Friday, October 14, 2011

Hell & Heaven

“They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.” 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10

Do you have those verses you love but forget you love them until you read them again, or is that just me? This particular one, when brought up, I love to read then I’ll sit there and go, “how did I forget how much I love this text?!?” It, this verse, shows us a few many things.

First, the punishment of unbelievers, “They,” means, “… who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (2 Thess 1:8)” Inside this punishment is the constant continual action of eternal destruction. Which means it goes on for eternity (true story). This is not unclear; this is not guesswork on the meaning of a word. ‘Eternal’ means eternal and ‘destruction’ means Frick-this-is-hell. In modern vernacular, it’ll freaking suck! So arguing the semantics of the ‘end of hell’ is about as illogical as wondering if McDonalds is healthy for every meal.

Second, the part I love to read with vigor, “… When he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who believed…” ‘Glorified… marveled at,’ he’s not saving us because we are worthy of redemption; he’s not saving us because he is so head-over-heels in love with his creation; he is saving us because he loves himself and loves us enough to give us what is vastly more gorgeous than all things, he loves us enough to give us himself!

Let’s not mix any meanings here, there will be and is Hell, it’ll be eternal; it’ll be awful. But the juxtaposition is just as unimaginable, to glory in God and to marvel at Him, AKA Heaven. I say this all not to tout the I-want-to-scare-you-into-belief doctrine, but to simply go, we must deal with Scripture and when verses like this pop up we must understand them in relation to the whole Scriptural narrative. Hell (God’s vengeance on sin) is real, yet Heaven (Glorying in and marveling at God) is just as real.

“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thess. 1:11-2

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