June 11, 2017

Asahel Nettleton (1783–1844) on 2 Corinthians 5:20

Many, I am aware, express strong desires for salvation, and sometimes say they would give all the world, if they had it, for an interest in the divine favor, while they have never found in their hearts, to feel the least degree of contrition for their sins, or the least degree of love and gratitude to the God who made them, and the Savior who died for them. Whatever value such individuals may place on a heaven of eternal happiness, they do actually prefer sin to all things else;—and in spite of the offers of eternal life, the calls of a bleeding Savior, the invitations, commands, and threatenings of Almighty God, they are now forcing their way down to eternal perdition.
Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon 39: Sinners Entreated to be Reconciled to God (II Corinthians 5:20),” in Asahel Nettleton: Sermons from the Second Great Awakening (Ames, IA: International Outreach, 1995), 363. Also in Asahel Nettleton, “Sermon XX: Sinners Entreated to be Reconciled to God,” in Remains of the Late Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D. D., ed. Bennet Tyler (Hartford: Published by Robins and Smith, 1845), 256. Notice that the “them” for whom the Savior died are those without a saving interest in the divine favor, who lack contrition for their sins, nor do they have a love and gratitude to God. “They” are headed “down to eternal perdition.” The “them” and “they” must therefore include the non-elect.

As Nettleton continued this sermon, he said:
And now all things are ready; God is inviting and beseeching you to accept his mercy!
Ibid., 364; Ibid., 257.
God himself is beseeching you to be reconciled ... Why will you stand out against the will of heaven?
Ibid., 365; Ibid., 258.
Again—consider what God has done for your salvation. The gift of a Savior was not an act of justice to our world. Sinners had no right to demand the blood of the Son of God to atone for their guilt .... This Savior has concluded a treaty of peace for rebellious man .... Will you not hearken to the voice of the heavenly charmer?—your bleeding Savior? Have you no repentance—not a tear to shed for the sins which nailed him to the cross? O what amazing love invites!
Ibid., 366–367; Ibid., 259–60.
But he arose from the dead, and ascended to his throne of glory, from which he now invites you to his arms, and beseeches you to accept the salvation which he has purchased with his blood—and is he unworthy of your love? .... God beseeches—God commands your compliance now.
Ibid., 368–69; Ibid., 261–62.


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