NO HOLINESS NO HEAVEN!
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1Cor. 6:9-11)
We live at a time when everything is permissible as long as you do not tell me that I am wrong. If you like it do it. Postmodernism is the philosophy behind these thoughts. Nothing is either right or wrong. But even worse, even God is not right because He is not taken seriously at His Word. His Word is ignored, yet people want to go to heaven on their terms! It is shocking that the society that we live in want to force God to live with them eternally! Many think that they are wiser than God and so try to divorce religion from morality. Many suppose that heaven is for everyone and so will not accept that God has His people that He will save. They will not accept it that Jesus died only for those who belong to God. They think that God is unfair or unjust in having His choice and so try to argue away the doctrine of election. Surely, God is the standard of justice and no one will arm-twist Him out of His divine purposes. Holiness is what God requires of us and nothing less – without no heaven.
1. THE UNRIGHTEOUS WILL NOT GET TO HEAVEN
You ought to know that no one with a spot of sin will be admitted in heaven. this is a basic truth that we should never forget. No wrong –doer has a place in heaven. they may rob us anything while on this earth but our comfort is that they cannot deprive us of our eternal place in heaven. on the other hand no Christian should accommodate a thought that thinks that lawless license will be permitted by God even for a second.
Righteousness is fundamental characteristic of the citizens of heaven as the Lord sought to prove in His longest sermon commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7). The point is that the ethics of the kingdom to come determine the morals of this life for those who are in it. This means that we must obey the law because it is the law points us to the gospel once we see that we are in the state of sin. The law sends us to the Saviour to shape up our lives. We must realize that ‘Christ freed us from the manner of our obedience but not from the matter of our obedience’ as Samuel Bolton puts it in his book The True Bounds of Christian Freedom.
How does anyone think that such a holy God would put up with fornicators, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, coveters, drunkards revilers, extortionist and others like them? They are completely mistaken whether they bishops of Canterbury or presidents of superpower nations. It does not matter what earthly mob they can marshal to support their wickedness – God will not admit them anywhere near His presence. Moreover, I would also like to advice them not to venture because they would be ushered into instant death like Uzzah. No immoral person (whether openly immoral or inward) will ever get an audience with God except for punishment.
All sins are as serious and will be punished in the same manner – eternal damnation from the presence of God. Open sin like idolatry are the same as covetousness. A thieve is equal to a greedy person in so many ways. Throughout the Scripture sins of the heart are equated with open sins. And we should not try to be smarter here. We should not grow in pet sins because none is admissible in heaven! Christian liberty should not be used to excuse sin. The Corinthian church excused the sin of adultery in the church but the apostle writes to tell them that such a one should be handed over to Satan for his flesh to be dealt with to save his soul. However, such should not be among God’s people and must be purged from the church.
What is your sin? Many suppose that they do not have any sin because they are ‘good’ and try to be nice to everyone. Many suppose that although God is holy he will excuse them. Many are self-deceived that because they have religious experiences their sins does not matter. But no religious experiences are only good if they produce an eternal effect as the Author of Hebrews points out in chapter six. You might be one who has delighted in the Word of God, (like the seed that fell on the rock) or even better endure for so long but does not persevere up to the end, all these belong to the same category – they will be punished eternally. Let no one think that hell is an instantaneous event such that the wicked will be punished but for a moment and then be consumed, as some have been tempted to think. Those who will not make it to heaven eternally will be in hell, to the unquenchable fire, where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. (Mark 9:44,48).
We all would have been punished the same because we were also as wicked as these people who practice all sorts of licentiousness without restraint. We were perverts like these. And if this is the case we have a duty to do two things:
i) We need to praise God who has so graciously saved us. We should live to His glory for saving us though He had the right to throw us to eternal hell. Therefore, whether we eat or drink, it should be for the glory of God (1Cor.10:31). It should b our first priority and ambition, to please Him (2Cor 5:9). Live to God’s glory every hour every second – 24/7 as young people put it, to live to the glory of God. This means living in God’s presence by fearing Him.
ii) We must also realize that it is our duty, out of love of God and His elect, to preach the gospel both privately and publically. We need to always to be vigilant for an opportunity to witness to our children, spouses, relatives, friends and neighbors. We should know that we snatch them from fire (Jude 23). Pray constantly for those that you have reached with the gospel and even for those you cannot reach for one reason or another. Pray for the ministers of the gospel that God may open opportunities of ministry (Col. 4:3; 1Thess.3:1, 2; Philem. 6). Pray for other Christians to be faithful in evangelizing to others and be faithful Christians (Heb 13:18).
2. ONLY THE HOLY ONES WILL BE WITH GOD FOREVER
But you have been converted from gross sin to holiness by God through His wonderful grace which works in the people of His choice. All the wickedness and perdition in which we once walked are all things of the past for, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2Cor5:17). But how did it happen that such wretched people, we were became so transformed? Did we change ourselves? Did we make any decision to be changed? Where did we get the remedy?
We were lost, wretched, sick even dead! Completely helpless. Utterly unable to do anything to change our condition. No sinner can do anything to make his condition of sin a half an inch better. How he being so depraved? How can he when his heart is darkened and hardened to a stone unable to respond to the things of the Spirit? How can help himself when his heart pumps nothing but sin through the whole body? His condition is such that the mind is calloused and seared as of iron unable to understand any statement made to Him to be different? Both his heart and mind must be radically transformed to be able to make any response.
This is what happens for we read that we, “were washed… sanctified (and) …justified.” To be washed means to purify and is frequently used in Scripture to express moral or spiritual purification (Isa1:16; Jer. 4:14; Psa. 51:7). This is something done by the Lord Jesus Christ through His blood. Thankfully the blood is already shed for us for the forgiveness of our sins. Thankfully this blood is very effectual and there is no of a repeat. Praise God for He is willing to wash whoever would be willing to come for this washing.
Remember the old hymn: “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus, What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!” Nothing, Yes Nothing… Only the Blood of the Son of God, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, the Anointed king of glory, the Lord Jesus Christ, is able to bring an effectual washing and permanent effects to sinners. Will you come to Him and obtain eternal life? Will you request Him to take away your sins? Will you tell Him to wash you and you will be clean? Will you cry to Him to come to your aid? And for those who have come to Him, will you prostrate yourself before Him and worship Him with the heavenly hosts and sing, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing! (Rev.5:12)
To be sanctified may either be a way of emphasizing the washing into holiness or it may be understood to mean that we have been consecrated or separated from sin completely or even better both (which is what I favour). We have been sanctified by the Holy Spirit who separated us from sin through definitive sanctification and makes us holy every day through progressive sanctification. just as the Spirit of God is defined in terms of His holiness, He is constantly working to make God’s people, the elect, holy. God has changed and He will not change His mind, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." (1Pet1:16). God’s people are “… a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1Pet 2:9-10).
Consequently, you have been justified. This means that God has declared you ‘not guilty’ and more than that pronounced you righteous before His law! What a joy to know that those who are in Christ have no condemnation? (Rom 8:1). The basis for this declaration for God is because Christ has clothed you in His righteousness. God is looking at you and looking at the charge sheet handed to Him, and it is like you never sinned. You have been justified not because of what you have done, but because of what Christ has done and accomplished for you. And you have trusted upon Him who has brought these wonderful blessings to you. This means that you therefore must not relapse to your old way of life of horrendous wickedness in which you once lived.
Thankfully though we were once so terrible, we can have the assurance of better things that accompany salvation. Because our salvation is not dependent on man who can fail. It does not depend on the blood of animals, which cannot forgive any sin or make anyone holy. Neither does it depend on human philosophy, tradition nor myths. Our salvation depends on God (Jonah 2:9). And He has make it plain to us through His Word is sure and trustworthy. His Word is our assurance and the anchor of our salvation is Christ. We have a sure hope, the hope that does not disappoint.
We should be careful not to neglect such a great salvation as we have done through this last year. We should not go back to the mire of sin as we have been doing. We need to refocus our attention to Christ our God, the Author and Perfector of our salvation. Let this new year 2011 be year of growing to spiritual in grace, and in faith to maturity. Lets us grow thereby through a thorough and a careful discipline of study of God’s word and by prayer. Let our self-discipline and chastity be conspicuous to all that they may know that the Holy Spirit of God lives in us. Let us work hard our salvation with fear and trembling through and through that we may bring honour to God’s Name. Amen.