October 12, 2021
“Those who do not know God … and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus (will) pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9)
It could not be worse. God is gracious in His offering of forgiveness through Jesus Christ to all who believe. Those who come to know God and obey Him will experience the best in this life and the life to come.
But what of all those who ignore God? Who will not trust Him? Who never follow and obey the one true God? The Bible leaves no ambiguity about this, and its clarity should sober us.
The word “destruction” means ruin, devastation, death. Unbelievers will exist eternally but suffer eternally. Think of what it means to suffer relational, financial, emotional, physical destruction in the worst possible way. Then think of that happening every hour for all eternity.
AWAY FROM THE PRESENCE OF GOD
Everything that is beautiful, good, pure, righteous, wonderful, blessed in this life is because of the Creator and His omnipresence in this world. Even those who ignore God are blessed with His general grace, which encompasses this earth.
Now imagine being entirely and eternally separated from God. No general grace. No beauty, goodness, light, life. An environment without an ounce of love. Full of hatred, deceit, selfishness, anger. It is the worst possible judgment. No love of God, or grace from God, or light from God because you are cut off from His presence.
AWAY FROM THE GLORY OF HIS POWER
The apostle Paul said that in God we “live, and move, and have our being.” We breathe in and out because of God’s power. Think of the power in a universe held together by His might. Remember that your entire being is sustained by Him. All of creation is a glorious expression of God’s power. Every sunrise and sunset. Every glorious part of His creation have been yours to enjoy, and they were given so that you might see and acknowledge the powerful One who made it all.
But those who ignore His power in this life will be completely excluded from the blessings of His power in the next.
We could try to write about the sinking of the Titanic or the horror of 9/11. But no description could come close to being there. To the actual experience.
Hell is real. It is the actual, literal experience of those who resist God in this life. It is the due penalty, the just result of looking at the One who created you and worshiping and serving the creature rather than the Creator. And it is as certain as the rising of the sun that this judgment is awaiting everyone who ignores God.
Father, help me see what’s coming for those without You. Give me a passion to tell them the good news—that they can be spared from this eternal destruction through faith in Jesus Christ. And thank You, Father, for providing this for me and opening my eyes by Your grace.
March 29, 2023
As a pastor for the last 55 years, I have had the joy of being encouraged and blessed and prayed for by so many people. It is what carries you in your task of shepherding people. As I look back over five decades of ministry, their love has dramatically enriched my life.
But also, a pastor leads. And when anyone leads, there are almost always some who disagree.
March 28, 2023
March 27, 2023