I came across this bombshell of a quote while I was researching for this week’s sermon about the “Unforgiving Servant.”
In heaven, there are only forgiven sinners.
“There are no good guys, no upright, successful types who, by dint of their own integrity, have been accepted into the great country club in the sky. There are only failures, only those who have accepted their deaths in their sins and who have been raised up by the King who himself died they might live.
But in hell, too, there are only forgiven sinners.
“Jesus on the cross does not sort out certain exceptionally recalcitrant parties and cut them off from the pardon of his death. He forgives the badness of even the worst of us, willy-nilly; and never takes back that forgiveness, not even at the bottom of the bottomless pit.
The sole difference, therefore, between hell and heaven is that in heaven forgiveness is accepted and passed along, while in hell it is rejected and blocked.
“In heaven, the death of the King is welcomed and becomes the doorway to new life in the resurrection. In hell, the old life of the bookkeeping world is insisted on and becomes, forever, the pointless torture it always was.”
Robert Farrar Capon “Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus“