Tough Questions ? Week 6
If God wants everyone in heaven, why doesn?t His plan involve everyone going there?
The parent question this week is, ?If God wants everyone in heaven, why doesn?t His plan involve everyone going there?? Before students ask you this question, they will have covered in their lesson the concept of God?s sovereignty compared to man?s free will. They will understand that, in some inexplicable way, God remains completely in control of everything even though people make daily decisions for which they are responsible. This certainly relates to the question they will be asking you. Here are some notes on the subject.
God certainly does want everyone to be in heaven. 2 Peter 3:9b says God is ?not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.? John 3:16 also reveals the extent of God?s love for a condemned world ? He sent His Son to die for sinners. But not everyone will go to heaven. The verse goes on to say that ?whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life? [emphasis added]. ?Whoever? means that it is available to all. 2 Corinthians 5:15 says that Jesus ?died for all that those who live?? [Emphasis added]. There is a distinction between ?all? and ?those?; not all will have eternal life.
Getting back to the question, why doesn?t God just give everyone eternal life? If He truly loves the world and everyone in it, why couldn?t He just pardon everyone of their sin? The reason why God does not do this is related to His justice and His holiness.
God is completely just. We learn that we are sinners deserving death and separation from God by reading Romans 3:23 and 6:23. God in His holiness cannot tolerate sin. In Leviticus 19:2 we read God commanding the Israelite assembly to ?Be holy, because I, the Lord your God, am holy.? Our sin is something that God in His holiness cannot tolerate. Here is what Colossians 1:21-22 says:
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.
The question sent home with students is actually backward. Knowing that God is holy and just, not able to tolerate sin, and knowing that those who have put their trust in Christ have been redeemed, the question should be rephrased. It should be, ?If all of us deserve judgment because of our sin, why did God allow some of us to go to heaven?? Those who are sent to hell are only receiving what they deserve. That does not mean we shouldn?t be filled with a passion to reach as many as we can with God?s love, but it does mean we should realize that none of us deserves heaven. God is merciful. God is loving. He sent Jesus to take our place and pay for our sin so that some of us would spend eternity with Him in heaven. Perhaps there is yet another question that we should ask: ?If we think God should allow more people into heaven, why don?t we care enough to share His message with others?? We are God?s chosen instruments to spread His message.
Make these truths stick
Below are some optional things that you can do to really make some of the concepts in these notes come alive. There is an illustration, an object lesson, and a family challenge.
To illustrate why God won?t allow people into heaven who haven?t placed their trust in Him, here is an example you can use. Let?s say you had a house that was nice and clean, with brand new, gleaming white, wall to wall carpet. Youth and their friends are playing outside?in the mud. You have just prepared a nice meal for them, and you want them to come inside. The problem is that they are filthy. You go outside on the doorstep and announce that they may come into the house for a meal, but they have to be clean. Since they really don?t have any way to clean up, you stand out there to have them take off their shoes, and you hold towels for them to wipe the mud and grime away. You cannot tolerate mud in your home. It would not be a clean home if you did. Suppose some of the friends refuse to clean off? Will you allow them into your home? No. You have provided them with the opportunity, but they are the ones who refused. God also has provided a way to heaven through Jesus. Some have accepted, and others have refused; this is not God?s fault. Heaven would not be heaven if sin were tolerated in it.
Experts say that bed sheets should be changed every two weeks. When was the last time you changed yours? Before the lesson, have your children wash their sheets (or you could change them yourself, but why rob them of the joy of housework?). When they arrive home from the lesson, keep their bed stripped of fresh sheets. As you talk about God?s holiness and the sin-free environment of heaven, relate this concept to fresh sheets. There really is nothing quite like the feeling of climbing into a bed with fresh sheets. Students who put fresh sheets on after this conversation (and perhaps shower as well) can climb into a clean bed with clean sheets to thank God for His holiness and the sin-free environment of heaven.
The question was related to asking God why He wouldn?t have everyone to go to heaven. The reality is that He asks us to share His message with others. As a family, pick out people in your lives whom you will pray for and share the message of salvation with this week. Pray daily for those people and encourage each other in telling them about Christ.