Here in this life we have the freedom to accept Jesus Christ and love God or to reject Jesus Christ and not love God. Our decision will determine if we go to heaven or not. After our decision has been made, are we now bound to that decision for eternity? Will we lose the freedom to contrast our own logic? Will we cease to have different opinions within our own way of thinking in ourselves? Will this apply to every other idea that we develop in heaven or hell? Let me know your thoughts.
@Jlopez Very thought provoking question. I believe if we read Scripture, there are clear indications that those in Heaven will no longer sin and those who reject God will never be repentant. Now, who exactly goes where and what the word “Hell” actually means are entirely different questions.
What was it that made you ask this particular question? What are your thoughts after reading some of the below resources? Christ grant you understanding and peace
Like Christ in Heaven
I think the short and sweet answer is that because of the New Covenant of Christ on the cross we will become like Jesus when we see Him as He is! The transformation that the Spirit of God is doing and will complete in us will make us such that we will not sin.
I John 3:2 - Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is .
Digging deeper, there are two parts to this:
- the power of the New Covenant in Christ and indwelling of God’s Spirit
- freedom from our sinful nature - freedom from the evil desires of the flesh - a redeemed body
Rich Man and Lazarus
If we read the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 we see a few very significant things about the rich man even after he is condemned and Lazarus is at Abraham’s side:
- the rich man insinuates he did not have enough information
- the rich man is not repentant
- the rich man still thinks he is better than Lazarus - he speaks to Abraham rather than directly addressing Lazarus, trying to boss Lazarus around like a servant
In other words, the rich man’s heart had not changed in the afterlife - he still refused to truly surrender his pride and sin.
We also see that Abraham addresses the rich man as ‘son’ - showing a sense of compassion / loss even for an unrepentant sinner (Tim Keller points this out in video below).
Some thoughts on Hell
I was thinking about Adam and Eve in the garden. They had the freedom to think and question God’s command which is what led to the fall of humanity. Also because we have this choice to love God or not, it was the freedom that he gave us to make that decision, which allows that genuine love torwards God because it is not forced. Will then that same freedom be allowed in heaven to retain that same genuine love? Or will we not be allowed to think any other way?
Just a quick input from me here… I think it’s less that we won’t be allowed to think another way and more that we will probably not even consider thinking another way. At Christ’s return every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord. This means, I believe, that we will all come to a complete and full understanding of who he is and what he did for us… at that point there would be no other reaction that could happen other than to live fully in the reaction that we have chosen in this life.
That is… those who choose to put their trust in Jesus I don’t think ever fully do so here on earth because we are fallen humans. But we will fully trust and love him when his glory is revealed.
On the flip side of this… those who have rejected Jesus as Saviour will also come to a full realisation of what they have rejected. I have always seen this as the worst thing about Hell… not any form of punishment or pain that people see Hell as containing, but continuing in the full knowledge that they have rejected the Son of God and what that means.
Not sure if that helps… great question though.
Thank you for the insight. It helps to get different perspectives. I guess the main point I was trying to make is that will there no longer be “2 sides to the coin” anymore? Will we no longer be able take information and see both sides of it regardless of right or wrong? Thank y’all for your time and thoughts
@Jlopez The way I look at it is that we will no longer have a sinful nature, but that we will still have free will. However, those who are in God’s Kingdom are those who love the light - Jesus is their treasure. If you are faithful to God in the midst of the darkness of this world, why on earth would you contemplate leaving His presence once free from the sinful nature’s pull?
Moreover, Paul says that we will become like Christ when we see Him as He is - we are already new creations, but we are not yet as God means us to be… We still struggle against sin’s pull and we still dwell in these corruptible bodies. One day we will be given a vessel incorruptible and be utterly new creations in every way. We will become the type of people who would never forsake the King - who would laugh at the idea of forsaking Jesus.
Regarding the Garden, I think that God always meant humanity to learn to overcome the pull of sin and self of their own free will. That is why He put the tree in the garden. If the fall had never happened, Adam and Eve could have grown through their obedience. The tree was put their so that Adam and Eve would have the chance to become something more - to resist evil and become sons and daughters of God in a fuller sense.
What are your thoughts?
“Concretely, the tree represented for Adam the choice between submitting to God’s law or pursuing moral autonomy : Fearing the Lord (the beginning of wisdom), or judging for himself what good and evil are. Learning obedience would result in greater wisdom, maturity, and freedom. That is what the serpent tempted Adam and Eve with: “You shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). That is, you shall judge for yourselves. You will no be in the position of children, having good and evil dictated to you. The serpent tempted Adam and Eve with the prerogatives of autonomous, mature adulthood, before they had learned submission to God—and he tempted them to achieve this by way of disobedience . But it is important to understand that it could have been achieved with obedience as well , without the consequences of sin—and that is the tragedy. Adam and Eve were indeed destined to rule creation. Becoming like gods was not a bad thing or a bad desire. But this was to be achieved in the same way the rule of Jesus was achieved—by submission to God (Philippians 2:8-9).”
Thank you for your response. This is a very interesting perspective and I’m glad you shared the article as well. This has been very helpful.
@Jlopez Glad it was helpful I really appreciated the article as well. The idea that the end goal could have been achieved through obedience was insightful in understanding the purpose of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Alas, my effort to be brief has failed I fear…
“Abiding in faith” has more than a million opinions. There are limited definitive teachings that Jesus’s words explicitly state. The anchor of truth recorded by John ch. 15 is worthy of memorization.
“"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
John 15:1-11 ESV
The choice to abide or not is affirmed by the King of Creation. Our advice should be “Always Stick to the Vine”.
Who knows if the pruning shears can seem disastrous, or beneficial? If we are abiding in God the best that we can at the time, I think the pruning to become more fruitful is by the Vine Dresser’s design. The severe sentence for not abiding and being fruitful isn’t an easy or comfortable topic to embrace in a modern churchianity that focuses on BFF Jesus.
We can never work enough to obtain salvation. We must never quit sustaining our devotion to God and the Kingdom of Heaven here and to age to come. That is why the Shema of Judaism that Jesus, the Word of God, wrote for the children of God to recite. And He recited daily even as he walked among us…the King of the Jews. Abiding isn’t optional.
Sustaining and abiding are relational. I confess I am so spoiled and blessed in these modern times.
What Christian activities really count for “abiding” and “fruitful”? Just showing up for meetings?
“…choose this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Yeshua said this – wait, it was Joshua who said that, which is the way we say the Hebrew name Yeshua in English. Even when we choose to believe God, “by grace through faith” it is not of ourselves but is given by God.
But afterwards, in our new immortal “real” bodies, why would we want to go against God? Plus, Satan and sinful flesh won’t be factors. Our bodies will be solid, but spiritual like Jesus when He rose.
MT7:15** Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
What I find telling in this parable is that the LORD never says that they did not do all those things. I believe they DID do all this, but there was a problem: They did not KNOW Him. So, in the end, Heaven or Hell is not a matter of what you do as much as Who you know. But of course, if you DO know Him, as He says, you will bear fruit, and your works will follow your faith. James says “Faith without works is dead”, and that is so. But it is also true that religious activity, apart from faith, is of no eternal value. Anyway, this is how I see that great Divide, between Heaven and Hell.
I think this deals with our understanding of what freedom of will, moral ability, and the nature of necessity are. The short answer is that we will not be able to sin in the eternal state because we will not be able to want to sin in the eternal state.
If you want to sin then the desire to sin is sin. That is when Adam and Eve sinned right? The act of taking the fruit was the birth or fruit of the sin conceived in them already.
We see something like this in the angels. Those who did not sin were comfirmed in righteousness and the ones who sinned were vanished from God’s presence and await their judgement.
In the etenal state we will be like Jesus and we will not sin while still remaining free.
If we consider free will we simply are speaking of our ability to choose otherwise without coercion. Adam and Eve had what is called the ability to sin and not sin.
After they chose to use their freedom they became sinners and therefore slaves of sin and likewise all born thereafter were stained, infected, affected, corrupted, and guilty due to original sin and its imputation. The freedom of sinners is different from that of Adam and Eve preFall. That is what is called the freedom of sinners. Then the freedom of the regenerate in a sense returns us to the preFall freedom only that we are forgiven by Christ and our freedom will not change. Then there is the freedom of the glorified and that is like that of Jesus. In that it is unable to die and if we reverse engineer it we are theredore unable to sin. We are fully santified and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Thus this takes us to the nature of necessity. This simply means that the nature of someone or something delineates the boundaries or ability of their freedom. For example, the nature of God is that He is pure, holy, and sinless, among other things, and as a result He is not able to sin. If God were to sin then He would not and could not be God. Sinners sin and are hostile to God because that is the nature of unregenerate man. Their moral ability is hindered by their sin nature and are unable to do anything that is morally acceptable or salvific apart from divine intervention. Scripture tells us this time and time again, in Genesis 6:5, Psalm, and in Romans.
Thus when a sinner sins and refuse to repent he or she is simply functioning with the complete freedom of the sinner. They freely reject God and are unable to repent or accept God on their own. The nature of necessity renders them thus. It is only with the regenration that the Holy Spirit produces, the heart transplat that Ezekiel speaks about if you will, that a person can freely come to Christ. Why because the nature of necessity of a regenerate person is now able to come to God.
Now if someone were to ask, “Who is more free, the one who is able to sin and not sin or the one who is unable to sin?” What would we say? At first glance we would say the former, but this does not consider that the ability to sin leads to slavery and likewise the ability to sin is not a virtue, but a deficiency. God is not able to sin and yet He is the most free Being in existence.
Likewise when we are glorified and in God’s presence we will be the most free because we will see Him as He is and we will be like Jesus.
Further in Revelation it tells us that nothing impure will ever enter. There will be no more pain, sorrow, tears, death, etc. We will reign for ever with Christ. The eternal state will be much better than that of the Edenic state.
We will freely love God and never sin. This is wonderful news.