Question: Most of your arguments against Calvinism hang on the false idea that man must have a free will in order to love God, to receive His love, and to love others. Man can choose to receive or reject Christ, and thus decide his own eternal destiny. If that is true, then we have a serious problem: Will man lose his free will in heaven? If not, what would prevent someone from deciding to rebel in heaven? After all, Satan was the most beautiful, powerful, intelligent being ever created. All he knew was the presence of God—yet he rebelled!
Answer: You pose an important question. However, Satan was never redeemed with the blood of Christ, so he had no basis for loving God or for gratitude to Christ for dying in his place.
In contrast, the love of God and the sacrifice of Christ will ever be before the redeemed. Our Savior will throughout eternity bear the marks of Calvary, reminding us of the infinite price He paid in love for our redemption. The very throne in heaven is forever “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rv. 22:1). Thus we could never lose our love and gratitude for Him founded upon His loving payment for our sins.
Nor was Satan ever born again and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He is a special case, with no possible comparison to the redeemed. Christ is in us (“Christ in you, the hope of glory” – Col:1:27) and we are in Him (“created in Christ Jesus unto good works” – Eph:2:10). The Christian is “in Christ…a new creature: old things are passed away...all things are become new. And all things are of God” (2 Cor:5:17,18). Sometimes we don’t live like new creatures in Christ or as if Christ were in us and we in Him—but everything here on earth that prevents us from fully realizing the perfection into which we have been created anew in Christ will no longer be present in heaven.
There won’t be any temptation to sin, no reason to rebel against our loving God and Savior; it wouldn’t make sense. Furthermore, Satan himself is the great tempter of men—and he will have no access to heaven or to our thoughts.
You may respond, “But no one tempted Satan! The Bible never says we must be tempted, but that ‘every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed’ (Jas 1:14). What could prevent our own lust from enticing us in heaven?”
Scripture explains that the flesh lusts against the Spirit “so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Gal:5:17). This is what Paul meant when he said, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do…[because of] the law of sin which is in my members [body]” (Rom:7:19-23).
Describing this inner conflict as the reason why Christians sometime sin, Paul expresses the frustration of one who loves his Lord and wants only to please Him, but fails in the flesh: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin” (Rom:7:24,25).
In heaven, we will no longer be in these bodies of sinful flesh that are in conflict with the indwelling Holy Spirit. We will be in resurrection bodies like Christ’s. For the new creatures in Christ, there will be no more temptation to sin. Then, at last, we will experience the fullness of what John wrote: “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin…he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1 Jn:3:9).