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On Heaven's Gate
Jun 26th, 2016

We’ve been told that we can't even imagine what heaven will be like.  "No eye has seen, ..., nor heart has conceived, ..., what God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor 2:9).  How wondrous it must be if we can't even imagine what it will be like.  Yet, while we may not be able to imagine it’s full wonder, there are aspects of heaven that we can come to know.  And, since imagination grows on knowledge, we can come closer with our imagination to what heaven will be like by simply knowing more about it.

Consider how heaven's gate works.  Understanding how heaven's gate works is important because it's what keeps us from the full realization of heaven's wonder.  Here on earth, the more we know about heaven’s gate, the more likely we are to better understand what heaven will be like and what we need to do to get there. 

We can learn more about heaven’s gate, and heaven, by simply looking at the relationship between two things that we already know about heaven.  For example, when we look at how “perfect love” in heaven relates to our “free will” in heaven, we learn that we have to freely choose to love everyone.  That is, we have to choose to reflect the love that God has for us, toward everyone else.

Therefore, the first two things that we know is that, in heaven, we will experience God’s perfect love for us and that His love will be everywhere.  We know this because God is the essence of perfect love and God is everywhere.  That's an important understanding because it means that, since God's love is everywhere in heaven, there can be nowhere in heaven where there isn't perfect love.  That means that, in heaven, we can only have love for each other and for God.  Further, because we will be sharing in God's perfect love, we will love each other with an intensity that, here on earth, we cannot even imagine. 

It's easy to believe that we will love those in heaven who we already love here on earth.  It’s also just as easy to believe that we will love those who we already hold in high regard and have been good to us here on earth.  It just seems natural that, in heaven, we will love them even more.

The next thing that we know about heaven is that we will continue to have our free will.  We know we will have a free will in heaven because, without it, we couldn’t choose to love God, or anyone else.  Without a free will, it’s impossible for us to love.  It’s because of our free will, that we will be able to love God and everyone else for all eternity.

This is a particularly interesting aspect because, in heaven, it’s not possible to love some and hate others. We are going to love everyone equally.  That's interesting because somehow we’re going to love even those who have hurt us, here on earth.  And we're going to love them with an intensity that we can’t even imagine. 

But how can that be?
Here on earth, it’s easy to carry a grudge against someone who has harmed us.  So, how is it possible that we’re going to freely choose to love them in heaven?  How is it possible that we will love them so much that it will be pure joy to be with them for all eternity?

Here’s where we learn an important aspect about heaven's gate.

Remember that God can only encourage us to love others, He can’t force us.  So, what happens if, while we are standing for our judgment, we see our worst nightmare standing inside the gates of heaven welcoming us?  We will feel the love that God has in store for us and, at the same time, we will feel the animosity we still have toward our worst nightmare.  That's going to be a problem.

We will know that the grudge that we’re holding onto isn’t compatible with the love that God has for us.  We will know that we can’t be fully united with God until we have freely reconciled with everyone, including our worst nightmare.  We will instantly know that we can’t enter heaven until we have freely chosen to love everyone.  Because of that knowledge, along with our free will, we will choose to separate ourselves from God's love and will stay outside of heaven until we love those who have hurt us.

That will be a difficult time for us because each moment that we freely choose to carry a grudge we will feel the absence of God's penetrating love and it will be painful.  We will find ourselves having to choose between holding back our forgiveness for those who have hurt us and embracing them as God has already done for them.

So, what can we conclude about heaven's gate?  First, it will be self-policed.  It’s not that God will keep us out, we will keep ourselves out, even though we will suffer from the absence of God’s penetrating love for us.  Second, we will choose to remain outside until we willingly choose to forgive those who have hurt us.

There are two principle benefits that we can get from this new understanding.  First, we can minimize the time we spend outside of Heaven by forgiving those who have hurt us, before we stand for our judgment.  Remember that forgiving others doesn’t mean that we condone what they’ve done, any more than God condones what we’ve done when He forgives us.  When we forgive others, we are simply reflecting the mercy that God has already shown us.  Forgiveness reduces, or eliminates anger, because it's difficult to forgive someone and still be angry with them.

Second, the flip side of our forgiveness for those who have hurt us is our asking for forgiveness from those whom we've hurt.  Asking for forgiveness helps others in their forgiveness process and therefore builds peace between us here on earth. 

So, as we can see, understanding how the gates of heaven work has taught us two important lessons about life.  First, forgiveness plays an important role in our getting into heaven, and second, forgiveness has the additional benefit of promoting more peace for all of us, here on earth, which makes life a little easier for all of us.

Roger Cruze