Choose Your Destiny # 3
These playboys, these rich playboys we read about, they've had all the education they could get, they have all the money and the best clothes, and the best cars and the best homes and the best food and they're exposed to the ... I use the word "best" not in its moral sense at all but in the sense of the finest that can be had with money and prestige and yet they're playboys and they live their lives out and every once in awhile you'll hear some old, wrinkled playboy dying - and they all do after awhile, as we all do. He's had all the women he's wanted because he had the money to buy them. And he's had all of the acceptance in society because he had money and his name was in the paper and now he's got to die. And he dies as a fool dies for he dies without thought of consequence. He lived without thought of consequences and made his choices but he may think about them when he's dying but it's too late then.
It doesn't make any difference about the IQ, I say. The difference is not a mental one but a moral one. It's not even - it is a moral one, but it's further in yet than that for morals as I understand and use the word has to do with ethics and righteousness and my relation to my fellow man and myself but it's deeper in than that. It's in the spirit of man. In the Bible a wise man is not a man of high cultural levels, necessarily - he could be. In the Bible a wise man is a man who acts with an eye to consequences. He thinks "What will the result of this be?" And then he acts in a way that will bring him consequences that he won't have to be ashamed of or afraid of in the day to come. And this explains wisdom and folly as God sees it.
There was that man that our Lord told about and called a fool. I don't think his neighbors said he was a fool, I don't think they did. I think that if he stopped to nod to a farmer along the road the farmer hustled home and told his wife. "What do you think, Mabel, Mr. So-and-so nodded to me today and called me by my first name." And if he went to a Grange meeting he would be the first one to get the floor. Everybody would sit down while he talked. And if he ran for some little office he would get elected. Why? Because he was a land owner a big farmer and a big guy and a big wheel and he had to tear down his barns and build bigger ones because he'd had a bumper crop. And when his hired men came in with their hats twiriling around their thumbs awkwardly and shifted from foot to foot and said "Mr. So-and-so, boss, we have more to acre out on the south forty than we've ever had! You won't believe it when I tell you how many cartloads of wheat and corn I've brought in! And we've filled the barns!"
"Well," he said, "We're going to have to do some remodeling." He rubbed his hands and he went out and remodeled. Then he ate his supper. Talked to his wife all the time about his big barns, and the grain. And as he was eating he said "I don't feel so well." His wife said, "Oh, you're busy today, all the excitement and all. Get to bed early."
So he went off to bed that night and his wife went up later. She spoke to him. She was getting herself ready for bed; she tried to carry on a conversation;she got no answer. She raided her voice a bit; got no answer. Finally went over and looked at him and then shook him and then screamed.
"This night thy soul has been required of thee, thou fool!" said Jesus.
An educated man, a man of some standing in the neighborhood. A wealthy man, a man who looked ahead. But a man who never thought beyond his last heartbeat! He was a fool! Our Lord said so! Hell is full of fools and Heaven is full of wise men. And there'll never be a fool in Heaven and there'll never be a wise man in hell according to God's definitions. For according to God's definition a fool is one who acts without regard to consequences and who chooses without thinking of eternity and nobody will be in Heaven like that. And according to God's definition a wise man - I may have mixed that up - but I'm trying to show the difference between two. The wise man is the one who chooses thinking of tomorrow and Heaven will be filled with men like that. And hell will be filled with the opposite who lived for today. And not necessarily evil men.
The idea that God loves evil men and can't stand a decent man is a modern heresy! It's not true and never was true! There's nothing in the Bible to lead us to believe that it's true. But if the evil man became wise long enough to make his eternal choice in the light of eternal consequences and chose God and Christ and the blood of the Lamb and repentance and deliverance from sin he's a wise man and God accounts him such and Heaven will be filled with such.
And if the good decent fellow who lives a decent life on earth and was well thought of by the people and perhaps preached into some kind of gentle limbo when he died - the pastor didn't have quite the courage to say that this upstanding citizen's in Heaven knowing he's a scoundrel, though reasonably decent and everybody liked him. Why, if he didn't preach him to heaven he preached him to the front gate. You've been present at funerals where there were men who never turned their face upward to look at God. They ate and drank, and never like the chicken that drinks and looks up to God, or never like the bird that sang His praise but thought only of themselves and lived for themselves yet they're pretty decent fellows. Pretty decent fellows, they are. I know a lot of them.
But they are fools because they made their choices. They chose whom they wanted to marry and they married that person but they didn't think of eternity when they did it! They chose what they wanted to do with their money and they did it. They chose what they were going to say and they said, as the brother read in the Psalm this morning, "Our mouths are our own, our tongues belong to us. Who can tell us what to say with our tongues?" So they said what they would but they didn't think of the judgment day and tomorrow and the awful face of God and the great white throne ... and they were fools!
Hell, I say, is full of fools and Heaven is full of wise men! There are wise men in Heaven who couldn't read and write when they were on earth and there are fools in hell who had degrees after their name like the tail on a kite! They knew everything but the one thing .... They were fools!
"Therefore choose," says the Holy Spirit. And the great main choice is between life and death. Now I ask you to notice that what you shall choose has been decided for you. But what you shall choose has been left to your own decision. It's already been decided that every man has to chose. We can't escape that. "Choose you this day," says the Holy Spirit. But what we choose is left to ourselves. The eternal decrees of God that our Presbyterian friends like to talk about take in this: that I must choose, but they do not take in what I choose. As soon as the eternal decrees determine what I choose I'm no longer a free moral agent. I'm no longer free at all. I'm a tomatom, a Mr X, an electric brain and God controls me from heaven and I have no choice of my own.
Now, brethren, free choice is necessary to holiness just as it is necessary to sin. If a man can't sin, he can't be holy. Because if he can't sin he isn't free and if he isn't free he can't be holy for holiness is moral freedom of choice resulting in a right choice, a choice of holiness and righteousness.
~A. W. Tozer~
(continued with # 4)