The purpose in writing this article, with its somewhat provocative title, is to do what I believe was missing in the Christian witness, leading up to my conversion by Christ. In other words, nobody (to my recollection) warned me of the consequences of my sins, as a personal matter of fact. This may have been done in a vague, general manner, but what I needed most was the truth — stated clearly.
Eternal punishment in fiery hell (Mt 5:22; 18:9; 25:46; Jude 1:7), where the conscious torment of sinners, body and soul, is a reality (Mk 9:46, 48; Lk 16:23), results from the consequences of sin (Rom 6:23) and just judgment by our righteous God (Jesus Christ). Hell was created to be a lake of fire (Rev 20:10, 14–15), by God, for the housing of demons in rebellion against Him (Mt 25:41). When Adam and Eve joined Satan’s rebellion (Gen 3), hell became man’s eternal home (Eccl 12:5).
Adam’s original sin is passed along to his posterity (Rom 5:12–21). All humanity is in Adam’s position of sin (Rom 3:23). Just as Adam was judged, body and soul, so all who are conceived in his position are guilty (Ps 51:5). We are all guilty by association, and those who survive the womb, add to that guilt, by way of the practice of sinning.
Our offense against the infinite majesty of God deserves an infinite punishment. We are an affront to a holy God, who is perfect in all His attributes. He is good (Lk 18:19), and His Word is true (Ps 119:160; Jn 17:17). This means the Bible’s declaration of man’s crimes against the Law of God, and the righteous judgment by God (2 Cor 5:10; Rev 20:10), is the reality for humanity, created by God (Ps 68:21).
Eternal hell, created by God, now entertaining wicked sinners, also created by God, reveals the attributes of God we would not have known, were hell, devils, and wicked men not made by Him (Prv 16:4; Is 45:7). These revelations are for the glory of God, and the creature cannot say to the Creator, “Why did you make me this way (Rom 9:20)?”
The vessels of wrath, prepared for eternal destruction, are the wicked, made by God, for this very purpose (Prv 16:4; Rom 9:22). These are the reprobate, whose names never appear in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev 13:8; 17:8; 21:27). The mindset of the reprobate remains in vain futility (Eph 4:17). The heart of the wicked reprobate is forever inclined toward evil (Gen 6:5). He has no ability to obey God (Rom 8:7), nor does He wish to obey God (Jn 3:19; Rom 3:10–12), being an enemy and hater of God (Rom 1:30; 5:10).
Evil people love darkness because they believe it shrouds their evil deeds (Jn 3:19). In other words, what they are (evil) is what they do (evil). From a bad tree comes bad fruit (Mt 7:15–20). With a sin nature (Eph 2:3), the unrepentant sinner only does one thing…he sins. Sin is his nature and practice, until he receives the wages of all his sinful thoughts, words, and deeds. His wages earned is death (Rom 6:23). Death of the body of sin is complementary to the dead soul he has lived with from conception (Ps 51:5; Eph 2:1). Those dead to God will be raised from the dead for judgment, body and soul, on the last day (Jn 5:25–29).
Our early conclusion, therefore, is that one must only live, in order to prepare for an eternity in hell. The way to eternal anguish is wide, and many travel that way (Mt 7:13). It is all they know. The course is set and the reprobate sinner fulfills his or her course to the end. With an appointment for death, judgment and sentencing, those who live already condemned (Jn 3:18), reap what they have sown (Gal 6:8).
It is common for sinful men to judge God for being unfair or unjust in this cosmic drama, authored by God (Ezek 33:20). It is impossible for a good and just God to be unjust, or to forfeit His goodness by doing right. In the revelation of God’s story, in creation and fall, there is more, however. The story has a hero, redemption, and an eternal salvation. This, too, is for the purpose of revealing God and His glory.
The Redeemer Hero is Jesus Christ, the eternally begotten Son of God (Jn 3:16), who came into the world, took on flesh (Jn 1:14), in order to save His people, a remnant, from their sins (Mt 1:21; Rom 11:5). How would we know God is a redeeming Savior, unless His elect people were born into the same Adam as the wicked reprobate?
Just as there is no preparation for hell, by unrepentant sinners, there is no preparation by the elect to heaven. Salvation is entirely a work of God (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1), from beginning to end. It is a deceptive work of the devil, to convince men that they participate in God’s salvation. With the lie of Satan, men believe they can do a work, even make their own decision, in order to be saved.
Lucifer, posing as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:4), blinds the mind of sinners, so they get the Gospel of Jesus Christ in error (2 Cor 4:4). The result is a false belief, in a false gospel, resulting in a false salvation, with a false assurance. This is detected by the born again (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Cor 2:15–16; 1 Pet 1:3), who have been given spiritual discernment, by the Spirit and Word of truth (Jn 16:13; 2 Tim 2:15).
God has ordained that His chosen people (Eph 1:4–5), redeemed by Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross (Jn 10:11, 15; Eph 5:25; 1 Pet 2:24), would also receive the life-giving Spirit of Christ (Jn 1:12–13; Rom 5:5; 1 Cor 15:45), by hearing the Word of Christ (Rom 10:14–17). Here is the practical outworking of election and reprobation…regeneration leading to genuine faith…or continued unbelief.
In conclusion, we see that all humanity serves God, as objects of either His mercy or His wrath, by His design. As an actor in a play must perform his role, as protagonist or antagonist, so the divine Author/Creator/Producer has written this drama (Heb 12:2).
People do not prepare for eternal hell, for they are appointed to it (Acts 13:48), by consequence of God’s eternal good pleasure. By His eternal decree, all things were created by Him and for Him (Rom 11:36; Col 1:16). Everything, good and evil, is by God’s will in creating it. In the predetermined plan of God (Acts 2:23; 1 Cor 2:7), all things have purpose, and that purpose is to bring glory to God, either by a display of His perfect justice or mercy.
God has told us that vengeance is His, alone (Rom 12:19), and He has also revealed that He will have mercy on whom He wills (Rom 9:15). The just Judge of the universe has the sovereign right to sit in the heavens and do as He pleases (Ps 115:3; 135:6). There are only two responses to this truth; and to your respective response, you were appointed (Acts 13:48; Rom 9). May you rejoice in God; praise Him for His glorious works…or simply press on with your day, in denial of who He is and what He has done.
Spokane Valley, Washington
September 25, 2022