THE CUP OF WRATH

THE CUP OF WRATH

Andrew Bonar (1810-1892)

“For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and He poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.” [Psalm 75:8]

It is of this CUP, that we this day wish to speak to you. It gives an alarming, awakening view of our God and Savior. It is not “God in Christ reconciling the world to Himself,” but God the JUDGE, Christ the Judge. It is not the King with the golden scepter, inviting all to draw near — it is the KING RISEN UP IN WRATH, in the evening of the day of grace, to “judge all the wicked of the earth.”

Oh, there is a Hell, an endless Hell, awaiting the ungodly! The Judge warns us of it — in order that none of us may be cast into that tremendous woe! Say not in your hearts, “God is too LOVING and MERCIFUL ever to condemn a soul to such woe.” If you continue in sin, you shall know too late that the Judge does condemn; not because He is not infinitely loving, but because your sin compels Him so to do. Listen to what is written, and you will every unbeliever shall drink of this wine of God’s indignation.

God’s wrath shall be given forth in a MEASURED PORTION, deliberately and fairly considered. There shall be nothing of caprice, nothing arbitrary, in God’s judgment on sin; all shall be fairly adjusted. Here are the SINS — there is the CUP, of a size proportioned to the sin, and FULL. God’s perfections direct and dictate the filling of it. It is “a cup of red wine.” He elsewhere calls it “The wine of my fury;” and Revelation 16:19, it is “Wine of the fierceness of His wrath.” In the East, red wine was usually the strongest; but besides, the fiery nature of the contents is indicated by the color.

This “red wine” is pressed out of the grapes by the divine attributes. It must be the CONCENTRATED ESSENCE OF WRATH; no weak potion, but one like that in Jeremiah 25:16, where they “drink, and are moved, and are mad;” or that in Ezekiel 23:32, 33, “A cup deep and large; it contains much; a cup of astonishment and desolation, filled with drunkenness and sorrow.”

It is “mixed with spices.” This signifies that the wine’s natural quality has been strengthened; its force has been INTENSIFIED by various ingredients cast into it. Such is the sense of “mingled wine” in Isaiah 5:22, and in Proverbs 9:5, “Come… drink of the wine which I have mingled.” We must distinguish this from the expression “without mixture,” in Revelation 14:10, where the speaker means to say, that there is no infusion of water to weaken the strength of the wine.

Here in Psalm 95, there is everything that may enhance the bitterness of the cup; and let us ask, WHAT may be these various ingredients? From every side of the lost sinner’s nature, forms of misery shall arise. The BODY, as well as the SOUL, shall be steeped in never-ending anguish, amid the unceasing wretchedness of eternal exile and lonely imprisonment. Further, each attribute of Godhead casts something into the cup!

RIGHTEOUSNESS is there, so that the rich man in Hell (Luke 16) dare not hint that his torment is too great. MERCY AND LOVE stand by and cast on it their ingredients, testifying that the sinner was dealt with in longsuffering, and salvation placed within his reach. O the aggravation which this thought will lend to misery. OMNIPOTENCE contributes to it; the lost man in the hands of the Almighty is utterly helpless, as weak as a worm! ETERNITY is an ingredient, telling that this wrath endures as long as God lives. And TRUTH is there, declaring that all this is what God spoke, and so cannot be altered without overturning His throne.

Yet more! While shame and contempt, and the consciousness of being disowned by every holy being, fiercely sting the soul — there are ingredients cast in by the SINNER HIMSELF. His CONSCIENCE asserts and attests that this woe is all deserved, and the man loathes himself. MEMORY recalls past opportunities and times of hope despised. SIN goes on increasing, and passions rage; cravings gnaw the unsatisfied soul with eternal hunger! It may be that EVERY PARTICULAR SIN will contribute to the mixture — a woe for lusts gratified; a woe for every act of drunkenness, and every falsehood and dishonesty; a woe for every rejected invitation, and every threatening disregarded. Who can tell what more may be meant by the words: “mixed with spices?”

It has “dregs” in it. The dregs lie at the bottom, out of sight, but are the BITTEREST. Do these mean HIDDEN WOES not yet conceived of by any? Such as may be hinted at in the words, “Better he had never been born!” Such as Christ’s woes seem to speak of? These shall be the REVERSE of the saved man’s joys, “which never have entered the heart” to imagine!

God “pours out of the same.” “The wicked shall DRINK it down to its very dregs!” They are not meant to be merely shown; this is not a cup whose contents shall only be EXHIBITED and then withdrawn. No, the wicked MUST “drink it” and cannot refuse. “God pours out,” and the guilty soul “shall drink it down to its very dregs!”

We would not leave you merely contemplating the terrors of that wrath. We go on, in connection with it, to speak of one whose history has a strange bearing on our case.

There has been only One who has ever “drunk this cup to its very dregs!”

Cain has been drinking it for 5,000 years and finds his punishment greater than he can bear, but has not come to the DREGS.

Judas had been drinking it for some 2000 years, often crying out with a groan that shakes Hell, “Oh that I had never been born! Oh, that I had never seen or heard of the Lord Jesus Christ!” But he has not reached the dregs.

The FALLEN ANGELS have not come near the dregs: for they have not arrived at the judgment of the Great Day.

The only One who has taken, tasted, drunk, and wrung out the bitterest of the bitter dregs — has been the JUDGE HIMSELF, the Lord Jesus!

You know how often, when on earth, He spoke of it. “Are you able to drink the cup that I shall drink of?” (Matthew 20:22). “The CUP which My Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11). The universe saw Him with it at His lips. It was OUR cup of trembling; the cup in which the wrath due to the “multitude which no man can number” was MIXED. What wrath, what woe! A FEW DROPS made Him cry, “Now is my soul deeply troubled!” In the garden, the SIGHT of it wrung out the strange, mysterious words, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death!” though God-man, He STAGGERED at what He saw, and went on trembling.

The next day, on Calvary, He drank it ALL! I suppose the three hours of darkness may have been the time when He “was drinking down the dregs”; for then arose from His broken heart the wail which so appealed to the heart of the Father, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!” As He ended the LAST DROP, and cried out, “It is finished!” we may believe angels felt an inconceivable relief — and even the Father Himself! So tremendous was the wrath and curse! — the wrath and curse due to OUR SIN!

In all this, there was nothing TOO MUCH. Love would protest against ONE DROP TOO MUCH; and never do you find God exceeding. Did He not hasten to stay Abraham’s hand, when enough had been done on Moriah? and at that same spot again, David’s day, when Justice had sufficiently declared the sharpness of its two-edged sword — did He not again hasten to deliver, crying, “It is enough!” How much more then, when it was His beloved Son!

He sought from Him, all that was needed by JUSTICE. And so we find in this TRANSACTION, what may well be good news to us. For Jesus drank that cup as the substitute for “the great multitude,” His innumerable people, given Him of the Father; and thereby freed THEM from ever tasting even ONE DROP of that fierce wrath, that “cup of red wine, mixed with spices,” with its dregs — its unknown terrors.

Now, this One, this One alone, who so drank the whole — presents to the sinners of our world, the EMPTIED Cup — His own Cup emptied! He sends it round the world, calling on mankind — sinners to take it and offer it to the Father as satisfaction for their sins. Come, O fellow-sinner, grasp it and hold it up to God! Plead it, and you are acquitted!

Yes, if you are anxious at all to be saved and blessed, take up this EMPTIED cup. However cold your heart, however dull your feelings, however slight your sorrow for sin — take this EMPTIED cup. Your appeal to this EMPTIED CUP arrests judgment at once. Do not think you need to endure some anguish of soul, some great sorrow — to take some SIPS of the red wine, far less to taste its DREGS — before you can be accepted. What thoughtless presumption — imitating Christ in His atoning work! If Uzziah, the king, presenting incense when he ought to have let the priest do it for him, was smitten for his presumption — take care lest you be thrust away, if you presume to bring the imagined incense of your sorrow and bitter tears. It is the EMPTIED cup which is offered us, not the cup wet with OUR TEARS, or its purity dimmed by the breath of OUR PRAYERS. Feelings of ours, graces of ours, can do nothing but cast a veil over the PERFECT MERITS of Christ!

Children of God who have used this cup — keep pleading it always. Ever make it the ground of your assurance of acceptance. Examine it often and well — see how God was glorified here, and how plentifully it illustrates and honors the claims of God’s righteousness. Full payment of every claim advanced by Justice is here; and so, you, in using it, give good measure, pressed down and running over! What then remains but that you render thanks and take this salvation, often singing —

“Once it was mine, that cup of wrath,
 And Jesus drank it dry!”

Hallelujah! Praise His Name!

7 thoughts on “THE CUP OF WRATH

    • Thank you for your concern dear Brother. I had taken a break from Facebook as they were deleting some of my posts. But I am posting there again since the last two days. Check them out, and God bless you as well my dear Brother.

      • Thanks for adding me to your Facebook Pastor. Can I ask you a favor Pastor? Please include me in your prayers that God will bless me with all spiritual wisdom in administering His ministry that he entrusted on me.. please pray for me also that God will make me more like Christ in this evil world. Thank you for your prayer Pastor. God bless you more.

      • Yes indeed, I shall pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, i.e., eyes of your understanding being enlightened; ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.

        And that in nothing you would be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in your body, whether it be by life, or by death.

      • Goodevening Pastor, can I ask you a question. What if the Armenian died with the doctrine they profess literally false, can they go to heaven?

      • Thank you for asking this question, Brother Rofert, for it is a question that shall arise sooner or later in the minds of every Reformed Student. But first of all, we MUST DISTINGUISH between regeneration and conversion; if we are to gain a proper understanding of salvation. Often the two are confused to be the same leading to further confusion in differentiating between that in which the sinner is completely passive (or acted upon) and that in which the sinner in a sense ‘co-operates’ yet by the acting of God!

        “In the former the sinner is PASSIVE – in the latter he is ACTIVE, or co-operates with the grace of God. In regeneration a principle of grace is implanted in the soul, and previous to this the sinner is INCAPABLE OF MORAL ACTIVITY; for, in the language of inspiration, he is “dead in trespasses and sins.” In conversion the soul turns to God, which imports activity; but still the SINNER ONLY ACTS AS HE IS ACTED UPON BY GOD, who “worketh in him both to will and to do”. [Westminster]

        By Regeneration I mean the initial giving of spiritual life. Also called the new birth, quickening, effectual calling, and irresistible grace are all synonymous theological terms referring to the work of the Holy Spirit in the radical transformation of the soul.” Regeneration is giving of spiritual life to one who has been dead in trespasses and sins.

        Here it will be good to quote A W. Pink from his book, The Holy Spirit, pp. 56,57:
        In His work of “quickening,” by which we mean the impartation of spiritual life to the soul, the Spirit acts immediately from within, and not by applying something from WITHOUT. Quickening is a direct operation of the Spirit WITHOUT THE USE OF ANY INSTRUMENT: the Word is used by Him AFTERWARDS to call into exercise the life then communicated…The soul, then, is quickened into newness of life by the DIRECT and SUPERNATURAL operation of the Spirit, without any medium or means whatever…No, men ARE NOT “quickened” by the Word, they must be quickened IN ORDER TO receive and understand the Word.

        Pink says on page forty-nine of the same book:
        In regeneration one of God’s elect is the SUBJECT, and the Spirit of God is the sole AGENT. The subject of the new birth is WHOLLY PASSIVE: he does not ACT but is ACTED UPON. The sovereign work of the Spirit in the soul precedes all holy exercises of heart- such as sorrow for sin, faith in Christ, love toward God… This great change is not a gradual and protracted process, but is INSTANTANEOUS: in an instant of time the favored subject of it passes from death unto life.

        Brother, I want you to bear in mind that amongst sincere Calvinists, there are those who insist in ‘Gospel Regeneration’ and those who contend for ‘Immediate Holy Spirit Regeneration’. I belong to the latter. For the sole reason that in my personal salvation experience I was regenerated without the agency of any preacher or preaching involved!

        THIS REGENERATION IS A RESURRECTION! Lazarus was HELPLESS and PASSIVE until Jesus raised him. Jesus called him with irresistible power. Lazarus could not and did not resist the voice of Christ. Likewise, the one who is dead in trespasses and sins is HELPLESS and PASSIVE until Christ by the Holy Spirit calls him from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive. The one who is dead in sin cannot and will not resist the call of Christ. This call comes with irresistible power.

        When you search the Scriptures you will notice that nowhere in all of scripture are men commanded to “be regenerated”, but you are commanded throughout scripture to “repent and be CONVERTED” (Acts 3:19). WHO will be converted? Only the regenerated can obey and follow the commands of God. God keeps regeneration solely under His complete command and control, but He has commanded YOU to “be converted”.
        What does it mean to be converted? The fundamental biblical meaning is “to turn”—usually to turn to God. What do we turn away from when we to turn to God; what do we set aside when we are converted? Or, in different words, why do we need conversion? What separates us from God in the first place? Jesus commissioned the apostle Paul to go to the gentiles and “open their eyes, in order to turn them from DARKNESS TO LIGHT, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18).

        The first thing in conversion is to cast away our misconception of what RIGHTEOUSNESS is and grasp the TRUE MEANING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. And this is revealed ONLY IN THE GOSPEL! Consider the following verse carefully –
        “For I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL OF CHRIST: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For THEREIN IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD REVEALED from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith”! [Rom 1:16,17]

        Here is where the Gospel comes into the picture or so to say the Gospel becomes necessary. The Gospel enables the regenerate soul to ‘see’ the righteousness of God which is credited to him whereby he is saved!

        By the righteousness of God, is not meant the essential righteousness of God, the rectitude of his nature, his righteousness in fulfilling his promises, and his punitive justice, which though revealed in the Gospel, yet not peculiar to it; nor the righteousness by which Christ himself is righteous, either as God, or as Mediator; but that righteousness which he wrought out by obeying the precepts, and bearing the penalty of the law in the room of his people, and by which they are justified in the sight of God: and this is called the righteousness of God, in opposition to the righteousness of men; and because it justifies men in the sight of God; and because of the concern which Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, have in it. Jehovah the Father sent his Son to work it out, and being wrought out, he approves and accepts of it, and imputes it to his elect; Jehovah the Son is the Author of it by his obedience and death; and Jehovah the Spirit discovers it to sinners, works faith in them to lay hold upon it, and pronounces the sentence of justification by it in their consciences.

        Now this is said to be REVEALED IN THE GOSPEL, that is, it is taught in the Gospel; that is the word of righteousness, the ministration of it; it is manifested in and by the Gospel. This righteousness is not known by THE LIGHT OF NATURE, NOR BY THE LAW OF MOSES; it was hid under the shadows of the ceremonial law, and is BROUGHT TO LIGHT ONLY BY THE GOSPEL; IT IS HID FROM EVERY NATURAL MAN, even from the most wise and prudent, and from GOD’S ELECT THEMSELVES BEFORE CONVERSION, AND IS ONLY MADE KNOWN TO BELIEVERS, to whom it is revealed; from faith to faith; that is, as say some, from the faith of God to the faith of men; from the faith of preachers to the faith of hearers; from the faith of the Old to the faith of the New Testament saints; or rather from one degree of faith to another; for faith, as it grows and increases, has clearer sights of this righteousness, as held forth in the Gospel. [John Gill]

        To condense all of the above, God Sovereignly saves us in Regeneration and THEN CALLS US OR ILLUMINATES US BY THE GOSPEL. “Who hath SAVED US (regeneration), and CALLED US (by the Gospel) with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace etc”. [2Tim 1:9] As I always say we must beware of putting the proverbial ‘cart before the horse’! A man does not believe the Gospel and GET SAVED but believes the Gospel BECAUSE HE IS SAVED!

        Regeneration is a ONETIME sovereign act of God whereas Conversion is always PARTIAL (on this earth) and CONTINUAL, and can be seen in different parts of our lives at different times. A genuine backslider does not need to be regenerated but he needs to be converted. A backslider no matter how far he has strayed is still God’s son and the Lambs bride! “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you”! [Jer 3:14] (I say this with tears in my eyes, for I was the greatest backslider of them all) Prior to Peter’s backsliding, the Lord told him – “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and WHEN THOU ART CONVERTED, strengthen thy brethren”! [Lk 22:31,32]

        And I may finally add that it is in conversion that we unlearn much of the error which we held on to initially after our regeneration. Errors such as ‘Free will’ Universal Atonement, The Pentecostal errors etc.

        Now WHAT is the True ‘Gospel’ or the Gospel THAT SAVES? Here is the Apostles’ definition of it –

        Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the GOSPEL which I PREACHED unto you, which also ye have RECEIVED, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are SAVED, I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS according to the scriptures; And that HE WAS BURIED, and that HE ROSE AGAIN the third day according to the scriptures! [1Cor15:1-4]

        THIS brother Rofert, according to the Apostle is the ‘Gospel’! Anyone who tries to read ‘Calvinism’ or ‘Arminianism’ in the above greatly errs and tries to read into it something that is not there!

        Again, “Sirs what must I do to be SAVED”? And they said, “BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, and THOU SHALT BE SAVED, and thy house”! [Act 16;30,31]

        The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, THOU SHALT BE SAVED. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto SALVATION. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. [Rom 10:8-13].

        In fact you will not find even a SINGLE INSTANCE where some Evangelist preached ‘The Five Points of Calvinism’ or ‘Arminianism’ while addressing the lost in the whole of the New Testament! (Search and see).

        Now God saved me in back 1986 while I was under an Arminian tent. It was not until many years later that God opened my eyes to Reformed Truths. What that means is that though I was Regenerated back in 1986, it was a few years before the Lord Converted me to the truth of Calvinism.

        But whenever I share my testimony, there are times I run into some pharisaical Calvinist who gets mad and says, “no way, you just couldn’t have been saved while you were an Arminian!”

        But as sure as Jehovah is on the Throne I know I was! I was saved not BECAUSE I was an Arminian but IN SPITE OF IT! You see, I was not some moral brother who was saved from his churchianity and self-righteousness. I was saved straight from under Lucifer’s Altar! I know the enmity that arose between me and the demons I had dabbled with! I immediately experienced the ‘Enmity’ prophesied in Genesis 3:15, not to mention my deliverance from my Heroin Addiction, Alcoholism, and Heavy Metal music! But above all this, there arose an unexplainable and unquenchable love for Jesus and Christians whom I had hated with my guts before my conversion! [See 1Jn 3:14].

        So is Calvinism ‘the Gospel’? Calvinism ‘EXPLAINS’ and ‘DEFINES’ the gospel as the truth is in Jesus! And I would question the salvation of any man who does not by and by understand, comprehend and receive this Truth and contend for it; no matter how well read he may be in the scriptures! That is what it means to ‘grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. [2Pet 3:18]. And ‘the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day [Prov 4:18]. For the Spirit leadeth all the Elect into this Truth of the Sovereignty of God and the utter helplessness of man to save himself or keep himself saved! “And when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into ALL TRUTH.” To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them, and they do not have the ‘root of the matter’! God’s Elect will sooner or later cry out with Jonah, “Salvation is OF THE LORD!” [Jonah 2:9].

        So without laboring the point, can a man be saved in an Arminian tent? It is God who saves, and He does so by regenerating and converting His elect wherever He chooses by the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE INSTRUMENTALITY OF HIS WORD! And that Word is NOT the ‘Five point of Calvinism’ or ‘Arminianism’ but the SIMPLE TRUTH that Jesus Christ died for sinners, was buried and rose again! If a man has been taught of the Father (as all God’s Elect are [Jn 6:45]) this truth will mean something to him and he will believe it in his heart confess it with his mouth and be saved! Period! Those who deny this greatly err not knowing the Scriptures neither the power of God! Sheep may sit under false teaching for some time, but before long they will go out searching for the Shepherd’s voice, for they know not the voice of strangers! Anyone who claims to be the Lord’s sheep and lives and dies an Arminian even after being exposed to the truths of Sovereign Grace never was one!

        When I speak of the Lord’s sheep still trapped in Arminian Churches, I have in mind Christ’s Lambs and babes in Christ. In no way do I mean the ‘theologians’, ‘reverends’, deacons or ‘Elders’ who have studied and rejected the writings of the ‘Puritans’ and ‘Reformers’. Believe me, these have their reward.

        The Lord has made the gates of Heaven as narrow as you can make it, even a ‘needles eye’. Let us not labour to make it any narrower and turn the Reformed Faith into a Cult, saying, “unless you are saved under Reformed preaching, you just cannot be saved.”

        If our Lord has atoned for a particular soul on the Cross that individual will in time be regenerated and by and by converted to the truth of God’s Sovereign Grace and thereby saved.

        But as Calvin himself said, the doctrine of Predestination is “not a matter for children to think much about”; and Strong says, “This doctrine is one of those advanced teachings of Scripture which requires for its understanding A MATURE MIND AND A DEEP EXPERIENCE. The beginner in the Christian life may not see its value or even its truth, but with INCREASING YEARS it will become a staff to lean upon.” [Systematic Theology, p. 368.]

      • Thank you so much for your answer Pastor. I appreciate it Man of God. I came to Fundamental Baptist were my uncle is the Senior Pastor And I am His associate, but to make the long story short He is Arminian and I am a Calvinist while I was in bible college I was searching more and more What truth is all about, and all my Professors was Armenians the moment they teach I refute it on my mind, because they contradited to what the scripture says. And finally I’m graduated and my uncle called me to His ministry, then along the way I preach and teach the congratulation with the perspective of reformed theology after two years of preaching and teaching 95 percent of members captivated by the reformed doctrines, and finally my uncle started hated me, and He throw me to leave the church, but the majority of the members did not want to resign me, and finally the church was split in to two, and now we are in a house church Pastor, praying that God will sustain us. Also I pray for you Pastor.

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