Like the Puritans of his time, Jonathan Edwards believed that all sinners were destined to damnation and that the only way toward salvation was a true conversion to the church. The title, "Sinners in the hands of an angry God," refers to the belief that the only thing keeping members of the audience (all sinners) from falling into “the pit of hell,” is God’s will, or his hand, holding them up
Edwards warns his congregation against feeling a false sense of security. Just because they have their lives and their health, and believe they are doing good works, does not mean they are immune from the possibility of going to hell. “God’s bow is bent,” he says, and at any time, God could decide to strike them with his “arrow” for their sins.
Just when it seems Edwards’s message is completely hopeless, his tone shifts to one of hope (relatively). He says that the members of his congregation have an “extraordinary opportunity” to experience a change of heart and come to God. Throughout his speech, Edwards strikes fear into his audience members, making them see the consequences of their sin and hopefully, through his words, experience the desire to change.