Are there gun people in Heaven? You know – people who are really, really into guns? A while back, I asked a similar question – Are there guns in Heaven? And then there’s, Are there assault weapons in Heaven? Asking if there are gun people in Heaven seems like a logical next question.
First off, by “gun people” I mean people who are really, really in favor of people having guns. Someone like Meghan McCain, who recently said, “I’m not living without guns. It’s just that simple.”
After that, the question becomes just how important the guns really are. There’s something else I wrote a couple years ago – What’s most important to you? Did you notice, these are all questions? Sometimes I like to do that – ask questions. If nothing else, I hope to get people to think about things that maybe you’ve never considered before.
And so it is with Christians and guns. I’ll never understand the fascination that Christians have with certain things in the world. One of them is guns. Even more so for assault weapons. And yet – it’s very common. That leads to a more limited question. One that’s important for my intended audience. Are there Christian gun people in Heaven? And since Meghan McCain claims to be Christian, she’s the impetus for what I’m writing today.
How important are guns to people?
In “What’s most important to you?”, I had a quote from C. S. Lewis.
If we insist on keeping Hell (or even Earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.” from “The Great Divorce” by C. S. Lewis
Let’s take one part of that phrase and examine it.
if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell (or earth)
That’s a simple, logical, if-then statement. While we can change the words around and try to make sense of the negative, opposite and something called the contrapositive variations of it – there’s only one that’s always true. It’s the contrapositive. That’s:
if we retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell (or earth) then we shall not be able to accept Heaven
Did you catch that? If we want to keep even the tiniest thing from Hell (or earth), then we cannot accept Heaven. Sure, we can claim to have accepted Heaven – accept Jesus and His path to Heaven. But what C. S. Lewis is saying is this – If we hang on to anything, no matter how small, that’s from Hell (or earth) – then our claim to have accepted Heaven isn’t true. It can’t be true.
Really? Is that just something C. S. Lewis made up? Sorry, but no, it’s not. It’s something Jesus said. Although, what Jesus said was actually even stronger. Before we read Jesus’ words though, I want to point something out. At the time, large crowds were following Jesus. That’s like large flashing lights are going off. Warnings.
It’s like, whenever large crowds are following Him, Jesus says something really hard. Something to let them know what they’re really getting into. Remember when He started talking to them about eating His flesh and drinking His blood? And then all but the original twelve left Him?
With that in mind, here’s what Jesus said about taking things with us. More correctly, about not taking anything with us.
The Cost of Being a Disciple
Lk 14:25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. 27 And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
Lk 14:28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29 For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
Lk 14:31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
Lk 14:34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35 It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
In reality, “give up” doesn’t seem to really get across the point Jesus is making. For one thing, the rich young man was told to sell everything he had, and give the proceeds to the poor. But not everyone Jesus came across was told to do this. The rich young man had a particular problem with his “things”. And so do many of us today. Keep in mind though, Jesus didn’t tell His disciples to sell everything. He told them to leave things.
So, for the rich young ruler, it was “sell“, in English.
4453 πωλέω [poleo /po·leh·o/] v. Probably ultimately from pelomai (to be busy, to trade); GK 4797; 22 occurrences; AV translates as “sell” 21 times, and “be sold” once. 1 to barter, to sell. 2 sellers. 1)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
For at least some of the disciples that we read about, like Philip, it was “follow me“, in English.
190 ἀκολουθέω [akoloutheo /ak·ol·oo·theh·o/] v. From 1 (as a particle of union) and keleuthos (a road); TDNT 1:210; TDNTA 33; GK 199; 92 occurrences; AV translates as “follow” 91 times, and “reach” once. 1 to follow one who precedes, join him as his attendant, accompany him. 2 to join one as a disciple, become or be his disciple. 2A side with his party. 2)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
There was no command to sell everything first. Just to leave everything and follow Jesus at once. Remember, after Jesus was crucified, we know that many of the disciples went back to things they’d left behind. It’s not always sell everything.
So what’s the deal with “give up everything“? Well, everything was pretty much everything. Nothing hidden in there, other than the fact that “every thing” could also be interpreted as “every one”.
But what about give up? Turns out, in the original Greek, it’s only one word:
657 ἀποτάσσω [apotassomai /ap·ot·as·som·ahee/] v. Middle voice from 575 and 5021; TDNT 8:33; GK 698; Six occurrences; AV translates as “bid farewell” twice, “take leave” twice, “send away” once, and “forsake” once. 1 to set apart, separate. 1A to separate one’s self, withdraw one’s self from anyone. 1A1 to take leave of, bid farewell to. 1B to renounce, forsake. 3)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
That’s very different from sell. It’s actually very much in line with the explanation of why Jesus asked the rich young man to sell everything. It’s got to do with our willingness – or lack thereof – to part from everything. We can be sure of something here. If there’s something that gets in the way of us having Jesus as our #1 desire, He’s going to ask us to part with it. Sell it. Leave it behind. Destroy it. It all depends what’s appropriate for that “thing”.
What we need to remember is Jesus answer to the question about the greatest commandment(s).
The Greatest Commandment
22:34-40 pp — Mk 12:28-31
Mt 22:34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Mt 22:37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
If we do our best with those two commandments, then guns shouldn’t get in the way of accomplishing either. Guns won’t be above God. And guns won’t get in the way of loving our neighbors. The problem is, guns frequently get in the way of both. I know, not because of the gun, but because of the person.
But then, it’s not the gun who goes to Heaven or to Hell, is it? It’s the person holding the gun. Because of the things we do to get one, and the things we do once we have one. I believe it’s called temptation? And they become false gods? I suspect as well, the more we protest what I been writing – the more likely that they are indeed just what I’m trying to warn about.
And that’s why it’s important to ask, How important are guns to people?
Christians and guns – Are guns from Hell?
We should probably answer that question. Are guns really from Hell? Realize, of course, if they aren’t from Hell and the devil, then they are from God. It must be one or the other. In the battle between good and evil, there are no other choices.
James says some things that will help us with that.
Trials and Temptations
Jas 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
Jas 1:9 The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. 10 But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will fade away even while he goes about his business.
Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
Jas 1:13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
Jas 1:16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
Based on that, let’s ask some questions.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds
If you’re a Christian and have one or more guns – when you bought the gun, did you consider that it might be a temptation from the devil, allowed by God as a trial?
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete
Regardless, do you believe that trials and temptations are still needed in your life? Do you believe that things have happened and will continue to happen in your life that will require perseverance on your part? In fact, so much perseverance that, by your self, you’ll fail? So much that you’ll need the power given to us by the Holy Spirit?
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God
Do you also realize that we will always be lacking in various kinds of wisdom? That when it comes to things we think are OK – like guns – that we still need to ask God for wisdom concerning our likes and preferences, as compared to His desires for us?
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial
This one can be hard to accept. But the reality is that if we lead a life with no trials, we are missing something. Maybe the devil doesn’t think we’re enough of a threat to be worth while tempting. Maybe we’ve never really asked God into our lives? Maybe God is trying to “speak” to us, but we’re ignoring Him. No matter the cause, that lack of perseverance through trials is also a lack of blessings. Do you believe that?
each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed
Now we’re getting intense. Is having that gun really something from God, or is it something we desire? Something we desire that’s totally apart from God?
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers
Way back in Genesis, God said something about man, just before the flood – every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. In light of that, I think it’s worth our time to ask ourselves – are we being deceived? Even about that gun. Actually, let me change that – we should ask God if we’re deceiving ourselves, as David did. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
One final series of questions. Does that gun fall under the description James gives us? Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights. Is that gun a good and perfect gift from above? Or, as we looked at earlier, is that gun a temptation from the devil?
If you really got through all that, and still think it’s good and perfect for Christian to have guns, even assault rifles, let me give you the passage that came after David asking God to search him.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Still not convinced? Let’s look at this.
The Parable of the Weeds
Mt 13:24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
Mt 13:27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
Mt 13:28 “ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
Mt 13:29 “ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”
Conclusion – Are there Christian gun people in Heaven?
In case you haven’t figured it out already – here’s the question for Christians with guns.
Is your gun good seed? Or is it a weed?
Maybe you disagree, but I believe the gun is a weed.
That leads to the next question.
Are you hanging on to that weed so strongly that you’re going to be pulled up with it? If you are, you won’t be the wheat in the parable – brought into the barn. Instead, you’ll be so attached to the wheat that you’ll be burned up with it.
Translation, rather than being a Christian in Heaven without your gun – you’ll be a “thought I was a Christian” in Hell. Probably still without your gun. But you’ll still have heard something you didn’t want to hear: I never knew you. As in
Mt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
Finally – tell me. Christian – is your gun really worth it?
Image by Christian Dorn from Pixabay
References [ + ]
|1, 2, 3.||↑||Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.|
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