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Three men with three motives

In his book, Doctrine of Repentance, 17th century Puritan preacher and author Thomas Watson tells a story about three men who admit they have completely different motives for turning away from sin. The story goes something like this:

The first man said, I think of the joys of heaven and that causes me not to sin.

The second man said, I think of the torments of hell and that scares me from sinning.

The third man said, I think about the love of God and that makes me forsake sin. After all, sinning would offend the God of love.

You can probably relate to some of these reasons as well. Maybe even all of them. The important thing is not the motivation behind your decision to turn away from sin and do God’s will but that you do it (James 1:22).

Thinking about the joys of heaven

When we keep our thoughts on heaven and the fact that (if we’re saved) we’ll be spending eternity with the Lord, it makes the pleasures of this world seem insignificant. We’re in our mortal bodies for such a short time. From heaven’s perspective, we’re like withering grass and fading flowers (Isaiah 40:7) in that we live for such a short time compared to eternity.

Thinking about the hell

I have to admit that when I was saved as a young boy, my main motivation for accepting Christ was due to my fear of hell. That was in a time when pastors still preached about the torments of hell. Not that none of them preach that today. I know that some do, but probably much fewer than when I was a boy.

Some people object to scaring people into hell. But I say, whatever gets people saved is a good thing. Not that I’m a fire and brimstone kind of guy because I’m not. But keep in mind that Jesus spoke about hell much more often than He spoke about heaven. Why? Because He doesn’t want anyone to go there.

Thinking about God’s love

I find that the more I dig into the word of God, the more I understand the depth of God’s love for me and for you. I serve a living God who paid the penalty for my sins so that, if I accept His son as my Lord and Savior, I can spend eternity with Him. How can I offend a God who loves me that much?

Friends, our God loves us so much that he wishes that none of us should perish (Matthew 18:14). Whatever your motivation is for turning away from sin, the important thing is that we do it.

Resources

Wikipedia: Thomas Watson (Puritan)

I first professed my belief in Jesus as the Son of God and accepted Him as my Savior more than 40 years ago. Since that day, I’ve never doubted that Jesus is who He claims to be. However, that belief didn’t keep me from living my life on my own terms for several years, which resulted in repeating the same sins over and over. In 2013, I became determined to make Jesus the Lord of my life. It was then that the Holy Spirit gave me an insatiable appetite for God’s word. As I turned more and more of my life over to Jesus and cooperated with the Holy Spirit, He has helped me break free of the sins that once enslaved me. Since then, I’ve been strongly compelled to share God’s word and to warn others that we need to get ready because Jesus is coming soon.

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