Board index Salvation

How do we come into a relationship with God? What does that mean, and how does one go about that? How does somebody get to heaven?

Re: Could Hitler be in heaven?

Postby jimwalton » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:14 pm

Great questions. Thanks for asking for clarification.

> I thought that Jesus was going to wipe away every tear? Isa. 25.8

Also Rev. 21.4. Oswalt says that the Isaiah verse means "God will take away the sorrow associated with death. Even Rev. 21.4 continues, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death..., for the old order of things has passed away." Dante, in The Divine Comedy: Inferno, adds, "Who is more impious than that one who feels sorrow for God's judgment?"

> So how can a believer in heaven be punished? Or even think they are being punished?

They won't be. They may have regrets over the way they lived, but they will understand their degree of reward to be perfectly fair.

> But this judgment seems to be a one time thing and not ongoing for eternity.

We barely have a tiny glimpse of the ongoing dynamics of eternity. I find it difficult to comment because we know so little. We are told by parable that we will have responsibilities and lives to live. We are told that Christ will reconcile all things to himself, though we can only speculate as to what all that entails. But I agree with you that heaven will not be a place of punishment. I agree that concept has no biblical support. I don't see any teachings in the Bible that describe heaven in any kind of negative terminology. But the Bible is clear that "each person was judged according to what he had done" (Rev. 20.13). We're left to interpret what those people will be thinking and feeling. But I think that since we will be in the presence of God, our knowledge will be made complete (1 Cor. 13.12). And if our knowledge is made complete, we will find ourselves in agreement with everything God has done, and we won't regard it as a punishment, but as righteous.

> I thought that Jesus took all of our punishment upon Him?

He did (Isa. 53.5-6). NO doubt about it. Those verses particular pertain to atonement that leads to our salvation: Jesus' death on the cross. That's what those verses are teaching. He took our sins and the punishment of death that came with them, and bore those in our place.

> Romans 8.1

What a beautiful verse. Again, this condemnation is the penalty of death for sin. N.T. Wright says, "The condemnation in question is the Adamic condemnation spoken of in 5.12-21, which in turn looks back to the condemnation of sin in 1.18-3.20." We are freely pardoned for the sins of our life by the grace and mercy of God. But look at Romans 8.12-13: "Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live." In other words, living by the Spirit is not automatic, but we must choose it, by faith and allegiance. And we will be held accountable for what we do with what we have been given. To him who has been given much, much shall be required.
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Re: Could Hitler be in heaven?

Postby SES » Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:29 pm

> Oswalt says

This guy? (http://www.pattonoswalt.com)

> Dante, in The Divine Comedy: Inferno, adds

So this is part of your scripture? What church/denomination do you attend?

> They won't be.

So they won't be punished, they will just live with regrets for all of eternity. And Christ's forgiveness, comfort, and presence will not ebb this at all?

> I don't see any teachings in the Bible that describe heaven in any kind of negative terminology.

But living with regrets is a negative.

> But the Bible is clear that "each person was judged according to what he had done" (Rev. 20.13).

Who are those in this passage? Aren't these those who are condemned to hell?

There is a judgment of believers’ works, often referred to as the “judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10). This is where Christians will receive degrees of reward for their works or service to God.

You seem to be conflating the judgment of unbelievers with this one.

> He did (Isa. 53.5-6). NO doubt about it.

Apparently not is one must have regrets for an eternity.

> Again, this condemnation is the penalty of death for sin.

what does this even mean?

> In other words, living by the Spirit is not automatic, but we must choose it, by faith and allegiance. And we will be held accountable for what we do with what we have been given. To him who has been given much, much shall be required.

Agreed but how does this get to where one must live with the regrets for eternity for the failures in this life?

And remember, no one is without sins or failures; so every single person in heaven will have regrets of some sort.

It is a strange heaven that you advocate for; and a strange God and Christ.
SES
 

Re: Could Hitler be in heaven?

Postby jimwalton » Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:01 pm

Thanks for the conversation. Always glad to talk about these things.

> this guy? (Patton Oswald)

No. HA. That's funny. No, this guy: John Oswalt (https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss ... commentary)

> So this is part of your scripture? What church/denomination do you attend?

No, it's not part of Scripture at all. It's Dante. Just as we quote C.S. Lewis or J.I. Packer, I thought a quote from Dante would show that other believers make similar points, and often they say things better than I could.

> So they won't be punished, they will just live with regrets for all of eternity.

Their regrets won't last for all of eternity. No, God's forgiveness and comfort, as you said, will ebb it, even eliminate. I believe they will have initial regrets as they come face to face with opportunities lost and bad decisions made, but God will reconcile them with themselves and with Him, and those regrets will be healed by God.

> Rev. 20.13: Who are those in this passage? Aren't these those who are condemned to hell?

Yes, in Rev. 20.13 they are. Most analyses of Revelation 20 are that the first resurrection (the resurrection of the saints) is in 20.4-5. Verse 12, however, seems to include EVERYBODY—a general resurrection of both believers and non-believers. The books are opened (in general), including the book of life (indicating God's people). "The sea... dead...and death and Hades" indicates the unbelievers. The "each person" of Rev. 20.13 is a generality including both categories, believers and unbelievers. And then in v. 14-15, death and Hades are thrown into the lake of fire, with the idea that those whose names are written in the book of life enter the Lord's presence, as chapter 21 continues with.

All people, believers (2 Cor. 5.10) and unbelievers (Rev. 20.13) will be dealt with according to what they have done. Those who have the nature of Jesus belong to Him, and their names are written in the book of life; those who have the nature of sin do not. Salvation and condemnation are not according to works. But once people's eternal destiny is assured by their choice or faith or rebellion, their status in heaven/hell will be determined by what they did in life, and they will be rewarded or punished fairly according to what they knew, what they did with it, and how they lived.

> "this condemnation is the penalty of death for sin." What does this even mean?

It means that this condemnation is not because they behaved badly, but because they weren't saved. In the case of unbelief, the penalty is death. After one chooses hell, however, their degree of punishment will be decided "according to the what he had done" (Rev. 20.13).

> It is a strange heaven that you advocate for; and a strange God and Christ.

I don't think so. I think you have made assumptions about things I've said that weren't necessarily so. Further conversation like this helps me explain, so I appreciate that.

1 Corinthians 3.12-15 is helpful. When we first arrive in heaven, it seems that our works will be "revealed with fire." To me this is where all the regrets will be felt because (I agree with you), we will all have something. That which is junk will be purged, i.e., we won't have to live with these regrets for eternity. That which survives will be the basis of the reward.

> and a strange God and Christ.

I don't think so. This accusation is a bit harsh.
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Re: Could Hitler be in heaven?

Postby SES » Sat Sep 02, 2017 5:33 pm

> I don't think so. This accusation is a bit harsh.

Perhaps but you are the one saying that Christ's sacrifice doesn't fully pay for our sins. So we each are a bit of our own savior.
or punished fairly according to what they knew, what they did with it, and how they lived.

Believers in heaven, forgiven by God due to Christ's sacrifice will be punished in heaven!!!!

The coming of Christ will be an occasion of jubilation and joy for all repentant sinners, but according to you it should be one of dread and fear.

Christ: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

The Apostle Paul: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).

> You: "Believers will be "punished fairly according to what they knew, what they did with it, and how they lived."
SES
 

Re: Could Hitler be in heaven?

Postby jimwalton » Sat Sep 02, 2017 6:18 pm

Thanks for continuing the conversation.

> but you are the one saying that Christ's sacrifice doesn't fully pay for our sins.

I never said this. As a matter of fact, I said the opposite. What I said was, "Those who have the nature of Jesus belong to Him, and their names are written in the book of life; those who have the nature of sin do not. Salvation and condemnation are not according to works." Christ's sacrifice is all-sufficient (Eph. 2.8-9). Our works do nothing to contribute to it (Eph. 2.9). I was clear about this.

> So we each are a bit of our own savior.

This is a contradiction to what I said. What I said was, "The point of Christ's death is to atone for our sins and to provide forgiveness. Works have nothing to do with whether one spends eternity in heaven or hell. Christ's death is what makes a relationship with God possible because it takes away the barrier of sin. That's what was the point of Christ's death." There is nothing we can do to save ourselves. We are saved by Christ's work on the cross.

> Believers in heaven, forgiven by God due to Christ's sacrifice will be punished in heaven!!!!

I didn't say this. What I said was, "They won't be [punished]. They may have regrets over the way they lived, but they will understand their degree of reward to be perfectly fair." The phrase you quoted ("punished fairly according to what they knew, what they did with it, and how they lived") came at the end of a sentence where I was talking about hell. What I said was, "their status in heaven/hell will be determined by what they did in life, and they will be rewarded [talking about those going to heaven] or punished [talking about those going to hell] fairly according to what they knew, what they did with it, and how they lived."

> The coming of Christ will be an occasion of jubilation and joy for all repentant sinners, but according to you it should be one of dread and fear.

This is not true. The coming of Christ will be for believers (repentant sinners) an occasion for joy; for those who don't believe, their response will be that of fear (Rev. 6.16). You have completely twisted my words and put words into my mouth that I didn't say.

> John 5.24

Beautiful verse, though it says nothing about jubilation or fear. But, for sure, life and not condemnation. Life, not death.

> Romans 8.1

Fantastic verse. There IS no condemnation for them who are in Christ Jesus.

> You: Believers will be "punished fairly according to what they knew, what they did with it, and how they lived."

That's right. You can't ignore 2 Cor. 5.10.

I'm troubled that you continue to misconstrue, misquote, and misunderstand the things I have written. Let me try to be uber-clear: We are saved by the blood of Christ alone. His atonement is all that is necessary or helpful to forgive our sins. God has done everything. We are saved because Christ died on the cross to forgive our sins, and that redemption is offered to us as a free gift (Rom. 6.23). Our only part is to respond by faith (Eph. 2.8). We are justified by grace through faith. Once we respond by faith, Christ comes and lives inside of us in the person of the Holy Spirit. He begins the process of sanctification, which changes us in this life, but we will never reach perfection until we get to heaven and God finishes the process (1 Jn. 3.2-3; 1 Cor. 13.12 and others).

Those who have the nature of Jesus, who have given their lives to him in love, confessing and repenting of their sins, are saved. Going to heaven is not based on our goodness or works. Those who have the nature of sin, who have repelled God, are separated from him (hell). Going to hell is not based on badness or on works.

But the degree of reward in heaven, and the degree and punishments in hell are doled out according to what we have done (2 Cor. 5.10; Rev. 20.13). Our works will be tried by fire (1 Cor. 3.12-15). The foundation is Jesus (1 Cor. 3.11). There is no escape from this final testing. Some works will be burned, while other work will last. Some, it seems, will barely be admitted (1 Cor. 3.15).

1 Corinthians 3.15 is an important verse for our conversation. "If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." Look at the phrase "he will suffer loss." Interesting, though I wouldn't say this person is being "punished." It seems more that anything that didn't contribute to his sanctification will be destroyed as worthless. Will there be regret? Hard to say. Will he feel punished? I don't think so, because he will regard the action as fair and just. Despite all this loss, as long as that person has the nature of Jesus he will be saved. His works may be burned up completely and hopelessly, but he himself escapes destruction because he really is a saved man—a real believer in Christ, and salvation is not by works.

"But only as one escaping through the flames." He will be like one who escapes from a burning building. Some Christians will have little to show for their salvation. Others have been better stewards of what they received. We will be judged according to what we knew, what we did with it, and how we lived.
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Re: Could Hitler be in heaven?

Postby SES » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:33 pm

> I didn't say this. What I said was, "They won't be [punished].

Incorrect.

You: But once people's eternal destiny is assured by their choice or faith or rebellion, their status in heaven/hell will be determined by what they did in life, and they will be rewarded or punished fairly according to what they knew, what they did with it, and how they lived.

> I never said this. [Christ's sacrifice doesn't fully pay for our sins]

And if they are being punished [see above] then Christ's sacrifice did not pay for all of our sins.

> We are saved by Christ's work on the cross.

Then why are people being punished in heaven?

> We are saved by the blood of Christ alone. His atonement is all that is necessary or helpful to forgive our sins. God has done everything.

Not according to you as you've said that people in heaven will be punished.

> But the degree of reward in heaven, and the degree and punishments in hell are doled out according to what we have done

There are degrees of reward in heaven, but not degrees of punishments.

> Our works will be tried by fire (1 Cor. 3.12-15).

Our works will be, but not us.

> Will he feel punished? I don't think so, because he will regard the action as fair and just.

And now you are contradicting yourself; see your quote above.
SES
 

Re: Could Hitler be in heaven?

Postby jimwalton » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:01 pm

> Incorrect. You: But once people's eternal destiny is assured by their choice or faith or rebellion, their status in heaven/hell will be determined by what they did in life, and they will be rewarded or punished fairly according to what they knew, what they did with it, and how they lived.

Again, I cleared this up yesterday, yet you persist in misinterpreting me and only quoting part of what I said. What I wrote yesterday, to clarify, was "The phrase you quoted ("punished fairly according to what they knew, what they did with it, and how they lived") came at the end of a sentence where I was talking about hell. What I said was, "their status in heaven/hell will be determined by what they did in life, and they will be rewarded [talking about those going to heaven] or punished [talking about those going to hell] fairly according to what they knew, what they did with it, and how they lived."
So I explicitly did NOT say what you are claiming I said.

> And if they are being punished [see above] then Christ's sacrifice did not pay for all of our sins.

Again, you aren't reading carefully. What I said (several threads ago) was, "They won't be [punished]. They may have regrets over the way they lived, but they will understand their degree of reward to be perfectly fair." Then you challenged me with, "So they won't be punished, they will just live with regrets for all of eternity. And Christ's forgiveness, comfort, and presence will not ebb this at all?", and I clarified that as well. I don't understand why you keep throwing your misinterpretations of what I said in my face when I have already clarified them and explained how I didn't say that and you were making unfair claims about things I never said. I'm very confused by your attacks.

> Then why are people being punished in heaven?

I have said several times that people do not get punished in heaven. Please read carefully the posts I have written. Here's one quote: "They won't be [punished]..." Here's another: "But I agree with you that heaven will not be a place of punishment. I agree that concept has no biblical support."

> There are degrees of reward in heaven, but not degrees of punishments.

That's correct, and it's what I said. I said there are degrees of reward in heaven, and degrees of punishment in hell.

> 1 Cor. 3.12-15. Our works will be [tried by fire], but not us.

That's correct. I agreed with this when I said, "Look at the phrase 'he will suffer loss.' Interesting, though I wouldn't say this person is being 'punished.' It seems more that anything that didn't contribute to his sanctification will be destroyed as worthless. Will there be regret? Hard to say. Will he feel punished? I don't think so, because he will regard the action as fair and just. Despite all this loss, as long as that person has the nature of Jesus he will be saved. His works may be burned up completely and hopelessly, but he himself escapes destruction because he really is a saved man—a real believer in Christ, and salvation is not by works."

So I never said the person will be punished (I said the opposite), and agreed that a person's work will be tried by fire. I don't understand your "correcting" things I never said, and continuing to claim I said things when I said exactly the opposite.

And then you accuse me of contradicting myself. I don't get it. I honestly don't. I have been consistent all along in saying a person doesn't get punished in heaven, that we are saved by the atoning blood of Christ and not by works, but that we will be held accountable for our works. I haven't contradicted myself anywhere in this thread. I honestly don't understand what's going on here.


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