who doesn't make it into heaven?

St. Paul makes a few lists.

In his first letter to the Corinthian church, 1 Cor. 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

He writes to the churches in Galatia, Gal. 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

He writes to the church in Ephesus, Eph. 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

The writer of Hebrews asserts, Heb, 12:14-16 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.

John the Revelator writes, Rev. 22:14-15 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

By all these criteria, I don't see how anyone can make it into the gates of heaven. Jesus says anyone who hates is a murderer, anyone who lusts is an adulterer, anyone who covets is an idolater, etc. Churches are notorious for bitter splits. Pastors are notorious for being fornicators. So do none of us, despite believing on Jesus, get to enter the pearly gates?

Revelation 21 says a couple intriguing things. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Some take this to mean an eternity of burning torture. Some take this to mean annihilation of those souls. But I'm intrigued by the verses a little way down.

Rev. 21:25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

This is symbolic language. What does it mean there is no night? What does it mean that the gates of the new holy city shall not be shut? What does it mean to be walking around yet unable to enter the city? How can those who work abominations or make lies still be around?

I don't know enough about the Apocalypse. I know there are many approaches to understanding it. But if this is some form of the afterlife, can those outside the walls, who are in a baptism by a fiery lake coming out of it with their uncleanness purged?

I do think justice is finally satisfied in the afterlife but not to the exclusion of love and grace.


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