in original sin, and for the sin of Adam, we are already condemned under the wrath of God (Romans 5:12). To make our estate worse, we transgress God’s law, and further store up wrath for ourselves for the day of wrath when the sinner will face the terrible justice of a holy and righteous God (Romans 2:5). Original sin and a single transgression of God’s law award us an eternity of the oppressive, suffocating, and unbearable bottomless cup of God’s wrath. Yet, how much more oppressive, more suffocating, and more unbearable are the torments of God’s wrath for the sinner who transgresses God’s law not one time, but multiple times each and every day, for the duration of one’s life. Consider a sinner who dies at age 20, who sinned on average ten times per day for the duration of their life – that is 73,000 crimes committed against God, each one bearing the minimum penalty of hellfire, but increasing wrath for each crime in proportion to the heinousness of each crime committed.
In the sixth chapter of Unless You Repent titled, “The Punishment and Misery of Wicked Men”, Jonathan Edwards describes the calamity for the sinner who lives to an old age. Better for him to have died at the age of 20, than the age of 60, for that is an additional 40 years’ worth of sins (or an additional 146,000 crimes per our example above) that one will bear the penalty for (and in varying degrees of intensity per crime). It would be more soothing to experience an eternity of having your teeth pulled one by one without anesthesia than to bear the minimum eternal penalty of a single crime against God. How much more dreadful will it be to pay for a lifetime’s worth of sins. If you shall die in your sins, ’tis better to die at an early age than to continue to store up wrath for yourself for the day of wrath.
Oh that you would heed the warnings of that Great Awakening preacher and come to your senses:
Sinners are little sensible that hellfire grows hotter every day they live in sin; by their sins, they increase the heat of that furnace more than the heat of Nebuchadnezzar’s was increased for the three children. If they go on in sin therefore till they die, it is no advantage to ’em to live long; the sooner they die the better for them. If they should live twenty years longer and then die in sin it would be a great Calamity to them that they lived so long. Many who go on in sin and have no serious thought of reforming are yet desirous of living a great while in the world; they don’t love the thoughts of dying quickly, but they act inconsistent with themselves. If they go on in sin they had better die early than late; if you should die this year in sin you will wish that you had died last year, for it will be inconceivably dreadful to you to bear the punishment of a year’s sinning. None can imagine how great an addition of misery there will be to you for a year’s sins; for the sins of one day are more than you can bear the punishment of. Oh, how you will wish, therefore, that you had died not one year, but many years before you did.
Hence we learn how dreadful a thing it is to die an old sinner, to have forty or fifty or sixty years’ sins to answer for. How dreadful will their hell be, how great will be the weight of wrath upon their souls, when every sinful thought, every sinful word and every sinful act that they have committed in all that time, will be required of them, and they must pay the uttermost farthing. It shall be required of them that they stood out against the calls of the gospel, the calls of Jesus Christ, and the offers of mercy for so long a time (p. 79-80).
If you’ve read this warning but continue to reject God’s mercy, hell will be that much hotter for you. Repent, oh sinner, repent!