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Bible Q

Can you go to heaven if you have sinned?

There are two issues here:

1)     Everyone sins.

1 John 1:8-10  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  (9)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (10)  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

2)     People do not go to heaven at death.  The reward God offers to faithful believers, is everlasting life on earth, not in heaven.  As we read in John 3:13

No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.

Even David, the man after God’s own heart did not ascend to heaven.  Acts 2:34-35

For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand,  (35)  until I make your enemies your footstool.’

There are 2 sorts of people.

  1. Sinners who don’t care about serving God but who live for themselves.
  2. Sinners who have repented of living for themselves and have decided to stop serving sin and start serving God.

We read of these two sorts of people in 1 John 3:4-10:

(4)  Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.  (5)  You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.  (6) No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.  (7)  Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.  (8)  Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.  (9)  No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.  (10)  By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

So those who practice righteousness, although they will sometimes slip up and sin, do not make a practice of sinning.  The following verses from Romans 6, illustrate how our lives should be:

Rom 6:1-14  What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?  (2)  By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?  (3)  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  (4)  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (5)  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  (6)  We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (7)  For one who has died has been set free from sin.  (8)  Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  (9)  We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.  (10)  For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.  (11)  So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (12)  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. (13)  Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.  (14)  For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

To summarize the verses above:  When we realize our hopeless situation and our need of God, we need to repent and be baptized into Jesus Christ.  This act of baptism is a symbol of what is happening within us.  We die to serving sin and live to serving God and Jesus.  And the reward?

Rom 6:22-23    But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. (23)  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When and where are we given the free gift of eternal life?

Col 3:3-4   For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  (4)  When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

So we are glorified when Christ appears.  This appearing is referring to the return of Jesus to earth from heaven – spoken of by the angels when Jesus left earth and went to heaven.

Acts 1:11   and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

1 Corinthians also makes it clear that the resurrection of the saints occurs at the return of Jesus:

1 Cor 15:20-23  But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  (21)  For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. (22)  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.  (23)  But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.

We are not resurrected and then whisked off to heaven.  Our job will be to help Jesus restore peace, harmony and the right worship of God on the earth, by establishing a global Kingdom of God right here on earth.

Rev 5:10  and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

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