Dear Pastor Andy, Heaven is said to be a perfect place, but God’s high-ranking angel Satan sinned in Heaven and was cast out. This indicates discontentment and even jealousy in Heaven. With this in mind, could a Christian make it to Heaven and then be cast out? Or is he/she stripped of the gift of free will when entering Heaven?
I think we’ll always have free will, because Adam and Eve had free will while in the garden, before being introduced to sin. But in Heaven, I’m guessing that our wills will be parallel to those of God’s…especially since as Christians, that’s basically what we want now, and in Heaven, there won’t be any sin to point us to contrary (sinful) desires.
As for being kicked out, believe it or not, what you’re suggesting is actually believed by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They believe that the full 144,000 people who were to go to heaven are already there, but that “God writes their names in with a pencil” (quoted by a JW woman I once worked with). That’s what keeps them witnessing and working towards the goal of trying to earn their salvation, hoping that somebody who’s already in Heaven now will slip up, giving them the next spot in line to take their place (as if there was a cap on how many people are allowed there). But this is contrary to what God’s Word says. Plus, doesn’t that sound sort of evil, hoping somebody falls out of eternal glory so you could take their spot? Wouldn’t that also automatically disqualify you, regardless of how much good work you did? Also, would Heaven be a perfect place if you could be kicked out?
The Bible tells us that you cannot earn salvation, for it is only available through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul said that “If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, then you will be saved.” Paul also often argued in his letters with church-goers who would throw out the faith part and focus on works (following the law, trying to earn salvation, backstabbing others to get next in line, following traditions, forming cliques, practicing cheap grace, etc.). Plus, a former seminary professor of mine once suggested that if we could earn our way into heaven, then we could also lose it. But since we can’t earn it, we can’t lose it (think of God using a Sharpie, not a pencil). And if you want to get real theological, Satan HAD to sin and become evil in order for God’s Gospel and plan of salvation to be set into motion – a plan for all of His creation, those of us who receive His Son as Lord, to join Him for all eternity.