The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I Would Rather Go To Hell Than Enter Heaven Unsanctified

The battle of the Christian is a battle for joy in God. It is a real battle, it is not easy. The Christian doesn't fight for holiness because it gets him into heaven or will assure him that he will get there in the end, but rather because to not do so would be to, in effect, commit suicide. When God changes your will so that you want Him, you don't want sin anymore. The mind, the heart, thirsts for God, to know Him more, to love Him more. But our old sinful flesh still desires the sin. It craves it. It calls us to indulge in it. Sin is still pleasurable, and that's the damned problem. I think at the heart of every true Christian is the passionate desire to love righteousness and hate sin. Psalm 97:10-12 says:

O you who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the lives of His saints; He delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!

Romans 12:9 says "Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good." Earlier in Romans 5:6 we are told that "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." So we are commanded to love righteousness, we are given a heart filled with the love of Christ, and we are told that true love hates evil. God preserves the lives of His saints, He gives them light, He gives joy to those who are upright in heart. We are told to rejoice in the Lord, and to give thanks for the joy He has given us.

The reason I say that I would rather enter into hell than heaven unsanctified is because an unsanctified heaven would be like hell for me. The true Christian wants holiness. Even when he indulges in sin for a season, afterword there is only a bitter taste left. Sin doesn't quench my thirst, but I sure drink from it a lot. Christ quenches my thirst, His righteousness. My sinful flesh tells me sin is where pleasure and delight is found, but my heart, and the Spirit of Christ who dwells there, tells me the truth, that sin gives way to sorrow, and righteousness gives way to eternal delight.

I take life far too lightly. If God is real, if Jesus is who He said He was, and if what He said was true, then I am fooling around with my life way too much. Movies, games, talking and joking with people, in light of eternity it's all pretty stupid. I'm not going to look back on my life and miss those moments too much. I'm going to look back at my life and think that I've wasted it joking and filling my life with movies and games and other frivolity.

You know I think those things can, and should, be used for God's glory. I am not flip flopping on that. I am currently speaking about the sinful uses of these things. When they aren't connected to bringing God glory. When God is forgotten in the enjoyment of them. When what you are enjoying is sinful in and of itself. When there is nothing redeeming, nothing eternal staked to them. This is why it is a fight for joy. It's hard work to brush your teeth to the glory of God, but when you don't, you are omitting something God has commanded, namely to do all to the glory of God, unto the Lord.

The scary thing is I know what I shouldn't do and yet I still do it. I suppose that's the world, the flesh, and the devil. It's that inexplicable thing that happens all the time, which I think Paul speaks of in Romans 7. It's the bitter pill I keep taking day after day after day, only to throw it up at the end of the day or week or month. It goes down sweet but comes up rancid. The command of God for the Christian is to take this pill less and less, and instead take the pill of righteousness, that oftentimes goes down more roughly but actually brings lasting spiritual nourishment, and thus true happiness. I am an unhappy man when I am an unholy man. I am an unholy man. Therefore, I am quite often unhappy.

One of the glories of heaven, one of the greatest, will be that the bitter pill we kept feeding ourselves as believers, and kept fighting by the power of the Spirit and for the love of joy to stop swallowing, will be no more. Our flesh will no longer long for sin, but long for the same things our hearts and minds long for- God. We'll feed off of righteousness and righteousness alone, forever. Fully sanctified, glorified, we will be very, very near to Christ. Near not just in relationship, but in position. We are His bride! We will not grovel at His feet all day! That is what an unsanctified man does, that is what one who hasn't been cleared from the stain of his sins does! But one covered with the blood of Christ, fully glorified, as in us being glorified, is proud to be Christ's bride. His love will be amazing, and we, fully glorified, will be so moved by it that we will get up off our faces and do what He tells us!

It is amazing to me that when I find great pleasure in frivolity, I come home and lay down in bed to great sorrow. It always leaves me empty in the end. Yet every time I go against the grain, overcome the fear of man and pleadings of my flesh, and share the gospel with someone for hours, well into the morning, I find sweet, sweet joy. Joy overflowing. And for the record, I've yet to share the gospel where someone actually repents and receives Christ as Savior. I can't imagine what that experience will be like.

All I mean to say is that Jesus Christ died to make us holy. His blood was shed to make us holy. Anyone who doesn't feel this in their heart doesn't have the Holy Spirit, doesn't have the love of God in his or her heart. If we are still taking joy in sin, if we are still indulging in frivolity and unholy things as the pattern of our life, it is because it is still the love of our lives. It is because we haven't been freed from our love of sin. If we still want the things of this world, what we are asking for is an unsanctified heaven. A humanistic utopia. A man-centered God who saves us from hell but not from sin. And I would rather be in a state of just suffering for my sinful, wicked, detestable cravings, than be in heaven unsanctified, not glorified, still glorying in sin, and nonjustly eluding the punishment I deserve for that.