Q: #190. Will we be able to sin in Heaven?
By: Steve Shirley
A: No, we will not. Let me explain why.
We need to understand that God cannot sin. It is impossible for God to be tempted with evil (James 1:13). His eyes are too pure to approve of evil or look on wickedness with favor (Hab 1:13). God is perfect (Mt 5:48)(2 Sam 22:31)(Ps 18:30). A definition of sin is "to miss the mark." In other words, sin is to miss the mark of sinlessness and perfection which is God. Sin is a violation of God's moral character. He cannot sin because sin is the polar opposite of what He is.
While on Earth, our goal as Christians is to become more and more like Jesus each day (Eph 4:13,15)(Phil 3:12-14)(2 Cor 3:17-18)(Rom 8:29). The Holy Spirit helps us to do this (2 Cor 3:18). However, when Jesus returns, we will be conformed to His image (Rom 8:29) and be like Him (1 Jn 3:2). As much as any human can become like God, we will be so.
This being said, we have Jesus' life on this Earth as an example of what awaits us. He was sinless (2 Cor 5:21)(Heb 4:15)(1 Jn 3:5-6)(1 Pet 2:21-22). He had only ONE desire, that was to please the Father and do His will (Mt 26:39)(Lk 22:42)(Jn 4:34)(Jn 5:30)(Jn 6:38)(Jn 8:29). Everything He did was to accomplish that goal. Since we will one day share the same character and nature of Jesus, it seems logical to me that our ONLY desire will be to please the Father as well. In addition, I believe that we will be so totally overwhelmed by who He is, what he has done, His grace, His love for us, etc... that even if sin was possible, it would simply have no appeal.
I love an example that the great Christian apologist William Lane Craig uses. "I like to think of it like iron filings in the presence of an enormously powerful electromagnet. They would be so attracted to the magnet that there is simply no possibility of their ever falling away."
Here is another crude example of how I believe sin will no longer be a part of our nature. A man is not sexually attracted to another man (unless he is struggling with the sin of homosexuality). It just isn't a part of his character or nature to be attracted to a man. A man holds no appeal to him at all. Using another example, the smell of cigarette smoke can be a lure to a smoker to make him want to smoke. But, for a non-smoker, it holds no appeal at all. It just stinks. So I believe it will be with us in Heaven. Sin will simply not have any appeal to us in Heaven as it does now while we are on Earth. It will not be apart of our character or nature.
It should also be noted that Satan, who tempts us to sin (Mt 4:3)(1 Th 3:5) will one day be put away FOREVER in the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:10) along with his evil angels. When that day arrives, there will be a New Heaven and Earth in which all believers will dwell forever. God promises that nothing impure will be there (Rev 21:8,27). All evil will end (Mt 13:41-43).
Finally, let me address two things that are sometimes used to refute this position: #1. Didn't Satan and one-third of the angels sin while in Heaven and get cast out? #2. How can there be sin in Heaven if Satan has access to it (Job 1:6-12)(Job 2:1-7)(Rev 12:7-11)?
Both of these questions kind of dovetail together, but let me address #1 first. It should be noted that this occurred before man was even created. Apparently, after God created all of the angels, Satan and one-third of the angels made a conscious choice to reject God and not follow Him. In fact, Satan (Lucifer) wanted to take God's place (Isa 14:12-17)(Ezek 28:12-19). For this sin, they were cast out of Heaven to the Earth. Heaven was no longer their home or dwelling place. In (2 Tim 5:21), Paul mentions that there are "elect angels." The angels who remained were "elect" based on their decision to follow God, just as humans who choose to follow Jesus are called "elect" based on their decision (Rom 8:33)(Col 3:12) (2 Tim 2:10)(1 Pet 1:2). Just as we have stated above, I believe that these "elect" angels are now so drawn to the Father that they will never again sin.
This leads us to question #2. As we just stated, when Satan and his evil angels rejected God and sinned, they were kicked out of their home or dwelling place (Heaven). However, from the passages in Job and Revelation, it is apparent that they still have access to God in Heaven. Here is the distinction I think needs to be made. Yes, Satan and the evil angels have "access" to God in Heaven, but they are shown to come and go from temporarily speaking to God. They are not shown to be able to dwell there any longer. I also believe it is important to note that they are never shown to have any ability to interact with the saints in Heaven. The Bible also does not tell us exactly where God meets with these evil angels. Perhaps it is at the entrance to Heaven for example (if there is an entrance).
It is hard for me to personally to totally grasp the concept of a sinless Heaven. How can I so struggle with sin daily and suddenly that struggle will be gone? It will be an amazing thing... As (1 Cor 13:12)(NASB) says, "For now we see in a mirror dimly (literally "in a riddle"), but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully..."
For more on Heaven, see:
Q: #13. Wlll there be time in Heaven?
Q: #68. Will we work in Heaven?
Q: #189. Can people in Heaven see us?
Q: #206. What will Heaven be like?
Q: #444. Where is Heaven?