Even the atheist desires that, but because of profound unbelief they can't submit. Hell is an anti-paradise designed specifically for unbelievers and insincere Christians, if that means anything at all. I believe it applies to those who believe, but fail to trust in Jesus. They are the demons in the midst of the church, feigning submission, but never having submitted. They heard about Jesus' crucifixion, but never allowed themselves to be crucified with him.
The crucifixion of the self is seldom preached, but in order to be born-again that must happen:
Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
Luke 9:23 "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."
Galatians 5:24 "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."Edward's sermon was not on these verses, but the malady those had who ran forward and cried sincerely was the sickness of those who had never been crucified. They were those who hung onto their flesh. Our own god must stand upon a Tree right along there with Jesus. In a divine sense there were not three crosses on Calvary because we should have been crucified right there alongside Jesus. Only two others were filled in a spiritual sense, but they represented the rest of us: (1) the one who preserved himself and (2) the other who was spiritually crucified right alongside Jesus. Sure both died on the cross, but only two of the three lived forever.
The problem with the stubborn malefactor on the cross was pride. He believed in Jesus because he saw him. With the popularity of Jesus, he also surely knew Jesus. However, he had never trusted in Jesus and wasn't about too. I bet he even knew the consequences of unbelief, but still failed to submit!
Amos 9:2 "Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down: 3 And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them:"The Word of God speaks of the Israelites. The notion here is that there is no escaping justice! God offered grace to the Israelites and Edwards spoke of this grace. I, as he did, believe that salvation was always by grace. All of us deserve to die, but that is divine justice. Life is reserved for those who never submit to God.
That submission is the act of being crucified. It is when we present ourselves to God in servitude, and pick up our own cross and follow him. If we pick up that cross, we are safe from eternal punishment, but woe to those who don't get near their own cross. That is claiming to belong to Jesus, but living in the flesh.
We see all sorts of people who believe in and even praise Jesus, but do so with uncircumcised hearts. They may be shacking up, living as slaves to drugs or alcohol, cheaters, liars, lustful, and such; but they are living for themselves, not for Jesus. Christians nowadays sit in darkened theaters and listen to and watch licentious filth with heinous language, but claim they can ignore sin! We should never ignore sin; we should relinquish it to Jesus. When we do that, we hang our own flesh on the cross and die for Jesus:
Romans 12:1 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."This speaks of Larry as to what it takes to be crucified with Jesus: I am to present myself as a living sacrifice. That's what you must do as well. It isn't optional! Paul said that is your reasonable service. It is more than reasonable, it is necessary, and it's what no atheist does and what few Christians ever do! We tend to serve two masters, thinking that we have fire insurance as we languish in the parlors of spiritual whore houses. Those Christians who have yet to be crucified with Christ fornicate with the world because that is where there love lies. The world is their first love, and God only gets a few crumbs from the table of harlots.
I'm not speaking of sex, but it is part of it. Things of the flesh are those things we do to please our true gods: us! It's those idols of our own flesh which we must hang on the cross for crucifixion. That is called submission. Living in sin after being born-again just cannot be! New creatures do new things. They put off the old flesh and put on a new spirit. We must allow our own fleshly desires to die to be with Jesus! The submissive thief on the cross quit worrying about himself and empathized with Jesus! His submission that day saved him, and his reward was paradise that very day!
On the other hand, the second thief had no love in his heart. He stubbornly clung to his hardened heart. He never submitted to the real King, and spent the hereafter in a burning hell merely because he failed to submit. His physical flesh was on the cross, but the foreskin of his heart was not. Justice was served. He died that day - forever! Hell is his reward.
The thought of hell is why I sought salvation. If hell didn't exist, there would be no punishment for the disobedient. I am certainly willing to submit my heart, but my own flesh is weak. It's the willingness which is the crucifixion.
Matthew 26:41 "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."The key word to crucifying ourselves is the willingness to sacrifice what is most important to Jesus. That is our own flesh. Willingness to obey is not a work, it is a spiritual condition. It represents contrition and submissiveness. Abraham was credited with great faith because he was willing to sacrifice what he most loved - his own son. We aren't called to do that. We are called to merely sacrifice our own wicked selves. There is no blood shed in the sacrifice, but we are to spiritually bleed for Jesus. We are to give up the flesh until it hurts because relinquishing sin is painful! Few Christians do that and few have done that.
Deuteronomy 32:35 "To me belongeth vengeance and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste."Edwards spoke on this passage. Their foot shall slide in due time. This was in reference to the Jews and it came about. They were destroyed, and only a few were saved. Just a few remained because of God's grace. He made a promise to Abraham that his nation would prosper and a savior would come from his seed. There were few that made it because His path was narrow, but those who were saved provided salvation for us all: the Jew Jesus Christ!
If you don't know what happened to God's people - yes, God's people; they failed to submit. They failed to make that reasonable sacrifice to God. They failed to put their flesh to death for him. Sure they were circumcised and appeared to belong to God, but their hearts had never given up the flesh. The Hebrews feigned belief in God, but their hearts were not in it. The flesh retained its hold on them. They were symbolic of Christians in name only. They believe, but have never submitted. Vengeance belongs to God for their insincerity because they will slide in due time: their calamity is at hand, and that is hell!
Those with uncircumcised hearts stand on that slippery slope. Their spiritual condition will be revealed when they fail the test. Just as Abraham never had to submit his son, we don't have to submit ourselves! However, we must be willing to do that! Most Christians believe, but are unwilling to give up the flesh. That same flesh that they preserve so well on earth will be the fodder for fuel in a burning hell. The fire of hell burns hot with the abundant fuel of uncircumcised hearts. Yours might burn there too if you are unwilling to change for Jesus!
There it is not hotter than hell as people say in vain today. It will be hell and no laughing matter. The Cross on which Jesus was nailed was his judgment day. God judged him pure from his throne in heaven. Although pure, he suffered death and hell for us, but yet the one who failed to submit to him represented most of us. Jesus asked why God had forsaken him. God never did. Likewise, he will never leave or forsake us, but if we fail to provide our own sacrifice as Jesus did, God will be an angry God and the vengeance is His.
Don't go there! It's too simple. Submit that flesh to him and it will never burn. On the other hand the aroma of burning flesh never moved God from his anger. Don't chance it!
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