A friend of mine asked me a question in the midst of a good discussion on free will and the ability to choose to sin. Martina (Marty) asked me this ~
What if I am tempted in 10,000 years and fall away? How do we overcome the temptation to sin, forever, if we have free will to disobey God? A third of the angels did, Adam did, Eve did. …I worry! :)) –Marty
Here is my response to her:
I wonder the same thing as well. I have come to the conclusion that there will be no falling away or "crossing over" as the terms are being used. There are two angles that I approach this from and there are probably more.
The first is the realization that Adam did not possess eternal life in the way that we as believers in Christ possess it. In the Garden of Eden there were two special trees, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Tree of Life, Genesis 2:9. Adam and Eve never partook of the Tree of Life although it was there for them. Once they fell into sin by rebelling against God, they were denied access to the Tree of Life, Genesis 3:22-24. Access to the Tree of Life now only comes through another tree, the cross.
The promise of eternal life to us is all throughout the scriptures. It is eternal in nature and that means it NEVER ends. Eternity is actually existing forever in both directions, from everlasting and to everlasting, Psalm 41:13. Once Christ has given to us eternal life, nothing can ever take it away, John 10:11, 27-30.
In Revelation 2:7, the church is promised to be able to partake of the Tree of Life which is in the midst of the paradise of God. The letters to the churches in Revelation 2 & 3 are the letters to the church, specifically going through the great tribulation. I believe these warnings, rewards, and promises are for us. The Tree of Life will be with us here on earth once again in that place that the LORD is preparing for us, namely the New Jerusalem, Revelation 22:2.
In short, from this first point of view, we will be, or rather we already are, in a position of superiority over Adam. He had not entered into that eternal fellowship with God that could never be broken. We have.
The second point of view sort of comes out of that old fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen that I mentioned. After you read it you’ll understand.
If Adam and Eve had resisted temptation on the first day of being in the Garden of Eden on that very first Sabbath Day, would Satan have been back the very next day to tempt them again? I believe he would have. Would Satan have been back every single day to tempt them again and again and again for a thousand years? I believe he would have.
But in the very first temptation, Adam’s will was newly being formed. He was truly a new creation. He should have exercised his will by choosing what was right. He should have obeyed. His will would have been stronger for the next choice or temptation. He would have grown stronger and stronger in resisting the devil and proven himself to be a wise king over all the earth.
Now for the angels from this aspect. When the angels were newly created, they too had brand new wills (volition). They needed to be exercised to follow the LORD and choose what is right. [Getting into the deeper issues with angels and just assuming my viewpoints instead of proving them], one third of the angels rebelled around the time of the literal six day creation. They were brand new and had not exercised their wills to submit to God. As time went on, the angels who remained grew stronger. Yet shortly after this, there was one other "departure" of some angels who kept not their first estate (Jude 6, Genesis 6:1-4). They were still not quite strong enough to resist the temptation to come down and take the daughters of men as their own wives. This is what produced the Nephilim.
After this time, the angels that remained had grown strong, coupled with the demonstration of seeing their fellow angels (that they once worshiped with) turned into ugly creatures, being "destroyed" in a sense, they are now to the point (I believe) where they will not rebel because they have sufficiently submitted themselves to the will of God, though the temptation and opportunity was there for them to depart anytime they wished.
We too, in like sense, have exercised our wills, first off in choosing God instead of the world. For us to put our faith in God for our salvation instead of ourselves or any other thing, it took an act of the will. This strengthened us as we were being born again by God’s will. Each time we walk in the Spirit, we are being prepared for eternity. Once we take our place in the Kingdom to come, the LORD will give us a place to rule. This will be in accordance with our actions here on earth. He will NOT place us in a position in His kingdom where it is even possible to fall away. As we exercise our wills here on earth, we are earning the privilege to rule in the Kingdom Come. Otherwise, how would we be able to handle that authority?
So, maybe you’ve guessed, the first angle is from those who would see things from the predestination perspective, the second angle is from a free will perspective.
Thanks for the good conversation we had, Marty.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman