FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS
volume 16, number 35, August 31, 2017
“And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” -Revelation 20:15
The Final State of the Unbeliever, The Lake of Fire
My dear friend, if you die without being a Christian, without being born again through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, if you never gain the life of God in your soul, then upon your death your soul will immediately go to hell, a place of conscious, eternal torment, where the fire is never quenched and the worm never dies. As bad as hell is, however, you would give everything you have, to stay there in hell for a million years.
Why? Because those now in hell know what you will know when you transition to hell. They fear more than anything “that day.” And what is “that day”? It is the great white throne judgment, because there, on the day of Christ’s return, all the dead, great and small will stand before God and give account of the deeds they have done, according to the things written in the book. Know this too, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a two-edged sword. Paul says that because Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead, He is the first fruits of those who are asleep (1 Corinthians 15:20). Paul wonderfully and vividly lays out the case for glorified bodies for the saints. At the last trumpet, the dead will be raised imperishable. However, the reuniting of body and soul on the new earth for believers is also true of unbelievers at the great white throne judgment. Daniel says, “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life; but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt,” (Daniel 12:2). Jesus tells us not to fear man who can kill the body. Rather we are to fear God who can destroy both the body and soul in hell (Matthew 10:28). And the parable of the rich man in hell makes clear that he possessed a body. He was asking that Lazarus could put a drop of water on his tongue to quench his thirst (Luke 16:24). It is one thing to suffer in one’s soul in hell, and it is quite another to suffer in body and soul.
So, if you are a hell bound sinner, why should you fear the great white throne judgment? Because you, and every other unbeliever, will stand, body and soul, before King Jesus to witness the charges against you and them. As you stand, by yourself, before the thrice Holy God, the jealous and avenging God, who will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, your thoughts will be judged (Romans 2:16). Jesus will summon every thought you ever had—your lusts, anger, bitterness, bigotry, jealousy, envy—and place them alongside His holy law. You will be speechless (Romans 3:19). You will have no defense. You are doomed and you know it. Then your words will be summoned, because Jesus said that every careless word will be judged (Matthew 12:36). All those harsh, foul, sensual, vile, blasphemous, lying, manipulating, degrading words you spoke throughout your life will be placed alongside the purity of the One with whom we all will have to do. No defense here, either. Finally, your every action will be judged (2 Corinthians 5:10, Revelation 20:12, Matthew 16:27). All of the millions of times you disobeyed God, in what we might call small or large ways, will be evaluated in light of His perfect law. Every jealous, selfish, licentious, sensual, idolatrous act you ever did, will be judged by the One whose eyes are a flaming fire, whose feet are like bronze made to glow in a furnace. Not only your sins of commission, but perhaps even more dreadfully, your sins of omission will be judged. You will remember the times you passed by a needy man on the street and did nothing to help him. You will remember the multitudinous times you neglected to care for your spouse, children, parents, or close friends. You will remember the times you hated instead of loved your enemy. You will also be unable to make a defense before God for your actions.
With all of this evidence now displayed before you and the Holy One, you will hear those words you knew were coming but have long dreaded, the most awful words which could ever be uttered, “Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity, into the everlasting fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels,” (Matthew 25:41). And as you are being led from the great white throne of God to be thrown in the lake of fire, you will know for certain, without the slightest equivocation, that you are receiving the exact judgment you deserve.
The lake of fire is the second death. Many have noted that those who are born once, will die twice; and those who are born twice will die once. And what will you do in the lake of fire? Presumably the same thing you have been doing in hell from the moment you arrived there, but now, due to the union of body and soul, the pain, horror, and awareness will be infinitely magnified. As in hell, there will be weeping or wailing along with the gnashing of teeth. I have heard the anguish and grief of unmitigated wailing coming from one who has suddenly lost a child or a spouse. Perhaps you have also. It is terrible. The wailing in the lake of fire will be infinitely worse. Every sense will be heightened there. Though you are alone in darkness, you nonetheless will hear the hopeless wailing of the damned. With your eyes which on earth looked at pornography or read blasphemous books denying the Christ whom you have always hated, you will look on untold, unimaginable horror. With your ears which listened to wicked jokes and took in perverse, godless, licentious ideas, you will now hear the cries of the condemned. They beg for mercy but there is none forthcoming. With your mouth, which uttered blasphemous, vile, crude, demeaning speech, you will curse God and His servants with loud voices of contempt, hatred, and sorrow. With your hands, which were engaged in all manner of creative sinning, building kingdoms for yourself which you used to oppress other people, they will now reach up to heaven, begging for a touch from the God whom you rejected, but there is no reciprocation from the Holy One. With your feet, which were swift to run to shed innocent blood and to take you to places of sensual delight and debauchery, your feet will then seek to run for refuge but they will be like feet stuck in cement. There is no movement from judgment. There is no hope.
Do you think this is over the top? My friend, I am so completely limited in my ability to communicate to you the horrors of hell and the lake of fire. Is is infinitely worse than I am able to portray to you.
But there is hope. There is always hope in Jesus. He can save you. He can deliver you from the wrath which is surely coming. He took hell and the lake of fire in His own fleshly body through death that He might bring you back to God. Turn, my friend, from your sin lest you burn in the lake of fire forever. Jesus offers a way out of hell and the lake of fire. He is the only remedy. Flee to Him today. Say to Him, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Seek Him until you find Him, until He gives you His peace.