Part 7 in a series
We’ve been considering Richard Baxter’s “Directions for Hating Sin,” and we’re up to number 7 now. I’m not going to add much to what he says, probably in large measure because I have to get up and go get my biopsy done tomorrow morning, and I want to get to bed early. But also, what he says pretty well speaks for itself.
I do think that “Direction 7” suffers a little more than earlier entries from the archaic language it uses. So I will take the liberty of updating it just a touch where I think it might be confusing otherwise. I hope you will consider it prayerfully, and be blessed by it.
Consider what kind of life it is which you must live for ever, if you live in heaven; and what a life the holy ones there now live; and then think whether sin, which is so contrary to it, be not a vile and hateful thing. Either you want to live in heaven, or not. If not, you are not one of those I speak to. If you do want to, you know that there is no sinning; no worldly mind, no pride, no evil passion, no fleshly lust or sinful pleasures there. Oh, but if you could only see and hear for one hour, how those blessed spirits are enraptured with loving and magnifying the glorious God in purity and holiness, and how far they are from sin, it would make you loathe sin ever after, and look on sinners as on men in Bedlam (an insane asylum)wallowing naked in their dung. Especially, then, think about the fact that you hope yourselves to live for ever like those holy spirits; and therefore sin is unbecoming to you.
Does Heaven sound boring to you? If so, then you really worship sin, considering it the fountain of all that is good and joyful and happy. It’s a sad delusion you labor under, and I hope you will be freed from it before it’s too late. You might want to consider reading some earlier posts that discuss our heart’s hunger, such as this one and this one. Don’t mind the fact that I wrote those for my kids. They’re a good place to start.
But if you do hope to go to Heaven someday, may I ask why? Is it just to avoid Hell? Is it because you hope for endless baths of calorie-free chocolate, lasagna that grows on trees (one of my favorite childhood fantasies of Heaven), or maybe the sort of carnal indulgence that Islam promises its followers?
Or is it because the Lord you love will be fully known to you there? Is unbroken, untainted spiritual intimacy with Him the joy that you seek? If so, then you, True Believer, are the one I’m speaking to now. I call you “True Believer” because you believe that Jesus is what He claimed to be…our abundant life. Not the gateway to finer pleasures, but Himself our finest pleasure. You believe He is our joy, our all-in-all. Isn’t that what faith in Christ truly is?
You know, of course, that sin is the only real difference between Heaven and Earth. Our sin and the sins of others, and the sin-curse that taints the whole Earth…those are the things that separate us from our greatest Joy.
If we long for the day when we will be free from sin’s curse, doesn’t it make sense to hate sin now?
Why wait for Heaven?