I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning…
A large portion of the sacred writings sets forth God's exhibitions of kindness towards men as their Protector. Men in every age should study to preserve in their memory the Divine procedure, both in providence and in grace, as being adapted to secure their highest welfare. Here God magnified His mercy by interposing when justice appeared about to consummate its work in their destruction. "I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning." Those who are the subjects of God's grace under the Gospel may properly be thus addressed.
I. HERE IS INDICATED A FEARFUL DANGER.
1. This danger in its nature. It arises under the moral government of God consequent upon the character of man as a sinner. Man in his original state is everywhere under the Divine displeasure, condemned and exposed to punishment. The punishment does not extend merely to the infliction of temporal calamity and sorrow, it extends also to the life which is to come. The punishment incurred through sin is illustrated in the text by the metaphor of fire; the figure being taken from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Bible representations of future punishment set forth the intensity of that punishment. They are not to be interpreted literally; they are intended to denote most powerful and supreme intensity of mental suffering; the recollections of the past, the consciousness of the present, and the anticipations of the future, being united in one unmitigated torment and agony.
2. Its imminence. It is represented as being on the eve of consummation. The firebrand is spoken of as being close upon the element that is to consume it, nay, as being already seized. There are few metaphorical expressions more adapted to set forth extreme imminence and exposure to danger. All men, without exception, are in imminent danger of the doom appointed as the consequence of sin, because of the fact that their state of sin constitutes a moral fitness and preparation for it; because of the fact that they are condemned in their sinful state already; and because of the fact that their lives — the season of their probation and trial — are evanescent, frail, and uncertain.
II. A DELIGHTFUL RESCUE. The source from which the rescue is derived. They are not saved by themselves, or by any finite agency whatever. The only Deliverer of the human soul from the burning is God. And the deliverance is wrought out by a sublime redemptive scheme, the agents being the Divine Son and the Holy Spirit.
III. THE CHARACTERISTICS BY WHICH THIS DELIVERANCE IS DISTINGUISHED.
1. Observe the freeness of it.
2. The permanence of it.
3. The blessedness of it.
4. The powerful effect which the contemplation of the rescue from the danger should secure.In this contemplation there will be involved astonishment, gratitude, and compassion for those who are still in the place of burning.
Parallel VersesKJV: I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.