Within some Seventh-day Adventist circles there is a joke connected with how strict Adventists are unlikely to wear jewelry (even a wedding band is avoided). The only jewelry allowed has to be functional—for example, a watch. (To be fair, although I might come to a more tempered conclusion, they have valid reasons for their aversion to bling.)
So…the story goes…these Adventists get to heaven and everyone gets a crown but them. Obviously they are a bit perplexed, but God quickly explains that they get a special one.
And then He reveals crowns with a clocks in their centers. 🙂
Now, for some reason that joke comes to mind when I think of another humorous hypothetical celestial situation. We all know that pride is one of the seven deadly sins (see Proverbs 6:16-19)…so one time I was thinking of a scenario after a saint arrives in heaven. He's really, really excited to finally see Jesus face to face…and (of course) he isn't disappointed.Then our Christian brother hears those words we all want to hear:
"Well done, good and faithful servant." (See Matthew 25:21, 23, English Standard Version).
Poof!!! The newly arrived Christian disappears!
"What happened?" an angel asks Jesus.
"He became proud."
All facetious views of our heavenly arrival aside, the latter tale fits with a question one of our younger members asked me on my cell phone a couple weeks back after I finished a jog in California. I don't remember it word for word, but the inquisitive youth queried, "Once you are in heaven, can you be cast out?"
The general Christian reaction would be an emphatic, "No!" We all know that once you make it it is permanent. However, the question isn't that unreasonable. The Devil and one third of the angels were in heaven when they fell (see Revelation 12:4, 7-9). If, while being able to view the very countenance we all long to see, they gave up their literal perfection for rebellion, what stops you and me from making the same wrong choice after we reach the Pearly Gates?
This really is the same question about whether once we are saved we are always saved…although I can't imagine the Christians who believe you can lose your salvation here on earth believe it is also possible up yonder. Good arguments can be made both ways when discussing the earthly surety of salvation. (I personally lean toward "once save always saved" believing that if you "fall way" it really just means you never truly accepted Christ.) In eternity, however, it's a done deal. Here are five arguments to prove that:
#1 — God is omniscient. He knew you before you were born. He knows you for all eternity. If He certifies you as safe to save…you are safe to save. (I'd give biblical confirmation of His omniscience, but that's outside the scope of this article.)
#2 — It is called "eternal life"…not "semi-eternal life" or "eternal life until you blow it." (There are too many references to list here, but take a look at Matthew 19:29; John 3:15-16; Romans 6:22; and 1 Timothy 1:16. Please also note that the other side of the equation is eternal too…as in Matthew 18:8's "eternal fire," Matthew 25:46's "eternal punishment," Hebrews 6:2's "eternal judgment," and so on.)
#3 — Speaking of Hebrews…Hebrews 9:27 notes that "it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment." One death. One judgment.
#4 — God has promised to heal you: "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). When you arrive in heaven you are no longer a broken, sin-drenched rebel. You are a finished, perfect product…our Lord's personal handiwork.
#5 — God promises "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4). Can you imagine a scenario where that is true and your heavenly neighbors are going "Poof!!!" here-and-there? Not to mention that there would have to be celestial psychiatric offices to help the more nervous of us deal with the anxiety of knowing that our pass into heaven is theoretically only temporary (and to help us through our grief over friends and family members who blew it and were banished south).
Praise the Lord that once we are first allowed to glimpse the face of our savior we, eternally, will be able to gaze upon it.
God knows you. God's gift is eternal. God will only judge you once. God will heal you. God will wipe away your tears…permanently.