I have done the best I can to answer the questions that were submitted to me during the sermon last Sunday. This posting concludes last Sunday’s topic. The topic was heaven and hell, and there were a lot of good questions. As with all of these weeks and topics, I do not presume to have all the answers. Sometimes the Bible gives a real clear answer, and sometimes there’s not a lot in the Bible to answer the question. Nevertheless, I’ve done the best I can. Please feel free to add your comments.
What will people do in Heaven?
There’s not a lot in the Bible that really answers this question. We do know that there will some incredible worship experiences. We can look back on Adam and Eve before the fall and get a little idea. They had responsibilities – like taking care of the garden, naming the animals, etc. They also fellowshipped with God. The Bible does hint to working or serving when it talks about reigning with Christ (2 Timothy 2:11-13). We can also look at God’s nature and character. He is a purposeful God and is always at work (John 5:17). I do not believe this will stop. While we do not really know the details, we can be sure that if this life has purpose, which it does, the one to come will be even more purposeful. If this life was challenging, exciting, and fulfilling, imagine how much more so will be the life to come.
Can you get kicked out of heaven after the rapture?
No. I do not believe that once a person a REALLY saved or becomes a Christian, he or she cannot lose their salvation. If you could get kicked out of heaven after the rapture, then John 3:16 and other verses would not be true. Satan was kicked out, but he is not a human being. His circumstance, then, is different than ours.
Do children who have not accepted Jesus yet or are too young to have done so go to hell?
You mentioned that the Bible says “The only way to heaven is through Christ”… What happens to children that die at a very young age and were never introduced to Jesus or had the chance to accept Christ as their Savior?
I do not believe so. I must point out that the scripture does not say either way. The only hint is in 2 Samuel 12:23 where David speaks of his dead son. He says, “He cannot come to me, but I can go to him.” If you think about God’s nature, which is love, grace, and mercy, it is hard to imagine God sending a child to hell who is psychologically and spiritually unable to understand sin and his or her need for salvation. I was raised hearing the phrase “age of accountability.” This phrase is not in the Bible, but I believe the concept fits with God’s nature. I do not believe there is a set age. For some children, that age could be six or seven while others it may be much older. I do know that children are not mentally able to grasp concepts until older childhood years. Salvation is more abstract than concrete, so God made a child unable to grasp his need for Christ until he or she would be somewhere around 10 – 12. That does not mean a younger child can’t be taught to understand enough to be saved younger than that.
Do you think there are different “stages” or “levels” of hell based on your sins on earth?
There is really nothing in the Bible to indicate different levels of hell. There are some places that refer to a “greater condemnation” (Matthew 23:14 for example), but we don’t really know what this means. We do know that James 2:10 says that if you commit one sin, you are guilty of all of them. The bottom line of sin is rejection of God. That is why people go to hell. It’s not really because they committed a particular sin but because they rejected God.
If Satan would have asked for forgiveness would God have granted it?
This is a great question, and I received a similar one from one of our children. I plan to mention this in a few weeks during my sermon. I think the answer would have to be yes. Of course all of this is hypothetical, and because God knows everything that will happen, he knows Satan will not repent. Still, the concept of God’s grace, I believe, would apply to Satan. That’s just my thought.
When you said when we get to heaven we will not be married why do we promise to God that we will stay with them through sickness and health and in the end we end up divorced?
The Bible clearly says that God hates divorce. I believe He hates divorce because he loves us so much. He knows that divorce scars us, and we (along with our children, friends, church, etc.) carry the baggage of divorce for the rest of our lives. Also, our marriages are supposed to be a picture to the world of God’s love for His church. When we divorce, we are marring the image of God to the world. I believe that regardless of the circumstance, a couple can work through their problems and honor the Lord with a life-long marriage. The bottom line answer of why we divorce has to be sin. It could be the sin of one person who will not repent thereby leading to divorce. Like in the case of marital infidelity – if a person does not repent and ask for forgiveness, God does give the other partner permission to divorce. Is this best? If there is not repentance, and this goes on and on, I do not believe that divorce dishonors the Lord. I do think people are too quick to go to divorce court. God commands us to stay with the husband/wife of our youth. Regarding marriage in heaven, Jesus does say we will not be married in heaven (Matthew 22:30), and I believe I addressed this earlier this week.