LGBT in Heaven? 2


 

Will there be LGBT people in Heaven?  

Will there be people in Heaven who taught that LGBT is an acceptable lifestyle in the eyes of God?

Who told you that your answers are correct?

The church has but one mission in this world: to lead people destined to spend eternity in hell to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and an eternity in heaven.

Well – I’d think that opening would get some interest!  One way or another, people seem to be on all sides of this issue – and apparently even those on the same side have a hard time getting along with each other!  In fact, this post is a result of someone else’s post that I recently read.  As a result of that, when I was reading Alone With God the quote below practically jumped off the page and screamed to be written about.


I wrote this November 13, 2014. 
As I’m moving it over here to this site and doing the reformatting, I’ve also made a few updates.
The updates are in text like this.


So – before we go any further – let me shake up some of you with a quote from Alone with God, by John MacArthur Jr. –

What concerns me most, however, is the open hostility that resentment with our nation’s leadership often fosters. When that attitude merges with the perspective that Christians ought to impact the culture by legislating morality, the church is severely diverted from its main purpose. Although changing our society by calling it back to a safer morality is a noble goal, that has never been Christ’s goal for His church.

The church has but one mission in this world: to lead people destined to spend eternity in hell to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and an eternity in heaven. If people die in a communist government or a democracy, under a tyrant or a benevolent dictator, believing homosexuality is right or wrong, or believing abortion is a woman’s fundamental right to choose or simply mass murder, that has no bearing on where they will spend eternity. If they never knew Christ and never embraced Him as their Lord and Savior, they will spend eternity in hell.1)Alone with God: The Power and Passion of Prayer, by John MacArthur, Jr. – 1995

Did you catch all of that?  Let me tell you, it surprised me.  This is John MacArthur – not some liberal “Christian ” preacher who says everyone gets saved.  No – this is the person who wrote in the same book –

We frequently come to crossroads in our lives where we have to choose between doing God’s will or our own.

I’ve been challenged a lot lately by the Holy Spirit to examine what I believe about some things.  It’s a painful process – to realize that things you thought would be true – are maybe 100% against what the Bible appears to say — or, more properly, maybe what we’d like to think it appears to say.  We read enough about many issues – like the LGBT one – to believe that we’re right.  We hear ministers say things – we hear “conservatives” say things – we hear “liberals” say something very different – we think we know what the Bible says – and we pick sides.  Yeah – maybe there’s a little voice in our heads that’s asking – is that really right?  But it’s such a small voice – and the rest of the world is so loud.  And there’s really only two sides to an issue – right?  Who told us that one?  Must be Satan.

Let’s look at what MacArthur said in more detail –

The church has but one mission in this world: to lead people destined to spend eternity in hell to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and an eternity in heaven.

 This should be non-controversial, I would have thought – but I’m pretty sure there’s quite a few people who disagree.  More on that in a different post some day.  The difficulty comes in the two sentences just before that one:

When that attitude merges with the perspective that Christians ought to impact the culture by legislating morality, the church is severely diverted from its main purpose. Although changing our society by calling it back to a safer morality is a noble goal, that has never been Christ’s goal for His church.

 Many believe that it is in fact part of the role of Christians to legislate morality and change society.  I disagree – but let’s please try to save comment on that for the other post.  For purposes of this one – let’s try to ignore this statement.  In fact, the only reason I include it here is to show that MacArthur really is conservative in his views (for those that aren’t familiar with him).

If people die in a communist government or a democracy, that has no bearing on where they will spend eternity.

Hopefully I’m not going out on a limb here saying this is something that would be pretty much agreed on.

If people die under a tyrant or a benevolent dictator, that has no bearing on where they will spend eternity.

I also assume this statement is equally non-controversial.


OK – I now have to disagree with myself.  Don’t you hate when that happens?  Actually, I think (hope) it’s called growth.  
It’s August 2016 – almost 2 years since I first wrote this.  Since then, I’ve met a number of people from China.  Because of them, I’ve checked out what’s happening with the Church in China.  Based on talking with those people and what I’ve found in my research – I no longer think the statements about there not being a real difference if one lives under communist rule / under a tyrant / dictator are true.  I think there could be a difference.

However – my change of mind may not be the way you expect.  I suspect that for those who check out Christianity in those countries – who see what Jesus’ message was really about – those who understand His message are more likely to become strong believers under the oppressive rulers than they are under a democracy.  Yes – I think the believers in China have a stronger relationship with Jesus than do most believers in the U. S.  There has to be a higher level of interest in those countries than there is in democracies – just because of the inherent dangers involved in even showing an interest in Christianity.  Once involved in the Church, the dangers increase and they never go away.

Why is their relationship with Jesus and their faith stronger? Because they pretty much have to be, in order to survive this life with their faith intact.  They are in a much closer situation to the early church we see in the New Testament than we are in countries like the U. S.  In many respects we have it too easy – we don’t put our freedom or our lives in danger for what we believe.  Many in China do.  

It seems like we could be heading that direction in the U. S. and other democracies – and I’m not sure that’s necessarily a bad thing, at least not as far as relationships between us and God are concerned.  It seems that God’s people have needed a wake-up call throughout history.


But – for maybe a response of  you’ve got to be kidding!!! –  how about these two:

If people die believing homosexuality is right or wrong, that has no bearing on where they will spend eternity.

If people die believing abortion is a woman’s fundamental right to choose or simply mass murder, that has no bearing on where they will spend eternity.

Seriously? He wrote that?  I agreed with it?

Yes – Seriously.  Yes – John MacArthur wrote that.  Yes – I agreed with it.

So – back to the questions.  Let’s start with the first one – Will there be LGBT people in Heaven?  I need to point out there is a slight difference between my question and what MacArthur says in his book.  His statement was believing it was right or wrong.  He doesn’t say whether it’s just believing it – or whether it’s people who practice it – or both.  I submit – it doesn’t matter.

Did you answer yes?  – I agree.

Did you answer no?  Let me ask you – why not?  Why do you think there won’t be anyone like that?  Did you draw any distinctions between believing and practicing?  If you did – what were your reasons?  Why would it matter?

I’m not being argumentative (at least not trying to be) here. I’m just trying to get you to think about the third question at the top of the page – Who told you…?  It’s amazing how incredibly important that question is.  For too long, I tended to try to make the Bible fit in with the “conservative” point of view.  After all – I’m a conservative.  I’m sure the same thing happens with liberals – they try to make the Bible fit into their view of the world as well.  But honestly – that’s backwards.  It’s not supposed to be that way.


At this point, I need to add something.  It’s August 2016 – the campaigning for the presidential elections is going full speed ahead.  Or is it full speed down hill?    I find myself more and more challenged to say I’m a conservative, the way they seem to be defining themselves these days.  I also can’t consider myself liberal.  I think they’re both messed up when they try to get cover from God when they talk about things they want to do – or not do.  I’ve got a whole category going on “why the government can’t save you” that looks into issues along those lines.  If you are bugged by the same thing – you should check it out.  Select the categories drop-down on the right side-bar and click on Why the government can’t save you.


In John 18:28-40, while being questioned by Pilate, Jesus says “My kingdom is not of this world…”.

Earlier, we also see a conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees, going from John 8:12-30, which includes this statement – “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.”

Jesus is very clearly letting both the Roman authority and the Jewish leaders know that their world has nothing to do with His kingdom.  Talking to Pilate – it’s pretty straightforward.  In reality, Pilate probably wouldn’t have understood any explanation anyway.  But speaking to the Jewish leaders – who most certainly understood what He said to them – told them they were from Hell and He (Jesus) is from Heaven.  Their whole problem was related to them looking at their view of things – therefore refusing to see what should have been plain to them.

If Jesus said these things to those people – do you think He’d say anything different to us?  Do you think He’d say something like – you know, it has been 2,000 years, maybe it’s time for Me to change My mind — after all, you are all so much smarter than Me and My Father?  Not likely.

Ah – but maybe you say that the LGBT stuff was all Old Testament – that it was already OK in Jesus’ time.  The Mosaic Law, Sodom and Gomorrah, and all that OT stuff was needed in the “early days”, but by Jesus’ time people were enlightened enough that that kind of thinking from God was yesterday’s law.  Do you remember this – a section the NIV calls The Fulfillment of the Law – Mt 5:17-20 –

Mt 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Oops.  That seems pretty straightforward –  I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

OK – maybe you say – that’s no big deal to me anyway.  I’m not one of “those” people.  I don’t care if God lets them in or not.  (But you cover yourself by thinking – although I’m pretty sure He won’t, so I’ll be safe anyway).  If that’s what you’re thinking – let’s look at one more thing.

Yes – one more thing.  You see – your soul is important to God.  So it’s important to me.  So yes – please – let’s look at one more thing.

Every Christian is familiar with The Lord’s Prayer.  Although different denominations have slightly different words – and although it used to be Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed by Thy name … when I first learned it – the concepts in it are all the same.  But <yes – another but – however an important one for your soul to consider> – do you know what the verses right after the Lord’s Prayer say?  <It’s amazing how often the verse after a famous one isn’t known – but is so important!>  The full section where it’s given to us – in a section called Prayer in the NIV, is in Matthew 6:5-15.  Certainly, you remember the part about forgive us our sins.  You probably also remember the part about as we forgive those who sin against us.  Do you also know that Jesus dedicated two verses to this forgiveness part of The Lord’s Prayer?  The whole prayer is only four and a half verses – and Jesus said nearly half that much afterwards just to talk about one of those verses!  Surely – that makes it important to Him.  And if it’s important to Him – it should be important to us.  Especially after we read it – and especially after we find out that our salvation depends on these two verses!!

Mt 6:14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Mt 6:15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

I added the bold – just to emphasize those words.  Think about what that means.  If we don’t forgive others – He won’t forgive us.

Oh yeah – there’s that word too – forgive.

That must mean there should be forgiveness for the LGBT people – who are sinning against God.

Ah – there’s the loophole – maybe that’s what you’re thinking.  “They’re sinning against God – not against me!  I don’t have to forgive them.  I have nothing to forgive!”

Sorry.

I don’t think that’s the way God’s going to look at it.

Remember Jonah?  He was supposed to go to Nineveh.  He was supposed to warn them that God was going to destroy their city.  But he didn’t want to go.  He was sure that if the people of Nineveh turned to God – then God wouldn’t destroy the city.  This was a big deal to Jonah.  You see, Jonah was one of the chosen people – one of God’s people – an Israelite.  The people of Nineveh were pagans – and worse yet they were enemies of Israel.  Jonah didn’t want them to be saved.  Not really too different from some “Christians” that don’t want LGBT people to be saved.  And guess what – if you don’t already know – Jonah tried to run away from God – God summoned a large fish to take Jonah back in the right direction – Jonah proclaimed God’s message – the people turned to God – and God didn’t destroy Nineveh (until later when they turned away again).  But Jonah was mad – really mad.  He knew this was going to happen – told God so – and then just sat down being miserable.  You know what God told Jonah?

Jnh 4:11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

Do you honestly think that God’s going to be concerned about the enemies of Israel – His chosen people – but He’s somehow not going to be concerned about LGBT people?  They are His creation – just as much as the people of Nineveh were – and just as much as all of us today are – including anyone who thinks Nineveh should have been destroyed and anyone who thinks all LGBT people should go to Hell.  
If you think I’m wrong – who told you that it would be any different?

To put it slightly differently – and maybe even more bluntly – (sometimes I need blunt.  One time I told God He’s have to hit me on the head with a 2×4, because I wasn’t getting His message.  I knew He wanted something from me – but I wasn’t letting it get through my thick head.  We all need blunt sometimes.  And, like I said – your soul is important – so if you still need blunt, I have to at least offer it to you.)  Anyway – why would they not be allowed into Heaven – if they truly asked for forgiveness from Jesus?  What have they done that forgiveness would be turned down?  Was the man on the cross next to Jesus – who asked Jesus to remember him – was he turned down? NO!  Here’s what we read in Luke 23:39-43 –

Lk 23:39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 
Lk 23:40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 
Lk 23:42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’” 
Lk 23:43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

No.  He wasn’t turned down.  Jesus told him – see you later – in Paradise!

The verses don’t say what this man did to end up on a cross.  Maybe that’s the point though – it doesn’t say or else we’d be rationalizing that we’re not as bad as him – or, as in this case, maybe that someone else is worse than him.  The reality is – it doesn’t matter what he did.  Just like it doesn’t matter what we did.  And it doesn’t matter what anyone else did.  Forgiveness is available to all – and the price isn’t perfection – the price isn’t stopping all sin – the price can be as little as what the man next to Jesus said.  Who are we to change that?  Who are we to say that while Jesus grants forgiveness based on acknowledging Him as God – we have higher standards and exceptions?

And that brings me to the problem of forgiveness for people who say LGBT people should not be in Heaven. Maybe you can convince yourself that you haven’t sinned against them.  But maybe you have – by trying to keep them from the reward that Jesus promised if they acknowledge Him – trying to keep them from even asking for forgiveness, by telling them that Jesus wouldn’t give it to them.  There’s also the issue of sinning against God Himself with this belief.  Yes – against God Himself.  I can easily think of at least 2 grounds for it.  One would be because of placing yourself higher than God – thinking that your rules override His.  Another would be that maybe by these statements – you’re calling God a liar – saying that He’s doing a bait & switch – allegedly offering forgiveness to all while knowing that He was going to exclude some?  Either way – it’s not a good place to be in.  Honestly – ask yourself – is this where you are?  If you’re thinking LGBT and Heaven are mutually exclusive – I definitely encourage you to re-examine your thinking.

If you’re still not convinced – and you think the above statements on sinning against God are wrong – think about your own sins.  Everyone sins – so there is something.  Now ask yourself – why is your sin forgivable – but theirs isn’t?  That question really hit home for me – like the ultimate 2×4.  And if you come up with a reason – you’re right back to either calling God a liar – or putting yourself above Him.

This can be really hard – I know.  If you’re still not convinced – I’m praying for you.

Whatever conclusion you come up with – there is some good news – that hopefully will apply to you.  Jesus died to pay for the sins of everyone – everyone who acknowledges Him as God and truly tries to follow Him.  Like I said – everyone sins – Christians too.  But Jesus will forgive us if we are sincere in our belief about Him and who He said He was.  (Not our watered down version of Jesus – but Jesus’ own version of Himself).  If you choose not to accept the statements above – I pray that, if you are a true believer – that He will forgive your sins – just as He would forgive the sins of LGBT people or another true believer.  To think that anything else was true – would be to put our own salvation into doubt.  Clearly – that’s a message from Satan – not from God.

Now – on to the second question –

 Will there be people in Heaven who taught that LGBT is an acceptable lifestyle in the eyes of God?

This one – I’m sure there will be disagreement on too – but I believe the answer is no.  The reason I say this comes from words of Jesus –

The disciples were asking Jesus who was the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, and as He often does – He changed the subject a little bit to make His own point.  This happens in Matthew 18:1-9 –

Mt 18:2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 
Mt 18:5 “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. 6 But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

 <emphasis added>

I’m guessing that someone with a large millstone around their neck, drowning in the depths of the sea isn’t really a candidate for Heaven.

Am I saying no forgiveness for a true believer – if a true believer teaches that this lifestyle is acceptable to God?

No.

I’m saying a true believer wouldn’t teach that.  Therefore – forgiveness wasn’t an option.

Remember what James said –

Jas 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

Yes – there’s a different – higher standard for people who take on the role of teaching.  No one forces anyone to be a teacher.  It’s totally a choice of the person doing the teaching.  And should that person presume to be teaching God’s Word – and fall into the category of the people Jesus talked about above – I don’t believe there will be salvation.

And yes – I know this includes me.  It was something I considered very much before I started writing.  It was something I considered even more when I started actually teaching at church.  I pray before every writing session – I pray while I’m developing what I’m going to say.  Sometimes the Holy Spirit leads me to other places while I’m writing – kind of like Jesus changing the subject when He’s asked a question.  I’m open to that – in fact, I count on it – because every soul is important to God – so every soul has to be important to me.  It’s that simple.

I think what Jesus is saying after The Lord’s Prayer is that He wants all of us to be that way – to feel like He does, that we need to be forgiving.  Ultimately – the choice of forgiving or not, that’s up to Him.  It’s not our choice.  We are told to forgive.  In fact – if someone who was leading God’s children astray repents – and then follows Jesus – that person also will be forgiven.  And we don’t know ahead of time if they’re going to be changing or not – so we need to be forgiving towards them as well.  God might even use us to help change the heart of someone in that position!  If you’re still thinking that LGBT lifestyle means a ticket to Hell – I’m not condemning you – I’m praying for you.  I don’t think I would have said that a few years ago.  But I do now.  I do it now, because I have to.  There’s a difference between believing in God – and believing God.  I believe Him – and I believe He wants us to be forgiving.  Our own forgiveness depends on it.

You’re soul is important.  Don’t short-change yourself – don’t keep yourself from otherwise being in Heaven.  No matter what your belief – no matter what your lifestyle – pray to God – pray to Jesus.  He’ll guide you – and He’ll help you with the courage and strength you may need.  He loves you – He’s already paid the price for you – the rest is up to you.

For the grace of God hath appeared bringing salvation to all men.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

Someone’s at your door.

 

References   [ + ]

1. Alone with God: The Power and Passion of Prayer, by John MacArthur, Jr. – 1995

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2 thoughts on “LGBT in Heaven?

  • Challenge Accepted

    Hey man,
    So I read the post! My opinion is this: teachers are held to a higher standard. If what a person teaches leads people to hell… I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. It is up to God to judge that issue. As for people who are LGBT… I’ve got to say that it is a sin just like any other sin. Christians sin all the time by lying, hypocrisy, gluttony, sloth, being lukewarm, etc. God is ultimately the judge of each person’s life and I have no idea how he judges other than a relationship with Jesus and continued sanctification. That’s all my friend 🙂 Be blessed!