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What is the fitness needed to enter and enjoy that holy place of God's awful presence? If we will attend to the voice of inspiration no man need be deceived in this matter.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."—Matt 5: 8. "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." —Heb. 12: 14.
Reader, do you now perceive why God created man in his own image? He designed that his intelligent creatures should enjoy the fellowship and companionship of their Creator. But this can only take place on the plane of his nature, in the possession of his own holiness. Hence, also, the injunction, "Be ye holy, for I am holy. "—1 Pet. 1: 16. According to the very nature of the case, no person in this world, or in the world to come, can enjoy, or even endure the divine presence and glory unless transformed into the same image, and filled with his glory. Daniel was a righteous man, and yet he was "afraid and fell upon his face" (Dan. 8:17), at the approach of Gabriel, an angel from God's presence. The Apostle John was a wholly sanctified man of God, and yet when he saw the Almighty Redeemer whose "countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength, fell at his feet as dead. "—Rev. 1:16, 17. Though morally fitted to enjoy God, the resurrection and glorification of the body was yet wanting. How, then, can any soul with the smallest spot of sin hope to stand before God in the awful day of his coming and judgment? "Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. "—2 Pet. 3:14. 0 how many plain and solemn warnings God has given all men of that day when all must stand or fall in the presence of his majesty and glory, when the earth and the works thereof shall be burned up ! " Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness? "—2 Pet. 3: 11.
Reader, are you a candidate for heaven and eternal glory? Then mark well the conditions upon which you must take your crown, and in the default of which you must sink to an awful doom. How think you the gates of heaven will be guarded against the entrance of unworthy characters? We read of no mighty angel, who, with all-penetrating eyes shall examine those who would enter there. How then will the purity of heaven be protected? Find an answer in 2 Thess. 1:7-9.
"And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. "
At the same time we are told he will "be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that believe." So let it be known once for all that all who are unfit for heaven will be driven back to hell " from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." Though heaven's gates stand wide open before all men, no person will enter with a stain of sin upon his soul. No unholy man can endure the presence of God and his divine glory The hottest place in hell were a relief to the soul unsaved and out of Christ.
A wit once said in a New York paper that he dreamed a certain man, prominent in his circle, had died, and approached the gates of heaven, where he was told, "You MAY COME IN BUT YOU WILL NOT LIKE IT." A mighty truth was unwittingly uttered by the thoughtless sinner. Oh that the Almighty may make men to consider that heaven were worse than hell itself for all who are not of heavenly temper! Oh how sad and sickening the sight of our present evil world, and its awful destiny so near! The masses who profess the Christian name, know they are sinful and unholy, and yet hope to stop sinning when safe in heaven. We used to hear them sing with much animation,
"If I only get to heaven, if I only get to heaven,
If I only get to heaven when I die."
They hope to see the beautiful gate ajar for them, and if they may only be permitted to slip into the golden city, imagine they will be all right. Oh how awful will be their disappointment! The very holiness of heaven will drive them back in terror. Jesus knew very well that men would base their eternal happiness on merely getting into heaven, and has given us a parable to show all men how such a faith will terminate. He tells of one who came in without the "wedding garment;" but he did not enjoy it. He was speechless, and was bound hand and foot, and east out into outer darkness; " there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."—Matt. 22:11-13. Nothing but the spotless robe of perfect holiness will make heaven a heaven to you.
"Be not deceived, God is not mocked." None but the pure in heart can enter there and see God in peace. Yea, in the light of God's truth we cry aloud and say unto all you must be as pure as heaven to enter and enjoy that holy place. And, thanks be to the God of all grace and mercy, SALVATION Will put you in that condition and preserve you ready to enter and enjoy all the glory of heaven. Many scriptures prove the fact. "For by one offering, he, Christ, hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. "—Heb. 10: 14. This does not mean that the holy state can not be forfeited; but that entire sanctification perfects our salvation from sin, and puts us on the plane of heaven's purity. Hence, if that grace is retained no further cleansing is needed forever. Therefore, Christ "being made perfect—a perfect Savior—became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. " The law was a temporary system; it made nothing perfect; but the bringing in of a better hope—Christ—did. In him we have come to the final and complete redemption, that fits us for the society of God through all remaining time and eternity.
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."—1 Thess. 5: 23, 24.
"And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, Yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreprovable in his sight."—Col. 1:21, 22. "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. " —1 Pet. 1:5
"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world."—1 John 4:17.
These scriptures clearly and positively affirm that the salvation of God us soul, body, and spirit, and preserves us blameless. "Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last day." Even as Christ is, so are we in this world, and therefore will have boldness in the day of judgment.
There is, therefore, no purgatory needed by the Christian. Nor is such a thing taught in the scripture. Nor yet that other deception of Satan: namely, extreme unction. SALVATION is God's extreme unction; the fullness of his power revealed in us; keeping us blameless and spotless in his sight. And, "So an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly, into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."—2 Pet. 1:11.