"All the miseries and evil that men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”
- Noah Webster
I have been reading through a great book written in the 1600s by the Puritan Thomas Watson, titled "Heaven Taken by Storm" - and it's highly inspirational.
The theme revolves around the Scripture in Matthew 11:7-12 where Jesus questions the people about their motives for seeking out John the Baptist, saying,
“What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? [a weak man afraid to speak out?] ... What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? [someone living in luxury and comfort?] ... Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet... Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
Then, Jesus makes this strange and seemingly controversial statement, ...
"From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force."
Most Christians reading this would be surprised by Christ's remark. "What is He saying?", we ask.
The short answer is that John the Baptist was the one who announced the arrival of the Messiah - the Chosen One of Israel - who will "take away the sins of the world." From that time forward the Kingdom of Heaven has been within reach for all mankind but not without displaying a hot passion to "storm those gates."
Pastor Watson continues, "The earth is inherited by the meek (Matthew 5:5). Heaven is inherited by the violent. Our life is military. Christ is our Captain, the gospel is the banner, the graces are our spiritual artillery, and heaven is only taken in a forcible way.
"This violence concerns men as CHRISTIANS. Though heaven is given us freely—yet we must contend for it, Ecclesiastes 9:10. “What your hand finds to do, do it with your might.” Our work is great, our time short, our Master urgent. We have need therefore to summon together all the powers of our souls and strive as in a matter of life and death, that we may arrive at the kingdom above. We must not only put forth diligence—but violence" [holy passion].
This violence, he says is twofold:
- "We must be violent for the TRUTH... What then should we be violent for, if not for truth? We are bid to contend as in an agony “for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude verse 3).
"This holy violence is also when we are violent for our own SALVATION (2 Peter 1:10). “Give diligence to make your calling and election sure.”
We believe that you have read this blog because you share this passion with us and are looking for inspiration to help you be more triumphant in your walk with Christ on the march towards Heaven.
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Blessings to you and yours! Have a wonderful Christmas season!
 Watson, Thomas. Heaven Taken By Storm . E4 Group. Kindle Edition.