Bible Question:

I understand about God giving us choice because He doesn't want us to be a puppet. God wants us to have meaning in our lives so He has given us the power of choice. With choice however comes potential suffering and sin. My question is if there are no suffering and sin in heaven, does it also imply that the people in heaven will no longer have free will and hence become the “puppet” people that we don't want to be? To summarize my question, “Can we remove suffering and sin and still have free will in heaven?”

Bible Answer:

The Bible reveals that God created Adam and Eve without sin (Genesis 3). The same passage also reveals that they had freewill since they were able to disobey God. The result was that sin entered the human race and brought pain and suffering into their lives and the lives of their children. We became sinners. Freewill existed before pain and suffering. That is the message of the following passage.

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned . . . death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. Rom 5:12-14 (NAS95S)

When a person truly believes in Jesus Christ and trusts God for the forgiveness of his or her sins, then God forgives the sins and promises eternal life in heaven with Him. Thus we are able to escape sin and its penalty – pain and suffering. Now let’s ask a question, “What type of person does God forgive?” The answer is given by Jesus Himself in several passages,

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matt 5:3 (NAS95S)

And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (NASB) Mark 2:17

In the first passage Jesus reveals that only those who see themselves as sinners and in need of help will be forgiven and eventually enter heaven. To be poor in spirit means that we understand we are “poor” in our spiritual condition. We are in need of help. We are spiritual beggars because we are sinful. The second passage reveals that Jesus did not come to save those who are happy with their sin and do not see any reason or need to change their lives. Together, these two passages reveal that those who seek God’s forgiveness and those who are forgiven are those who want their lives changed. Unfortunately, those who are content with their sin do not see any need to change. They are the “healthy” ones that Jesus refers to.

The New Testament calls those who believe in Jesus Christ “saints” or “holy ones.” Listen to the heart cry of the apostle Paul. He did not like the fact that he was a sinner. He mourned his condition.

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Rom 7:24 (NAS95S)

This is an important truth. Let’s ask a crucial question now. Why would anyone who hates their sin and wants God to forgive them and transform their life into that of a holy person want to have freedom to sin or have sin present in heaven? The goal in the Christian life is to defeat sin, to have victory over sin and to move towards holiness. That is the message of the following passage which is a picture of spiritual growth.

I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. 1 John 2:14 (NAS95S)

Victory over the “evil one” includes victory over sin.

Conclusion:

Frankly, any true Christian will not want to have the freedom to sin in heaven nor they will want anyone else to have the freedom to sin and cause trouble either. Who wants murder, stealing, and violence in heaven? I am looking for sin to disappear. Revelation 21-22 imply that we will have plenty of decisions – free will – to make. Yes, we will have free will, but it will not include the freedom to sin.

Reference Links:

Peace With God
A Call: Teach The Word
Patterns of Godly Leadership
Thoughts on Selecting A Pastor
What are the pastor's duties to a church?