In "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," what does Jonathan Edwards say sinners must obtain, and what must sinners do to obtain it?

In “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” Jonathan Edwards says that sinners must obtain salvation, and to obtain salvation, they must turn their backs on the sinful lives that they have been leading.

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Towards the end of “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” there is a notable shift in tone from Jonathan Edwards. Having spent the rest of the sermon scaring his listeners to death with threats of hellfire and damnation, he now holds out the hope of salvation.

The ultimate responsibility for consigning sinners to Hell lies with God, but sinners can still go a long way towards avoiding such a terrible fate if only they will turn their backs on sin and start leading righteous, godly lives. Or, as Edwards puts it in a characteristically vivid metaphor, they must “fly out of” Sodom, the notorious city full of sinners in the Bible, and escape to the mountain, lest they be consumed by God's almighty wrath.

So the sinners in Edwards's audience have a choice. They can choose sin, or the way of Christ. If they choose the former, they are damned to Hell for all eternity; if they choose the latter, then there is a chance that they can be saved. Edwards isn't making any guarantees here; as we've seen the decision to send people to Hell is ultimately in God's hands. But at the very least, he's holding out the prospect of salvation, giving his audience a sense of hope that they might avoid the fiery depths of Hell.

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Edwards suggests that the unregenerate must be spiritually reborn or else God will take no pity on them, will feel no compassion for them, but will only deliver the wrath that "Justice requires" him to. Without such a spiritual rebirth, God will not only hate these individuals, but he will hold them in the highest contempt, and they will suffer terribly under God's fierceness for all eternity. It does not matter if a person is "moral and strict, sober and religious"; if they are unconverted, then they will suffer. He says,

And now you have an extraordinary Opportunity, a Day wherein Christ has flung the Door of Mercy wide open, and stands in the Door calling and crying with a loud Voice to poor Sinners; a Day wherein many are flocking to him, and pressing into the Kingdom of God; [...] many that were very lately in the same miserable Condition that you are in, are in now an happy State, with their Hearts filled with Love to Him that has loved them and washed them for their Sins in his own Blood, and rejoycing in Hope of the Glory of God.

To claim their part in this opportunity, listeners need only believe. Edwards quotes John 3.18: He that believeth not is condemned already. To become converted then, one need only believe in Christ and the sacrifice he made out of love for us, to redeem our sins and make our salvation possible.

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At the conclusion of his sermon, Edwards says that those who are sinners, who have not yet been born again, must obtain salvation in order to escape God's wrath. As long as his listeners haven't died yet, they are "in the Land of the Living, and in the House of God, and have an Opportunity to obtain Salvation."

Edwards tells his listeners that this is a day of opportunity they should not let slip past them. Jesus is standing at the door and calling them, offering them mercy. Many are entering the Kingdom of God by coming to Jesus. People need to wake up and pay attention. They should join all the others who are "renouncing all youthful vanities, and flocking to Christ."

He emphasizes that a great awakening is happening: Many people, young and old, are turning to Christ. He urges his listeners not to miss out or they will regret it forever. They should join the ranks of those who are being converted. Finally, in the last paragraph of his sermon, he urges anyone who is not already "in Christ" to "awake and fly from the wrath to come." They should "escape to the Mountain," that is, Jesus Christ, so that they will obtain mercy and salvation.

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According to Edwards, sinners must obtain grace.  The preachers talks of the "covenant of grace," under which many from all around world feast at Christ's table because they have fled to him, repented of their sins, and entered into his fellowship.  They are no longer "loathsome insects" being dangled over a fiery pit.

In order to obtain the grace of God, sinners must believe in his power, wrath, and authority, and above all--listen.  Edwards explains that

"now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has thrown the door of mercy wide open, and stands in calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners; a day wherein many are flocking to him, and pressing into the kingdom of God."

If "sinners" simply "hearken" or listen to Christ's call, He will remove them from their precarious position.

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