Pilgrim Road of the Christian
Do you remember John Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress, there was a character by the name of Pliable. Pliable means easily persuaded, influenced, flexible. When Christian told Pliable of the beautiful city where he was going, the city with streets of gold, what did Pliable say? He said, “I will go with you and I am glad to go with you.” But when the road got tough, became extremely muddy and slippery, when danger came when they were almost buried in mud, what did Pliable say to the Christian? He said, “Is this the happiness that you told me.” Pliable was angry and upset with the Christian.
In the same way, there are some evangelists and pastors who give an altar call and tell the people to come forward or raise their hands and some mention, you can come just the way you are, there is nothing to lose but you will gain heaven. There is nothing to lose this is a very deceitful statement. Many who are so greedy for the world become Christians by coveting after more greed and that is heaven. They become Christians just to escape hell and to go to heaven. This is a very fleshly thought as they don’t want to give up the world but also to gain more, heaven, to have the best of two worlds, this world and heaven both.
Mr 8:35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.
True Christianity is focused on the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, he is the center and everything else is surrounded on him. On Pilgrim Progress Christian had a heavy load on his back, the load of sin, realizing he is a sinner but Pliable did not have any sense of sin, he started walking very fast. The Christian’s soul is joyful because what Christ have done for his sins. Now he hates sin, flees from sin, he grows in humilty downwards and grows in his sanctification upwards. This is a true Christian.
Christian pilgrim who takes the ascending narrow road to heaven, he is faced with great opposition of temptations, trials and hardship. He agonizes to enter this narrow road. He is a stranger on this earth as he passes through the glittering glory of this earth. he is enticed with worldly amusements, ambitions, coveteousness and love for this world and daily he wrestles the flesh with his spirit to overcome these worldly temptations.
Christian pilgrim’s destination is heaven but the narrow road to heaven is not a blind road. He follows the footsteps of his Master, the Lord Jesus Christ who showed us the way to heaven as he himself took the narrow agonizing path to heaven.
1Pe 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
Mt 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
The Lord Jesus is in heaven, calling his true sheep and they will hear his voice and they will follow him but the hypocrites, the ones that loves this world more than the Lord Jesus will not hear his voice as they hear the voice of their own flesh.
Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
Pilgrim Christian’s life is meaningful as his goal is to be with his Creator, to be with his Lord and Savior to be in heaven. When you are in love with a girl and you want to get married, you will do everything to satisfy her to get married as you are in love. In the same way we love our beloved Savior, we will do everything to follow him. You may go through tough, agonizing battles of the flesh on this earth, but he compares these trials to heaven as he is encouraged by the word of God.
2Co 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Apostle Peter writing to the scattered Christians during the time of Nero’s persecution, encourages them with these words.
1Pet 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.
Christian Pilgrim’s mind is not on the earthly inheritance which fades away which he cannot takes away when he dies but focused on the heavenly inheritance which is incorruptible and undefiled which is eternal. There is a crown and a throne reserved for the Christian pilgrim. C.H Spurgeon tells this story. A dying Christian man once said, “I have no fear of going home.” But someone said to him, “Aren’t you afraid you might lose your inheritance?” “No, no” was the answer. “There is one crown in heaven which the angel Gabriel could not wear, it will fit no head but mine. There is one throne in heaven which the Paul the apostle could not fill; it was made for me and I shall have it.” Oh! What a joyous thought to the Christian pilgrim who goes through suffering in this world.
Many who are taking the descending easy broad road to hell have focused their minds on earthly things. They make their homes as if they are going to live forever, earth is the only heaven for them. But the Christian pilgrim who is just passing by this earth as a stranger he is content with his earthly home as he is realizes this is not his earthly home but he is groaning for the heavenly home which is prepared for him.
Joh 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
The enemy whispers to our ears telling, heaven is boring and some think there are no material things all spiritual. God is spirit and we are all going to be spirits floating around. But the Bible is clear that the Lord Jesus in his resurrection had a heavenly body. He is the first one to have a heavenly body.
1 Cor 15: 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another.
Our Lord Jesus is in heaven with a heavenly body. It’s a real body made with flesh and bones, it’s an immortal body.
Luke 24:38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
The heavenly body is a glorious body.
Philp 3:21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
It was not easy for the Christian to go on the pilgrim road, he had to fight a battle with his spirit and the flesh as he had to abstain with his fleshly lusts, he was slipping, falling and sliding on the narrow road. But wow! By the grace of God he arrived and the pearly gates are opened.
Heaven is a real place. The Lord Jesus did not redeem only our spirit but our bodies too. Just like earth is a place heaven is going to be a place as he went to prepare a place for us.
The road to heaven is a struggle for the Christian pilgrim but at the end there is a true paradise, a real heaven where words cannot describe, the whole world is not enough to describe heaven, oh, it’s a place of joy for the pilgrim who suffered for Lord Jesus on this earth.
1Co 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
The main object of heaven is God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Heaven is his throne. There is no sun as God himself gives light.
Re 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
The pearly gates are opened to the weary pilgrim and streets of gold have less attraction when he sees the King of beauty in the midst of the throne as he sees Jesus. The lamb of God which takes the sins of the world. Apostle was not attracted to the streets of gold but to the center of the throne the lamb of God. He was attracted to his redeemer. The one who purchased us from hell bound to heaven. The one who gave us eternal life. We are truly going to see our Lord Jesus, our Savior. The center of heaven is the Lord Jesus. And we will truly admire his beauty for eternity, we will marvel at his wonders and adore him forever. In here Christian pilgrim’s joy is complete as he sees his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Oh! To be with Christ is to be in heaven and to be in heaven is to be with Christ! Our whole future destiny is to be with the Lord forever and to beheld his glory!. Puritan Richard Baxter said, “ I cannot tell you dear friends, nor can mortal tell, what God hath prepared for them that love him.”
Ps 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
The Christian pilgrim loved not the world or the things of this world as his love was his redeemer the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the glory of heaven. The Christian pilgrim has won the battle against the flesh and this world, as victory is his through Christ the Lord as he enters the joy of heaven!
The Christian Pilgrim remembers how he was tempted to the perishing gold of the earth but now he is walking on streets of gold, while the ones who loved and treasured the gold on earth are burning in the lake of fire. Can you compare the earthly home to the mansion in heaven, the earthly roads to streets of gold?
Many would love to wear the crown of gold on this earth as they are greedy and selfish for earthly pleasures and comforts they don’t want to wear the crown of thorns of suffering, taking the narrow road. Remember if you would have justification, you must of sanctification; if you would have forgiveness of sins you must have holiness. Many hypocrites can pray, “Oh Lord I am a sinner, please forgive me of my darling sins.” Then after ten minutes soon forgotten what he prayed and running after darling sins. With prayer comes action, crucifying the flesh. The great puritan theologian John Owen calls this mortification. It gives the spiritual meaning to cut off the sin and to kill the sin. When I was a Buddhist, I loved sports but when I became a Christian the love of sports was still there. But as I began to grow uphill in my sanctification towards heaven my love to Christ became closer and the darling sports was a hindrance for my growth and my love to the Lord. And I had to kill my darling sports of sin which was a hinderance and it was not easy, it was very painful to the flesh, it was not easy to kill what you loved.
Mortification does not mean I completely killed the sin, if that’s the case we would be absolutely perfect. No, it means by crucifying the flesh the sin’s evil dominion is weakened. Mortification happens inwardly and can be done only by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the work of the Spirit that is in the Christian. Now my darling sports have no dominion anymore as I am governed not by the flesh but by the Spirit of God.
Romans 6: 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
Christians are called disciples of Christ Jesus, meaning we are disciplined with the doctrines of Christ. Discipline is needed to walk the narrow uphill road to heaven.
Beloved if you would love to walk the streets of gold above, you must walk the road of holiness below. Earthly pleasures is only for a short time but the punishment is for eternity. On the other hand earthly sufferings for the Christian pilgrim is only a very short time and how wonderful are the heavenly joy for eternity.
The life on earth for the Christian pilgrim is filled with pain, tears, sighs and groans.
Re 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Someone said, “The path of sorrow, and that path alone, Leads to the place where sorrow is unknown.”
Yes, where sorrow is unknown is heaven and in heaven there are no sorrows and no more tears. Death is the worst sorrow of all. A separation of a loved one is not easy brings much sorrow and pain but there will be no more death as Christ our Lord conquered death on his resurrection. The old Adam, this earthly flesh, our fallen nature is rot in the ground, worms devour the flesh and we will be glad to get rid of this worse enemy as there will be no more temptations and no more sin. In heaven there will be rejoicing, in hell there will be screaming.
Forward in the narrow uphill road is heaven but to stand here and do nothing is death and hell. There are some who have made this earth their heaven, they have heard the gospel, have despised the messages that came from the pulipit, they have rejected godly counsel, if they keeps on rejecting they will die and go to desctruction which will break the pastor’s heart.