by Dr. Charles Stanley
Friday July 15, 2005
A Second Chance at Heaven?
People fall prey to unbiblical ideas and doctrine when they do not read the Word and evaluate the ideas they hear against God’s truth. Consequently, two popular misconceptions have arisen about life after death. First, some folks believe everyone will get to heaven one way or another. A person will argue that the Bible says God wants everyone to be saved. (1 Timothy 2:3-5, 2 Peter 3:9) Yes, He does. But He does not say everyone will be saved. We are each given an opportunity to choose Jesus Christ as our Savior in this life, but God will not force us to receive Him.
Our eternal home is set before we die. Upon our earthly death, we will either enter the presence of the Lord or be condemned to separation from Him. There is no middle ground between the two. In the afterlife, those who choose God are separated from those who reject Him. (Luke 16:26; Matthew 25:31-46) The people who trust a second false doctrine—purgatory—ignore this truth from the Bible. Purgatory is imagined as a holding cell where souls are tormented for earthly sins before being released into heaven.
Many people believe in a place between heaven and hell without realizing what an insult that concept is to God. If we argue that we must suffer for our own wrongdoing, we are saying Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross was insufficient to pay our sin-debt. This idea violates the most important doctrine in God’s Word. But if we are committed to studying the Bible and carefully evaluating what we hear, we will not be swayed by false ideologies.
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