God gives infinite second chances in this life
September 30, 2020
I’ll not say who specifically is the basis of this article because everyone probably knows someone living the earthly life described below. So, picture this: A person becomes a Christian, but they’re never really able to get over their mischievous tendency, some of which is actually sin. Nonetheless, they always repent and ask forgiveness. Finally, they die, and after entering heaven, their mischief continues to the point that God tells them they must go back to Earth to become more mature.
Sound familiar? Thankfully, there are a couple of major differences between this scenario and reality, because that closely describes every Christian’s earthly life, especially mine.
First, every Christian has privilege of seeking and receiving forgiveness 490 times every day while on Earth (or as often as we sin and repent, in my opinion; Matthew 18:21-27; 7:8-11; 1 John 1:5-9). However, once we enter heaven, there’ll be no need for forgiveness because there’ll be no sin; not even sin-spawning impure thoughts can go there (Revelation 21:1-4, 22-27; James 1:13-15; Matthew 15:19). Upon our death, Christians undergo a rapid transformation to receive an incorruptible body, and then we’ll stay in God’s presence for eternity (2 Corinthians 5:6-10; Philippians 1:21-23; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Otherwise, when someone is consigned to punishment, they’re stuck with that fate for eternity (Luke 16:19-26; 2 Peter 2:4-10).
Second, while even non-Christians get an infinite number of second chances in this life, once it’s over, there are only two options. Note, from Luke’s account of the rich man and Lazarus that there’s a great chasm between the places of torment and comfort and nobody can cross between. Chasms contain nothing; there was no intermediate place between the rich man and Lazarus and, if the rich man had been in an intermediate place between final hell and final heaven that some claim to exist, Father Abraham would’ve encouraged him by saying, “Be patient, my son, and serve your time of purging, and then you’ll also be comforted.”
Only those who know God, or, rather, are known by God will be comforted (1 Corinthians 8:3; John 14:15-21; Matthew 5:3-12; 7:21-23; Luke 6:46; Mark 9:42-48; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10). Christians already receive comfort in knowing Jesus is coming back for us, thereby ending all troubles of this life for eternity.
We cannot pay for our own sin to attain heaven. Jesus already has completely done that, as the only perfect sacrifice, and his blood continually cleanses Christians from our sins (Hebrews 9:14-15; 7:25). Read again 1 John 1:5-9, which applies only to Christians — those already walking in the light. For that reason, there’s no intermediary place is needed for us to be purged to make up the difference between our sin and God’s grace in salvation through Jesus’ blood.
Are you relying only on Jesus’ blood and obedience to his commands in this life to remain in his love and receive continued forgiveness? That’s all you ever need to do to enjoy eternal life (1 John 5:3, 13; 3:1-3).
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan who writes about faith for the Quay County Sun. Contact him at [email protected]