“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
In the preface to his allegorical book on heaven and hell (The Great Divorce), C.S. Lewis states that “if we insist on keeping hell (or even earth) we shall not see heaven: if we accept heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of hell.” In other words, we can’t take anything from earth with us to heaven – whether it be earthly treasures that can be destroyed, or even our sins. Our eyes need to be fixed on Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.
Sanctification is God’s way of preparing us for heaven. J.C. Ryle touches on this in his book Holiness. Ryle points out that most men hope to go to heaven when they die, but do many take the trouble to consider whether they would enjoy heaven if they got there? If heaven is a holy place filled with holy people and above all a holy God, it logically follows that holy people would be happy there. If we cling to the things of this world for our happiness and comfort, heaven will not be such an enjoyable place. But if our focus is on Christ, then heaven will be a glorious place indeed.
As we are made holier through the grace of God and the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives, it is like a foretaste of heaven and the glory that is in store for us. We need the renewal of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and the atoning blood of Christ for not only justification and forgiveness of sins, but also for continuing sanctification and eventual glorification.
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”
Romans 6:1, 2