I had a thought.
A while ago I suggested that when we get to the pearly gates it is we that choose whether or not we will enter heaven. Because if we are all forgiven maybe we just have to adopt God’s will as our own to enter.
Then I thought, how can that be Biblical if Jesus says he will “…separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats…” the sheep entering eternal life and goats being eternally punished. (Matthew 25:32)
It seems at first glance that Jesus does the separating and we have no part in the choosing. However, how does a shepherd separate his sheep from the goats? Well, Jesus also says, “…and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” (John 10:4)
So maybe after death Jesus separates us, not by force, but by simply calling out to us. And the ones that recognize their shepherd choose to leave the goats and go to him- for they are his sheep. And in that way, perhaps we do choose whether or not we spend eternity with our shepherd. If for our whole lives we’ve chosen to follow Jesus (or even just to follow that benevolent voice inside of us before we know the voice’s name) perhaps then we will also recognize and follow it at its final call.