The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—is this:
If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there?
And the question for Christian leaders is: Do we preach and teach and lead in such a way that people are prepared to hear that question and answer with a resounding No?
J. C. Ryle:
But alas, how little fit for heaven are many who talk of going to heaven, when they die, while they manifestly have no saving faith and no real acquaintance with Christ. You give Christ no honor here. You have no communion with Him. You do not love Him. Alas, what could you do in heaven? It would be no place for you. Its joys would be no joys for you. Its happiness would be a happiness into which you could not enter. Its employments would be a weariness and a burden to your heart. Oh, repent and change before it be too late!
—John Piper, God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God’s Love as the Gift of Himself(Wheaton, I: Crossway, 2005), p. 15.
—J. C. Ryle, from his sermon “Christ Is All” (on Col. 3:11), chapter 20 in Holiness: Its Names, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots (1877; reprint, Moscow, ID: Charles Nolan, 2001), p. 384.
(HT: Justin Taylor)