The Problem of Pleasure (pt. 7)
Where Mercy and Justice Meet
Only the Christian gospel resolves the problem of pleasure, and then offers a way that genuinely delivers us from it in a way in which justice and mercy kiss each other. Only Christ provides a true way of salvation from the dreadful predicament in which the problem of pleasure places man.
First, Christianity confirms the fact that justice must be satisfied. Sin must be condemned according to its demerit. This means eternal doom. The sinner must be damned because God must be inexorably holy and just. His all-powerful Being must vindicate His all-holy Being. Christianity never compromises the ever-blessed purity and excellency of the divine nature.
Second, Christianity alone finds a way to satisfy infinite justice and provide infinite mercy at the same time. What no other religion has dreamed of, Jesus Christ has accomplished. He underwent the infinite wrath of God against sin and lived to bestow His mercy on the damned sinners for whom He died. The infinite Son of God took upon Himself a human nature in which He underwent the full fury of the divine wrath. The omnipotent God satisfied His violated holiness by punishing sin completely in His blessed Son, who ‘‘became sin’’ for His people. The justice of God was vindicated in full in the substitute, His own Son, our Savior dear. He survived that awful vengeance and rose victor over the grave by the power of His own divinity. Now He offers to every sin-sick and “pleasure”-burdened soul an everlasting mercy. Perfect mercy and perfect justice in the gospel of the crucified One are here and now offered to you, dear reader.
Now the problem of pleasure has its answer in full. God has spared you, not that you be damned, but that you be saved from the damnation that otherwise would inevitably have been your destiny. Now Jesus Christ stands at the door of your heart and offers to come in and dwell with you forevermore: “Come unto Me, all ye who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’’
Real Pleasure Forever
You who are burdened with your “pleasures” now have the opportunity to escape. Continue as you are and every moment you go on will be “pleasure” more or less (‘‘hell’’ on earth is ‘‘heaven” for the lost); but that “pleasure” you do not deserve will only add to the everlasting condemnation you do deserve if you do not turn to Jesus Christ. Your present “pleasure” is your opportunity for real pleasure in the presence of a reconciled God, your Father. Spurn the offer of real pleasure and you will be damned by your spurious pleasure. Receive the offer of joy forevermore and you will realize the purpose for which you have your “pleasures” to this very moment: that you should be given this opportunity now to have true pleasure forevermore—“At Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11).
Excerpted from Primitive Theology by John H. Gerstner.