Choose Your Destiny # 2
The idea that justification is imparted righteousness and that it is a robe of righteousness put over a dirty filthy fellow who terribly needs a bath and that that dirty, filthy fellow filled with cooties and the accumulation of dirt of his lifetime will stand boldly in God Almighty's holy Heaven among seraphim and cherubim and archangels and the spirits of just men made perfect and blithely and flippantly say "I belong in hell. I'm a filthy man but what are you going to do about it? I have on me the robe of Christ's righteousness and that's enough." This is a heresy as terrible and as devastating as the heresy promulgated by the falsely-called Jehovah's Witnesses!
God saves only sinners and He saves only sinners who know they're sinners who admit they're sinners but He saves sinners from being sinners to being good men and women and full of the Holy Spirit! And when we teach anything else we're teaching heresy! A frightful heresy! The choir sang tonight the song of John Newton. John Newton was a Puritan and John Newton would have been horrified and stood if he had heard the doctrines that we're hearing now!
One man wrote a book or a tract or something and called it "Only Bad Men Go to Heaven." Trying to impress upon the listeners that self-righteousness wouldn't get you into heaven - that's true; trying to impress upon us the idea that it was only by grace and faith and that not of ourselves it's a gift of God and that's true; trying to impress upon the minds of the people that no man by his good works or his good deeds or his good acts can ever be good enough to get to heaven and that he must stand in the righteousness of Christ.
But making, nevertheless, by that kind of a statement the grace of God and turning it into lasciviousness! NO BAD MAN EVER GOES TO HEAVEN! The harlot and the idolator and the liar and the fearful and the unbelieving shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone!
Now, I say that each act has consequences in our moral structure, in what we are, which is by far the most important thing about you. Nobody, nobody fools me by their dress. And certainly nobody fools the Holy Spirit! And nobody impresses the Holy Spirit by how good looking he or she is nor the color of their skin. Nobody impresses the Holy Spirit with their education or their degrees nor where they've been or how many stickers they've got on their suitcase. I preached one time at Wheaton College and I told the professors, God bless them, it's a good college, they gave me a degree - but I told them that this idea that we go around the world and come back all over with stickers - I said, "Go home and wash the stickers off, Professor! We don't care where you've been, we want to know where you're going!"
And our consequences, our choices, I say, have consequences in our moral structure either to strengthen virtue or to rot the nerve center of virtue. You've met people whose virtue has been rotted, like a tree ready to crash, it's rotted at the core and center. And then it has a secondary consequence in what it does to others. For no man lives to himself and no man is an island, as they're saying now. And either directly or indirectly you are deeply influencing somebody else. You don't know who it is, maybe, or maybe you do, but you're deeply influencing somebody. And if you're a carelessly-living Christian there may be persons who will use your careless life as a shield, a hiding place for their own much more serious iniquity! Or, there may be those who kneel at night and thank God for you, and say "God, make me like brother So-and-so, make me like Mrs. So-in-so." It can be either way for deeds have consequences and deeds are the result of choices. Impulsive choices, but choices. Carefully thought-out choices, but choices.
And I say that our most vital acts are our choices, always, our most vital acts! No act has as far-reaching consequences at the act of choosing. I repeat, everything we are, is a result of choices we made, everything we are today is a result of choices we made yesterday. And everything we will be tomorrow will be the result of choices we make today. And those choices may be good or they may be bad; they may be ignorant or they may be well-advised; they may be impulsive or they may be after much thought made; they may be made out of spite.... Many a pair of lovers have had a blow-up and a fight and the girl rushed out and married somebody else and said "I'll show that twerp!" And then she lived with her second choice for a lifetime and whispered to people who knew here in years to come "This was the mistake of my life!" Selfish choices, cowardly choices,choices that are made because we're afraid to make
other ones and careful choices ... we can make them and wise, unselfish,far-seeing, courageous choices, humble,faith-inspired, God-obeying choices, we can make all of those.
Now, I'm asking you this night about your life and character and reminding you that how you are today, what you chose yesterday to be, because neither the blessing nor the curse comes causeless. We must live and continue to live in the light of choices and consequences and this distinguishes the wise man from the fool that the wise man knows that he must give account of the deeds done in the body and the fool doesn't.
I don't like to use the word "fool" because it's not a good word, it's a contemptuous word and I wouldn't use it myself. I don't think that I would say, without some hesitation, that any given man was a fool. But in the Bible the word is used quite a lot and a fool in the Bible is not a man of retarded mentality. He's not even a man who may have lost his mind. In the Bible, a fool is a man who acts without regard to consequences. It has nothing to do with his IQ, nothing to do with his education, nothing to do with his cultural level.
~A. W. Tozer~
(continued with # 3)