Sunday, August 6, 2017

If You "fill in the blank" Will You Still Go To Heaven?

This is one of the most common questions that I've heard. Some have asked, "if you commit suicide, will you still go to Heaven?" There have been questions about if you are Muslim, homosexual, infants (that's a whole other blog), even Catholic or Mormon. Bottom line question is, who goes to Heaven and who doesn't?

There is, of course, the simple answer that says "if you believe in Jesus, you go to Heaven" which is true. I want to dig in a little deeper. There are verses that seem to contradict in the answers. We have verses that tell us that if we believe in Jesus, we would be saved, but Galatians 5:19-21 says:
the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

So Paul says that people who practice these things don't have the inheritance, but what about those who do these things and also believe in Jesus, do they go to Heaven?  We see the same things listed in 1 Corinthian 6:9, this is a list of people who practice these things will not inherit Heaven. This verse includes "those who practice homosexuality" and it says they will not inherit Heaven. There are arguments that this is "sexual idol worship" with pagan priests, but there is no real historical or textual support for that interpretation. In the entire text of the New Testament, any sex outside of a husband and wife inside of the bounds of marriage is placed in the same category. That category is sin.

We need to understand a few things about sin before we more forward. First off, we all sin in some ways. Sometimes we lie or cheat or lust or hate. These are sin. Apart from Christ, we are slaves to sin, and we all have weakness. Some struggle with lust or pornography, some with anger or hate, some with greed. The Bible says that lust is a sin, but attraction itself is not a sin. Having same sex attraction is not a sin. Acting on same sex attraction is a sin. Any sexual contact that is not a man and woman in the context of Biblical marriage is sin. Is two men or two women kissing a sin? It's a more hazy area, the Bible doesn't say, but if the actions lead to sin (sex outside the Biblical context) then it's problematic.

The verses we looked at covered sins that become habitual sins. Sex outside of marriage, lust and porn, a lifestyle of greed or living for revenge, things that control and drive our lives are habitual sins. The verses that Paul writes about points out habitual sins, lifestyle sins. These things become a way of living and are often in our lives in the place of Christ. When Paul says the people who practice these things won't inherit Heaven, he is referring to people who practice these things as a life style.

The truth of the Bible is that Jesus will change your life when you become His. Your life revolves around Him. You have a desire to obey, you want to live in a way that follows the Bible. If you don't want to stop sinning, you probably aren't saved. If you want to live however you want and don't care what the Bible teaches about it, chances are you have not been truly saved.

You don't have to take my word for it, read Peter's word. He writes in 2 Peter 1 that we can know we are saved by our behavior. In verse 10 he says that we can confirm our calling and election by having the qualities he listed and to escape the corruption in the world because of sinful desire. If we are more in love with sin than Jesus, we are not saved. If we hold to our sin more than we hold to Jesus, we are not saved. If we lack the qualities that come from being saved, we are probably not saved.

The behaviors don't mean you lose your salvation. If you sin and fail, get up and pray and ask for forgiveness and strength. If you fail again, keep seeking and praying. If you struggle, you will make it. If you stop struggling and just embrace sin, you may find that you don't know Christ, and you will end up separated from Him. Not because you did this or that, but because you are spiritually dead in your sins and you have never been saved. You will find yourself separated from Him for eternity.

Lastly, I want to cover the suicide issue. Many have said that if you kill yourself, you sin without having the chance to ask for forgiveness. When you trust Christ and turn from your sin, you are forgiven eternally. If you are in Christ and end up committing suicice, it is not a one way ticket to hell. If you are in Christ, you go to Heaven. My prayer is that those who are in Christ find the strenght to continue to live and don't commit suicide and those part from Christ are saved and find hope to continue on.

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