Is Sin Possible in Heaven? No, Not If You're Perfect

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This month we wondered about the possibility for free will and sinlessness to coexist in the context of heaven. Or, worded in a less obtuse manner, we asked, Is Sin Possible in Heaven?

Johannes Plenio

But rather than just tell you about it, here's a short excerpt from the piece:

To answer the question we turn back to Revelation. In the twenty-first chapter, right after the defeat of Satan and the final judgment, Scripture tells us that "[God] will wipe away every tear from [his people's] eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Rev. 21:4).
This verse provides a definitive answer to our question: sin is an impossibility in heaven. Were sin possible, mourning and crying and pain would surely still take place. 
Therefore, we must ask, How? 
How is it possible for created, limited beings to have both free will and never sin? 
This answer is a bit murkier, but scripture does provide us with several clues and explanations. 
But before we dive in too deep though, I must confess something.

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Good News for Guttersnipes Like Us: Heaven Is Not a Meritocracy

Do you ever wonder what Jesus meant when he said, The last will be first, and the first last?

The statement sounds like typical rabbi-speak or else something Yoda would say were we to invert the wording a bit: First the last shall be, perhaps.

Jon Tyson

Nevertheless, Jesus didn't waste words. So the phrase, no doubt, points to some important truth. In fact, last month we explored one such meaning behind the phrase. That is, heaven's value system is often in opposition to that of this world's. The rich young man of Mark 10 and Matthew 19 found this out the hard way when Jesus told him to sell his possessions, give the proceeds to the poor, and follow Jesus.

The rich man, obsessed with firstness, could not do it.

And yet, if we probe deeper we uncover more layers behind the saying, The last will be first. These nuances are interesting and useful enough that I thought it would be worth spilling more digital ink in contemplation of the phrase.

Will We Have Free Will in Heaven?

Nghia Lee

Did you know I write a monthly article for my email subscribers?

These are just like regular posts on this blog, but for members only. (It's a pretty elite club!)

Anyway, this month I wondered whether we will have free will when we get to heaven. Here's a snippet:

A couple of years ago, my dad and I met for breakfast at a diner in the early morning. At that time we were meeting once a month, and we would discuss anything from sports to parenting, from politics to money. But inevitably Dad would ask me about my writing. I'd tell him what chapter I was on or which subject I was turning over in my mind. 
As a former pastor, he always has good insight into ministry and theology. And on this particular late summer morning, while we ate our eggs and toast, we came up with a doozy of a question. Will we have free will in heaven? I believe the question arose from a discussion of some of the concepts pastor Daniel Sweet and I were writing about in The Last Lessons of Christ
And, of course, the question behind the question: If we do have free will in heaven, doesn't that open the door for sin?

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How to Be Last in a World Consumed by Firstness

I've read the gospels many times, but I always seem to stumble when Jesus says, "The last will be first." I have an inkling of understanding, but the gravity of the phrase seems to elude me.

What did Jesus mean when he said, "The last will be first, and the first will be last"?

Braden Collum

In providing some commentary on the subject I must first confess something you probably already know about me:

Feeling Weary: Spiritual Encouragement from One Who's Been There and Back

Emma Simpson

Did you know I write a monthly article just for my email subscribers?

This month I wrote about hitting the wall in your spiritual life. Call it burnout, fatigue, or whatever you will, if you're a Christian long enough you'll eventually encounter the spiritual wall.

Here's how this month's article begins:

What I Read in 2019

If you're struggling with reading as much as you'd like, may I suggest a trip (sans children of course) to the beach?

Link Hoang

This past summer Katie and I visited the gulf coast where I finished two books on my list and made my way well into a third. In fact one day on the shore, I had to trudge my way through the white sand and back up to our condo's Wi-Fi so I could purchase and download another book on my list. It was glorious!

Katie and I at the beach.

But even if you can't get away this year, the best approach, of course, is consistent small steps towards a goal. On a typical day, I only read two to four pages and yet on average I finish eight books per year--a paltry number for the avid reader to be sure, but twice as much as the median reader in the United States. All with minimal (but consistent) effort!

With that preamble out of the way, here are three books I read in 2019 I think you might like:

The Only Way to Remove Darkness from Your Life

Anton Darius

Did you know I write a monthly article for my email subscribers?

This month we talked about the principle, first credited to Aristotle, that nature abhors a vacuum. But rather than looking at the axiom through the lens of physics, we turn it sideways and use it to view our spiritual lives.

Here's how it starts:

The older I get, the more I recognize the universality of the axiom, nature abhors a vacuum. 
Want to know where to find my children? Go to whichever room is the tidiest. Once they've wrecked it, they move on to the next. They never play in their bedrooms unless the area is clean. Once it is sufficiently cluttered, they'll search for a neater space. 
But this isn't just true of children and play areas: 
-The newly retired quickly find their calendars fuller than when they had a job.
-In weather systems, high pressure always flows to low pressure.
-Adding more lanes to the freeway should alleviate traffic, right? Well, maybe not. Research shows that increasing throughput might actually promote congestion
It seems in many areas of life vacuums--which we'll loosely define as empty spaces or the lack of something--are unnatural and unstable. They don't last. 
We give the Greek philosopher Aristotle credit for first coming up with this principle even though he never stated the axiom as nature abhors a vacuum. The current phrasing seems to have originated with the French writer Fran├žois Rabelais in the sixteenth century. 
Where am I going with this? 
While we're not as concerned with physics in this space, nevertheless I think the principle applies to our spiritual lives too.

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