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Examine Scripture

Hebrews 3:16-19

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Does Everyone Go to Heaven?…

A question that troubles many, and one that WE can never answer is who goes to heaven?

Who were those who rebelled when they heard? Was it not all those who came out of Egypt under Moses? With whom was he “provoked for forty years”? Was it not those who had sinned, whose corpses fell in the desert? And to whom did he “swear that they should not enter into his rest,” if not to those who were disobedient? And we see that they could not enter for lack of faith.  -Hebrews 3:16-19, NAB

Again, the author of Hebrews continues with the Israelites being lost in the desert.  As we look more in-depth at this question, we realize that the promised land parallels heaven in many ways.  So if some of the Israelites failed to enter the promised land for their disobedience, will others today not enter heaven for the same reason?

Popular culture has spread two different ideas.  One theory states that once you are saved, you are always saved (a Calvinist theology).  Nothing can separate you from Christ.  It’s easy to see why this is a popular notion.  It really takes the pressure off of the sinner.

An even more relaxed theory is that God will save us all.  If God is a loving God, won’t He save us all?  Yes, God loves us all, and He definitely wants to save us all.  With this concept, you do not even have to believe Christ exists to be saved.  Is this possible?

Today’s verse makes us want to look at this a little differently.  First, these two ideas remove one thing: free will.  God gives us free will to choose our path in life, including the path that will lead us to heaven.  Although a trip to heaven benefits us, a predestination to it – removing free will – does not.

Also, God is a loving God, but He is also a God of justice.  How can God love us and be just at the same time?  The Israelites chose a path apart from God (using free will), and justice was served when God did not allow them to enter the promised land.  He loved them enough to give them the opportunity, but just enough to allow them to choose a different path.

Among Catholic scholars, we do not even find a concensus.  The balance between God’s love and justice is outside of our comprehension.  In the end, only God knows who will truly be saved.  The one thing everyone can agree on, however, is that by following the ways of Christ, we are surely heading in the right direction.

Does everyone go to heaven?  No one knows who will enter heaven except God, and He points us down the path to get there.  Follow the ways of Christ, be led by the Holy Spirit, and you will surely find the way to go.

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