Yup, you read that right. If you want to go to Heaven to miss Hell, then chances are you have missed Heaven anyway. Why? Because you are simply saving self. Your priority is good ole number one. Eternity of self indulgent behavior, beach laying, golf, eating, sailing, and so on would be OK with you. Truth be told, if Christ was not in Heaven it would suit you just the same. What is wrong with this? Well two things: this type of self preservation is not fruit of regeneration. And, there is absent a supreme love for God above all else.
I will speak briefly on the first observation. Self preservation is not fruit of the Spirit. Trying to save yourself from harm is not a work of the Spirit. It is not indicative of a Christ follower. Self preservation is basic to fallen humanity, there is no regenerative property in that. Christ calls us away from our self love into self denying. Denying ourselves even unto death so that we may live unto Him is positive fruit of the Spirit. So a decision to “accept Christ” from a self preserving basis is no evidence of true conversion. “Accepting Christ” so that one is not left behind at the coming of the Lord appeals to self and not to treasuring Christ. This is precarious ground at best.
The next observation is that true repentance and conversion displays fruit of the sinners supreme love for Christ. God is loved above everything and everyone: including self. A person desires Heaven because Heaven is where Christ is. For them to “live is Christ”. Christ is the supreme treasure, the pearl of great price, the total joy and satisfaction of the soul. He is not a means, He is the end.
Some questions to think about in application. First, I think John Piper hit the nail on the head in his sermon, Defending the Faith in the Public Arena, when he said we must push through to the root of the Gospel. What he meant by that is that there are results of our union with Christ by faith. Then there is the purpose. Results should be preached, results such as freedom from guilt, forgiveness, justification, union, etc. Yet the root purpose of salvation is to be brought to God. To enjoy and love Him forever. To worship Him throughout eternity. This is the root.
Why is this important. Because it clarifies one’s salvation. If you seek Christ just for forgiveness to go to heaven, and are indifferent toward Him, then that is not a picture of true forgiveness. If you seek justification for the purpose to rid you of your guilt, then that is a misapplication for justification. We are justified that we may be God’s. See where I am going with this? Results of salvation such as forgiveness, union, and justification are not to end upon our own gratification, but means to get us to God, that we may love and enjoy Him forever.
I urge you, go to Heaven because that is where God is, where Christ is. He is the glory of Heaven. He is the fountain of all joy and soul satisfaction. To behold His glory is the end all of Heaven, not Heaven itself.