“Look, if the preacher says God wants you to be happy, then multitudes of the people who want to be happy will flock to Jesus. “Jesus, make me happy.” If the preacher says, “If you’re sick, you’ve got a marriage problem, financial frustration, or loneliness, look to Jesus who will satisfy the desires of your heart.” Then all the people who are lonely and have bad marriages and don’t want to be lonely will come running to Jesus. Each conceives of the ultimate joy as personal satisfaction, right? The ultimate joy would be to be well. Or the ultimate joy would be to be happy. Or the ultimate joy would be to be married to the perfect man. Or the ultimate joy would be to have that house that I want so much. The ultimate joy would be to get a promotion.
Well if that’s what you offer people in the name of Jesus, you’ll fill up Houston Stadium and they’ll all come running in. They’ll sing all the songs and they’ll run to Jesus and Jesus, they hope, will give them all the things that will make them happy.
People who are saved aren’t looking for happy, they’re looking for holy. That’s what they’re looking for, big difference…big difference. They’re looking for holy. They want to escape the power and the penalty of their sin. That’s why Hebrews 12:14 says, “Follow holiness without which no man will see the Lord.” You don’t get there coming in the path of happy. You get there coming in the path of holy. Until people are compelled by their sin to seek a Savior and pursue righteousness, they don’t come to Christ truly…truly.
Christ met the penalty of the Law of God for us so that we could keep the Law of God by the power of the Holy Spirit in us. Christ met the penalty for us, the Spirit fulfills the Law in us.
When the sinner leaves the court of God, the court of God’s pure justice with a pardon for sin, he’s not finished with the law…he’s not finished with the law. Not at all. The moral Law of God runs right through the heart of the Kingdom…it runs right through the heart of every true Christian. The Moral Law of God is nowhere, listen, more at home than in the middle of the Kingdom of grace because God’s Law is a reflection of him and his will.
The Moral Law can’t make us holy. But God can enable us by regeneration in the presence of the Holy Spirit to progressively become holy and to fulfill the Law. This is a fact. If you’re a believer, you are in the process of this progressive sanctification.
What aids that? What enables that? Exposure to truth, right? Second Corinthians 3:18, “As you gaze at the glory of the Lord,” where do you see that? Where do you look and find the glory of God? Where is it revealed? Scripture. The more you gaze at that, the more you’re changed into His image from one level of glory to the next, to the next, to the next by the Holy Spirit. What tool does the Holy Spirit use to sanctify you? The Word, as you gaze at the Word and you see the majesty and glory of Christ and God and the Holy Spirit in the Word, the glory that’s revealed there, you literally are shaped into that image from one level of glory to another, ascending, ascending, that’s progressive sanctification and that’s the work of the Holy Spirit.
And what does it mean to be sanctified and separate from sin? It means to become obedient to the Law of God, obedient to the will of God, to do what pleases God and He’s revealed what pleases Him. Listen, Law obedience is not, cannot be the ground of our justification, but it is the fruit of our justification. And it is the evidence of our sanctification. Those who are justified are also sanctified under the influence of the Holy Spirit by whose power we now live and we can fulfill the divine Law and it’s not burdensome.
What did David say? “Oh how I love Your Law. Your Law is my delight.” Psalm 119, over and over, 175 times and then a final verse on his own admitted wretchedness. We love the Law. It’s our bent. It’s our desire. It’s our hunger. It’s what we want.”