Back Contents Next

Directions to Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation and Counsel to Professors of Christianity

Have and Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

Directions to Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit}


Now, if you want to keep up a heavenly spirit, here are some directions:


Beware of Things That Weaken a Heavenly Spirit

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation and Counsel to Professors of Christianity

Have and Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

Directions to Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

Beware of Things That Weaken a Heavenly Spirit}


First, beware of those things that weaken a heavenly spirit. A heavenly spirit is a very tender thing that must be carefully kept or it will soon suffer damage. It is like the cornea of the eye that is subject to injury from every speck of dust or foreign object. It is like Venetian glass that breaks with every little touch.550 You cannot be too careful to watch and guard the heavenly spirit from everything that is contrary to it.


Beware of Carnal Lusts

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation and Counsel to Professors of Christianity

Have and Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

Directions to Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

Beware of Things That Weaken a Heavenly Spirit

Beware of Carnal Lusts}


Take heed of carnal lusts; these stand between God and the soul and resist the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:17)551 and fight against the soul. “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11 NASB). Water is as consistent with fire, sickness with health, and death with life, as unmortified552 lusts [lusts not put to death] are consistent with a heavenly spirit. You may just as safely live with thieves and bloody murderers as allow fleshly lusts to linger near your hearts. Those that are allowed to hover in the soul will devour your sacrifice553 and, like water, quench the sacred fire. And, like parasitic plants, unmortified lusts consume the nourishment of this Heaven-born spirit. When Alexander asked Diogenes what he would desire from him, Diogenes asked him to move aside from between him and the warm sun. Likewise, a soul that values a view of God will desire nothing more than the removal of anything that stands between him and the warming sight of the Heavenly Sun. Carnal lusts are like venomous breath;554 they soon attack and weaken the vital organs of godliness. Never expect peace or a thriving spiritual seed (1 John 3:9)555 until the bondwoman and her son [lusts] are cast out (Genesis 21:10; Galatians 4:30).556 How quickly have excellent dispositions been entirely lost and the candle of the Lord almost put out by those filthy fumes that ascend from the deeps of unclean and unmortified affections. This worked such changes in Israel; now they sang God’s praises, and then quickly forgot His works (Psalm 106:12).557 Those divine exultations could not last, and what was the cause? Why, it was unmortified lusts that had dominion over them. “They soon forgot His works; They did not wait for His counsel, But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, And tested God in the desert. And He gave them their request, But sent leanness into their soul” (Psalm 106:13–15 NKJV).558 Disobedience to God quickly brought the Jews from being conquerors to captives. They did not utilize their victories and drive the Canaanites out of the valleys as well as the mountains (Judges 1:19–2:4). Likewise, this lack of mortification in believers is the reason that their corruptions so often hinder their graces and make their best heavenly dispositions so short-lived and mutable. Said Samuel Rutherford: “Oh, cursed pleasures! Oh, damnable ease bought with the loss of God!” Oh, Christian! Be as a physician who fortifies the spirits against malignant vapors. Guard your spirit from those filthy and fleshly lusts if you will ever maintain a gracious and heavenly spirit.


Beware of Admitting Earthly Things Too Near the Heart

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation and Counsel to Professors of Christianity

Have and Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

Directions to Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

Beware of Things That Weaken a Heavenly Spirit

Beware of Admitting Earthly Things Near Heart}


Also, earthly things admitted too near the heart prove the bane of a heavenly spirit. They are like a stone tied to a bird’s leg that keeps it down when it attempts to fly. Worldly affections, when they exceed their bounds, are like flood waters that overflow the banks; they carry off all heavenly motions before them. Earthly things are the devil’s lure to professing Christians; they drag down their lofty meditations when they are chasing the things above. It is as when the fowler [bird catcher] lures down the high-soaring lark. The devil deals with earthly people as naturalists say people do with bees; when they swarm and are flying away, people throw up dust and they scatter again. Satan does likewise when a person’s thoughts are on heavenly things; he throws in the dusty thoughts of this world to scatter heavenly thoughts. “For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia” (2 Timothy 4:10 ESV). Earthly things draw the heart away from God, His work, and His concerns. How often do these interrupt, if not drive out, the most serious thoughts of gracious souls. And, when they cannot, as a master, command, they will, as neighbors, be coming in often and hinder the soul in its most weighty business if the door is not locked against their unseasonable visits. Worldly lusts and ungodliness must be denied by those who intend to live righteously, soberly, and godly in this present world (Titus 2:11–12).559 Earthly things are good servants, but bad masters. They are useful in their place, as fire in the hearth is good, but fire in the thatch560 is dangerous. Unruly servants and untamed colts become useful when trained and kept under government; such are earthly things. Worldly thoughts are as some weeds that must often be trodden down or they will grow up and deposit their seed in our hearts. Christian, have a special strong guard against the encroachments of your earthly affairs if you want to ever obtain a thriving heavenly spirit.




Beware of Grieving the Holy Spirit

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation and Counsel to Professors of Christianity

Have and Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

Directions to Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

Beware of Things That Weaken a Heavenly Spirit

Beware of Grieving the Holy Spirit}


Take heed also of grieving the Spirit of grace who maintains and comforts this heavenly spirit. As the spring is to the streams, so is the Holy Spirit to this heavenly spirit in believers. He feeds and supplies it from His own nature. Now, to grieve this Spirit is to provoke Him to withhold His gracious communication, influence, and power to the soul. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30 ESV). This implies that this Spirit of grace, when grieved, suspends His comforting, sealing influences toward the souls of believers. This Scripture is taken from: “But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them” (Isaiah 63:10 NASB). They grieved His Spirit, as the word561 signifies, and this broke that amicable accord between the Spirit and them, so that He became their enemy and cut off all succor from them and even marched forth against them. And that which grieved the Spirit of God was the abuse of His kindness: “In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old” (Isaiah 63:9 NASB). Nothing more grieves the Spirit of God than the abuse of His kindness and tender mercy to His people. When the Lord has been showing heartfelt pity to souls with saving and redeeming mercy, has been widely pouring out His love upon them, and has been bearing with and carrying them for a long time—and all this is slighted and contemned and the soul takes no notice of all this grace, but still perseveres in its evil course—this grieves the Spirit and causes Him to withhold His tender mercy and enlivening influence from the soul, and it becomes weak as water and all its leaves wither even in the spring (Ezekiel 17:19; Psalm 104:29).562 An arm or leg atrophies when it can no longer receive influences from the head, and a branch withers when it receives no sap from the root; so it is with the soul when the Spirit ceases all His gracious communication, influence, and empowerment. He does this when He is grieved by those He loves and for whom He labors. It is not as if the Divine Holy Spirit could be capable of passions or be perturbed as are creatures. But the Holy Spirit may be said to be grieved563 when gracious souls do that which is enough to grieve a human who tenderly cares for us and by all means seeks our eternal good. Now, two things usually grieve such a person: injuries from a friend and the sufferings of a friend. Unkindness from those we love usually strikes nearer our heart than any injuries from strangers or enemies. We usually expect more regard from those we love and are thus more troubled by disappointments. And such is the tenderness of the Spirit toward believers that lack of love or injury from the believer is more abusive, and by its very nature, is entirely grieving. Again, we usually grieve at the evils of those whom we love; such are the sins of believers: their sins are injurious to themselves and enemies to their own souls. The Spirit of God sees gracious souls resist Him and frustrate His work in them by their carnal affections, sensual passions, corrupt communications, and fleshly lusts. Moreover, they also injure and endanger their own souls, lose many mercies, and pull down upon themselves many afflictions and the fatherly displeasure of God against them. This also grieves the [compassionate] Spirit to see. For all of this, the Holy Spirit removes His presence and lessens His comforting, enlivening operations, thus, the person’s spirit fails and becomes cold and weak to every heavenly action. Your work, Christian, is to be tender to the Spirit, to take heed that you are not unkind to His Person, that you do not undervalue His gracious influences and communications or resist His internal operations.


If you do not want to grieve the Holy Spirit and thus deprive yourself of His enlivening influences on your spirit, then take heed of being unthankful for His kindnesses, of slighting His counsels, and of unsuitable walking according to His rules and mercies.


That is the first thing to do if you want to keep up a heavenly spirit: beware of those things that weaken your heavenly spirit.


Get All the Nourishment You Can to Strengthen Your Heavenly Spirit

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation and Counsel to Professors of Christianity

Have and Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

Directions to Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

Get All the Nourishment You Can to Strengthen It}


Second, if you want to maintain a heavenly spirit, get all the nourishment you can for it. The body is nourished by food, and the emotional state by joy and contentment. Likewise, the heavenly spirit is nourished by all the means and helps that God has appointed for the purpose. “In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following” (1 Timothy 4:6 NASB). The Word and ordinances are, to the inner man, like food to the outward. They strengthen the spiritual part and maintain its vigor and activity. “Timothy had imbibed the doctrine of the Gospel together with his milk,” said John Calvin, “and had made continual progress in the same to that day, which did so greatly strengthen and nourish him in his faith and graces.” The Word of God is suitable, sent, and commissioned to the service and advantage of your graces. It is the way by which the Lord Jesus maintains and increases spiritual life and growth in the newborn soul. “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2 ESV). Attend all the ordinances of God where they are purely and powerfully administered. Give yourself to reading the Scriptures and whatever helpful things the Lord gives you for your instruction and enlivening. “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress” (1 Timothy 4:13–15 ESV). Devote yourself, that is, exercise yourself with these continually and constantly, and with all your might. Do not let a day pass without reading, meditation, and private prayer, so that the inner person may have all needed supplies and everything appointed for its strengthening. Your bodies can better tolerate lack of their usual food than your souls their daily [spiritual] bread. The lack of constant feeding and sound digestion of spiritual provisions is one cause of that leanness of soul and spiritual languishing that abounds everywhere today.


Spend Much Time in Communion with God

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation and Counsel to Professors of Christianity

Have and Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

Directions to Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

Spend Much Time in Communion with God}


Third, if you want to keep up a heavenly spirit, spend much time in communion with the Father of Spirits. Fellowship with God puts a stamp of Heaven on the soul and leaves an impress of the of the divine nature on it. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NASB). Views of God, though only through the [unclear] glass of ordinances, make us like Him and transform the mind into His own likeness. When Moses was taken up to be close to God, some of the radiance of God’s glory remained on him and his face shone with it (Exodus 34:30).564 When the Lord Jesus went on to a high mountain apart [from the crowds] and had closer fellowship with Heaven, He was transfigured and His face shone (Matthew 17:1–2).565 Nearness to God wonderfully warms and enlivens the heart as sunlight does for the body. “For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light” (Psalm 36:9 NASB). The cause of spiritual life is union with God in Christ by faith. Likewise, the health of spiritual life is maintained by communion with Him in the Spirit who enlivens the soul as a spring supplies water to a container. God, in Himself, in His essence, is life, and is the source of life to His people. Someone said, “You, Lord, are life by your essence, and the source of life by communion. From you all life flows out and runs down unceasingly.” In fellowship the Lord Jesus lets out Himself, Love, and Spirit, and this attracts the heart to God and strengthens the soul’s attraction to Him. “Every act of fellowship with Christ here,” said Mr. Reyner, “is a step Heavenward.” By fellowship with God, the heart is raised toward God, and sweetly refreshed and strengthened with spiritual strength. “To live in fellowship with God,” said Mr. Reyner, “is to live in the highest manner under Heaven, next to Heaven, even as if in a corner of Heaven, and to live in the highest region of Christianity. It is the life of paradise, an evangelical, even an angelical and celestial life. By comparison, most men and women are dead.” Communion with God wonderfully nourishes the heavenly spirit and builds up the spiritual part of believers. “Such,” said Reyner, “suck a honeycomb, eat fat things full of marrow, and drink wine on the lees, well-refined, spiced wine.” Oh, Christian, press toward nearness to God in ordinances and duties. Do not rest in even the highest privileges without spiritual conversation with God in them and communication of His love and life through them.


Cherish Heavenly Influences from the Holy Spirit in Your Hearts

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation and Counsel to Professors of Christianity

Have and Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

Directions to Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

Cherish Heavenly Influences from the Holy Spirit}


Fourth, if you want to keep up a heavenly spirit, cherish heavenly impulses in your hearts and be sensitive to all of the breathing of the Holy Spirit on you. It may be that the Lord comes and brings to the heart some spiritual light or life in a sermon, a duty, or when alone, stirring up your desires, warming your affections, making some offer of grace or help to your dull and languishing soul. Take heed then that you do not slight or stifle these. That is one step to quenching the Spirit and impeding His gracious assistance and vital operations on your soul. “Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19 ESV). One who wants to kindle a fire gathers up every little [glowing] coal and makes the most of the least spark. Shavings of gold are [still] gold, and the smallest breathing of the Spirit is to be highly prized. One who checks the first motions of the Spirit may never meet with the second, and one who slights the least gifts of grace may forever lack its larger portions. Oh, to what a height might grace come into your soul if every stirring of it were put to work! God does not despise the day of your small things (Zechariah 4:10).566 How unreasonable it is that you should overlook His! Christian, the Lord Jesus nourishes and cherishes the least good that is in you (Ephesians 5:29).567 Oh, be sensitive to whatever communication comes from Him to you. This will abundantly help enlivening and enlargement of the heavenly spirit.



Frequently Consider Heaven

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation and Counsel to Professors of Christianity

Have and Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

Directions to Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

Frequently Consider Heaven}


Fifth, if you want to keep up a heavenly spirit, frequently spend time considering Heaven; this will make your spirit Heaven-oriented.568 It was this that made the apostles men of such heavenly spirits; they often looked to the things above. “As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18 ESV). No affliction could discourage them from acknowledging and professing Christ. Earthly comforts did not allure their desires and delights away from Christ. That which so strongly guarded their hearts from either of these dangers was a firm persuasion of a portion of future glory and diligently keeping their eyes on this glory. Sighting carefully at this target wonderfully raises the heart toward it and puts a new spirit and life into the soul. This strongly impels the soul in its attempts toward the enjoyment of it. Frequent contemplation of Heaven does much to wean the heart from this earth. If you remember that you are not of this world (John 15:19),569 you will admit earthly things only into the court of the Temple, not into the heart, which is the holy of holies. Consider the worthies of old listed in Hebrews 11; how contemptuously did they look on this world when they got sights of Heaven! They counted themselves strangers and pilgrims on the earth, and were not mindful of their former country, but went out, never to return. They sought a heavenly country, were persuaded of those great and glorious things above, and embraced them. They laid hold of them by faith and strove for them; it was their believing sights [by faith] of them that powerfully worked on their spirits to seek these things above. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13 NKJV). Canaan was merely a type of heavenly things. Pareus says that the promises refer to the heavenly country that they alone desired. “Things nearest Heaven,” said one, “take least care of the earth. The birds of the air neither plow nor sow.” The glory of the world seems little to one who spends much time on believing views of Heaven. It is said of Fulgentius that when he beheld the splendor and joy of Rome, the glory of the Roman nobility, and the triumphant pomp of King Theodoric, that he was so far from being taken in by it, that it raised up his desire for heavenly joys all the more, and he said, “How beautiful must the celestial Jerusalem be when terrestrial Rome so glitters! If such honor be given to lovers of vanity, what glory will be imparted to the saints, who are lovers and followers of truth!” Serious thoughts of Heaven will inflame our desire after it. “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:20–21 NKJV). We wait for, hope for, and expect Heaven to be this blessed country (Hebrews 11:16),570 the breadth and length of which we now look into by faith. If your thoughts are much on Heaven, your longing will be much for Heaven. I have read of one who made a journey to Jerusalem; he thought he saw famous cities along his way and met with many friendly entertainments, yet he would often say, “I must not stay here; this is not Jerusalem.” If you meditate often about Heaven now, when you meet with the most desirable comforts of this life, your heart will say, “This is not Heaven; my affections must not stay here.” Allow time every day to visit the upper world and get your heart held in the places above. It is there that are found the sweetest delicacies and most delightful views for your heart to visit and refine your affections toward these pure and eternal things.


Assiduously Practice Heavenly Actions

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Exhortation and Counsel to Professors of Christianity

Have and Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

Directions to Keep Up a Heavenly Spirit

Assiduously Practice Heavenly Actions}


Sixth, if you want to keep up a heavenly spirit, get much practice in heavenly actions. People usually have the most skill in the things they do most often; this usually shows in their spirits. Actions strengthen habits. People who are greatly engaged about earthly things are earthly minded and their spirits are affected by the things they do most. Heavenly actions are like this to gracious souls. They draw out and exercise their graces. Practice makes people able to do their work and adapts their spirits to their work. The apostle makes this an evidence of strength in grace, that such people exercise it much. “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14 NASB). The greater your deep familiarity with holy things, the stronger will be the bent of your spirit to them, the easier and more pleasant your Christianity will be, and the reluctance of your spirit to it will be abated.571The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the blameless, but destruction to evildoers” (Proverbs 10:29 ESV). The more you walk in the way of the Lord, the less weary you will be, the more pleasure you will find in it, and the more inclined to it will be your spirit.


This is the first work in wisdom’s merchandise: to get and keep up a heavenly spirit.




550Venice, particularly the island of Murano, was famous for highly artistic, exquisitely made articles of glass; their fine features made them fragile.

551For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Galatians 5:17 NASB).

552mortify: put to death. Mortification of sin, that is, putting sin to death, and the necessity of doing so, is a major theme of Puritan writers based upon such Scriptures as: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13 ESV). And: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5 ESV).

553A reference to the Old Testament sacrificial system.

554venomous breath: a possible reference to myth of the Lernaean Hydra, whose breath was poisonous enough to kill people; the Hydra was slain by Herakles (Hercules).

555No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9 ESV).

556Therefore she said to Abraham, ‘Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac’” (Genesis 21:10 NKJV). “Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? ‘Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman’” (Galatians 4:30 NKJV).

557Then they believed His words; They sang His praise. They soon forgot His works; They did not wait for His counsel, But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, And tested God in the desert” (Psalm 106:12–14 NKJV).

558This passage appears to refer to the event in Numbers 11:31 when the Israelites lusted for meat instead of manna and God sent a large quantity of quails among them. Due to their rebellious and ungrateful hearts, God struck the people with a great plague. The following event in Numbers 12 corresponds with the next event mentioned in Psalm 106 (verse 16), the rebellion against Moses and Aaron, giving evidence of the correctness of the cross reference. In Psalm 116:15, the Lord sent רָז֣וֹן [raw-zone´, thinness/leanness] בְּ [into/among] נַפְשָֽׁם [root: נֶפֶשׁ neh´-fesh, life/soul] (English word order). Due to the clear reference to a plague in Numbers 11:33, many translations render the Hebrew as wasting disease. But as may be seen above, leanness into their souls is also possible, as rendered by the KJV and NKJV. This editor wishes to suggest that it is not impossible that God struck them with leanness of both body and soul.

559For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11–12 NKJV).

560thatch: a reference to a (typically) straw-thatched roof.

561עִצְּבוּ [root: aw-tsab´–meaning to displease, grieve, hurt.]

562Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘As I live, surely My oath which he despised, and My covenant which he broke, I will recompense on his own head’” (Ezekiel 17:19 NKJV). “You hide Your face, they are dismayed; You take away their spirit, they expire And return to their dust” (Psalm 104:29 NASB).

563All throughout Scripture, God expresses various emotions. This is not unreasonable since humans have emotions and are made in God’s image. Yet there is clearly a difference: human emotions are all too frequently sinful and uncontrolled. But God’s emotions are perfectly controlled, purposeful, holy, and as transcendent as God Himself. And, just as human emotions are part of creaturely human nature, so God’s emotions are of divine nature, and real divine emotions, not mere figures of speech. Now, God is immutable, that is, unchangeable. But when He created this universe, and when He now interacts with this universe, there was and is no change in God Himself. But Scripture clearly teaches that God is pleased or displeased by various human actions, although God is immutable and His eternal self-sufficiency and glorious happiness is not at all changed. We can only humbly treat this as a holy mystery and not doubt the truthfulness of Scripture. This editor therefore respectfully suggests that Ashwood’s statement: “But the Holy Spirit may be said to be grieved…” [emphasis added], implying that the grieving of the Holy Spirit is somehow less than real, is not true to Scripture.

564So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him” (Exodus 34:30 NKJV).

565Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light” (Matthew 17:1–2 NKJV).

566For who has despised the day of small things? But these seven will be glad when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel—these are the eyes of the Lord which range to and fro throughout the earth” (Zechariah 4:10 NASB).

567For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church” (Ephesians 5:29 NKJV).

568The editor wishes to take the liberty to interject that we should also frequently consider Hell for at least three reasons. First, the horror of Hell should drive us to Christ and thankful thoughts of Heaven. Second, Christ Himself frequently spoke of both Heaven and Hell; He obviously thinks the subject of Hell worthy of consideration. Third, Christ, in order to completely satisfy God’s justice, endured the equivalent of eternity in Hell. We do not know exactly how, but we do know that perfect substitutionary atonement and satisfaction of divine justice mandated it. This realization ought to engender in us great love, gratitude, trust, and obedience to Christ.

569If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19 NKJV).

570But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:16 NASB).

571In all sons and daughters of Adam there is a natural rebelliousness against God. This original sin not only leads to sinful thoughts, words, and actions, but a reluctance to obey God and fully embrace our Lord Jesus Christ without the least reservation in mind, soul, and heart. The struggle against this is lifelong. Were this reluctance not there, we would never sin.

Back Contents Next