Seperation From God: Will Punishment For The Wicked Be Everlasting?

By Clovis Miller

We, as Christian believers, like to think about going to heaven; seeing the Lord Jesus; meeting family members who went on before us, and living among the great saints who have came forth down through the ages. However, we really don't like to think much about the other side of the coin. The Bible clearly tells us the the vast majority of people living; or who have ever lived upon the earth, will end up being everlasting seperated from God. According to Jesus Himself, many (as in a great multitude) will follow the wide road which leads to destruction, but there will be few (relative to the size of the first group), who will follow the narrow road which leads to everlasting life {Matt. 7:13-14} This was true in the days of Noah, when the flood destroyed all, but a few {Gen. 6:5-8} ; and likewise, will be true in the last days {Matt. 24:37-39}. There are about seven billon souls on earth today. Among these, are approximately two billon professing Christians. Even among those are a sizable portion of nominal (in name only) Christians. If the entire two billon were truly Christians by the Biblical standard; they would still be greatly out numbered by the non-believers of the world, both past and present.

Some people believe that God is just too merciful to allow anyone, no matter how wicked they were, to be punished forever. They feel that His righteous anger will eventually be vented or appeased, and that He, in His goodness, will simply cause the wicked to cease to exist. He would be cruel to do anything otherwise, because as we know, God is love. In Matt. 25:46 however, we find that the wicked will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life. The same Greek word is used in this text, for both "everlasting" and "eternal" and is pronounced, "ahee-o'-nee-os", which means, "without end, never to cease". The reason why the wicked must be punished, without end, has nothing to do with God being cruel to them.

Scripture plainly teaches us, that the only remedy for sin is the shed blood of Jesus Christ. It doesn't matter if we have only one sin or if they number in the tens of thousands. Unless the blood of Jesus is applied to each and every one, they will remain ever present, and cannot be otherwise removed. Likewise, unforgiven sin cannot be diminished by the passage of time or eternity, so that it's consequences are in anywise mitigated.

Punishment cannot cease because the guilty party has rejected, or ignored, the only thing which can remove the offense. If one were punished for ten thousand times ten thousand years, as we count time; at the end of that period, the sin would be just as apparent as it was at the first moment in which it was committed. Though we, as unrepentant individuals, may forget about the many sins which we have committed; be assured that Almighty God has not forgetten a single one of them. It is well stated in Scripture that, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." {Heb. 10:31}. Consider this truth: In the end, the choices we made during our lifetime, will confirm the truth which God has always known about us. God is not waiting to see how things will turn out. He already knows, and always has known, what the state of our heart will be at the end of each of our lives.

No amount of punishment can ever erase a single sin, nor placate the righteous indignation demanded by a Holy God against those who have not only rebelled against Him; but have rejected His gracious offer of forgivness. To avoid such an end, it is required that we accept of His plan of redemption {Rom. 10:9-10}. It is also stated in Scripture, that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord to the Glory of God {Ro. 14:11 ; Ph. 2:10-11}. So, we understand that the choice is not: will we do it; but rather, when will we do it. We will either do it in this life, where we can receive the benefits of His redemptive plan; or we will do it on Judgment Day; where, after our confession is uttered, we will be rejected by God {Matt. 25:41}. The Lord has given each of us free will, and will totally respect the choice we make in this matter, and ultimately give us the appropriate entitlements that belongs to that choice.

In death, the unforgiven sins become chained, or fused to the departed. There is no escaping their final state, regardless of how remorseful they may be, or how loud they may cry out to God with their voices. There will be no one to hear their distress, and no one to intercede on their behalf. God Himself, in showing mercy to the redeemed, will cause even them, to forever forget the names of the unrepentant {Ps. 34:16}. It may well be, that God Himself will forget them, just as He forgets the sins of the repentant, which were cleansed by the blood of Jesus.

The wicked will soar into the blackness of eternity, with only themselves aware of their condition. Forever lonely and comfortless, they will never again know the goodness, or mercy, of God. No doubt, those who find themselves in this position, will be forever sentenced to review the reason they are there. Every sin, brought to light when they stood before the judgment seat of God, will be replayed. When that is finished, it will be revisited, cycling over and over, again and again, without any possibility of a break or rest. Consumed by their own misery, there will be no consolation found, even if it were possible to see another undergoing greater suffering than that which is assigned to them. All of these things, along with the sense of being literally burned with fire without relief; or being eaten by worms which continuously devour the flesh, yet are unable to fully consume their host, as we are told in Mark 9:46; is the real Hell of being cut off from God. It's easy to understand why a loving God is not willing that anyone should end up in such a condition. This condition was originally created as punishment for Satan and his angels; but it will also become the abode for those humans who follow his rebellious ways.{Matt. 25:41}

That's the horror that awaits the unredeemed. God however, is quite open to the forgiveness of sin {John 3:16-17}. He is more about seeing the disobedient change the direction of their lives, so that He can allow us to escape the consequences of our wrong doing, which would otherwise lead to our being forever cut off from His presence. We are a part of His creation, and He takes no comfort in seeing even the wicked undergo perpetual destruction {Ezekiel 18:23}; especially when He has so generously provided a way to escape such a fate. That's the good news. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance {II Pet. 3:9}.

Repentance is not feeling, or saying, that we are sorry, when we commit sin. The term for that is remorse. Repentance occurs when that remorse becomes strong enough to causes us to change our minds, about the sin which we have committed, and to cease from any futher indulgence in it. For how shall we, who have been delivered by the blood of Jesus, from death brought on by our sin, continue to practice the very thing which caused Him to be put to death in the first place? He did not die, to give us a license to practice the very thing which required Him to die; but to open our eyes to the truth: our sin is so destructive, that it took the very life of the Son of God to gain forgiveness for us. Romans 8:3 states, that the Son of God came in the likeness of sinful flesh, and condemned sin in the flesh. It goes on to say that we are the sons of God if we are led by His Spirit, and that we should follow the example of Jesus by condemning sin in our own flesh {Rom. 8:13-14}. That is to say: When we are tempted to sin against God, we should call the focal point of that temptation, exactly what it is: SIN, and deny it any place our heart. As I have stated in another article, God has called us to an attitude of holiness; which can best be defined as, loving and doing what is good and right, and hateing and shunning what is evil and wrong.

The plan of salvation is very basic, so no one needs to misunderstand what is required. First and foremost, we must come to the realization that, in God's eyes, we are in a fallen state, from which we cannot redeem ourselves. No amount of good works, regardless of their magnitude, can set us free from the charges of the sins we have committed. This state is universal. It crosses all boundries including that of natinonality, race, or religion. men, women, young people, old people, rich or poor: no one is exempt from this condition. Romans 3:23, tells us that, "...all have sinned and come short of the glory of God". This condition exist: partly because we are all descendants of the original human sinners: Adam and Eve {Gen. 2:16-17 ; Gen. 3:6}; and partly, because we, of our own free will, choose to follow their example.

Second, God requires us to take responsibility for the sins we have committed. We must not only see that we are in a fallen state, but also admit that we are a sinner, without hope. Pride is the greatest hurdle which most people face in being reconciled to God. If this point is crossed we must then be willing to embrace a repentant attitude, as described above. When we reach that point, then we are in a position to receive the mercy which God has provided for us. It is now required that we accept God's plan of salvation, or redemption by accepting that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; that He came down from Heaven; lived a sinless life and became an acceptable substitute, to die for the sins we have committed. God took the sins of each one of us and charged them to the account of Jesus. In doing so, Jesus, in His death, was able to bear our sins away from the presence of God. To gain the benefit of this, we must acknowledge, that we believe that Jesus not only died for and with our sins, but that God raised Him from the dead afterwards. The resurrection of Jesus is the crowning proof that God's plan of redemption has been established. By His resurrection, we can rest assured that the one who took our sins and their penalty, has also justified us in the eyes of God. It's God's guarantee that if we put our trust in this, our sins are forgiven.

This is the essence of God's plan of salvation: we are lost because of our sins; but He so loves us that He took our sins and charged them to His Son, that He might be able to show mercy to us, and look upon us as fully justified people. For more on the sacrifice which Jesus made for us, Click Here

For additional study on: Our Righteousnesses Are As Filthy Rags Click Here


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