Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. Philippians 3:19 (EHV).
There’s an ugly truth that we need to talk about: not everyone will end up in heaven. It’s true. It’s not Dave Terry saying it: it’s the Bible. Jesus talked about hell, damnation, and eternal punishment over sixty times in the Gospels. Later on, in verses like verse 19, Paul expands on it.
Yet Jesus talked so much more about heaven, the kingdom of heaven, and the love of. Indeed, if you read Christ’s words about hell in their context, you see they were said as teachable points; as lessons that contrasted the mercy of God. It’s not a “do this or else” proposition: it’s “God loves you so much more so why choose any other way?”
Yet now that we’ve gotten past the “Jeopardy” part of our reading (where we can pass around trivia), we can’t gloss over an important fact: Jesus means what He says. He means that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that nobody goes to the Father except through believing in Him. He didn’t say things just for effect or to hear Himself talk: He meant them.
That means He meant the part about eternal punishment for rejecting Him. It’s uncomfortable for us to acknowledge, but it’s true. I’m in a men’s Bible study by David Platt about how something has to change. We have to find ways to get the Gospel out to the world because the world desperately needs it. Because if we don’t, then many, many billions of people may be damned to hell. He who died to live to prove He is enough for us also wants those unknowing billions to live with Him, too. They matter.
“But but but,” you may think, “God wouldn’t condemn someone who doesn’t know Him, would He?” Yes, He may very well. A friend of mine (who is a pastor) told me that he wouldn’t be surprised if God didn’t find a way to rescue even those who were never introduced to Christ in this life. That’s most of humanity. I believe that now, too; at least I’m hopeful it’s true. Yet if it isn’t, if He insists on what He said about being the only path to a heavenly eternity, then we’re wasting time debating this point of trivia as well.
If Jesus means it – and we have every reason to believe He does – then we had better get crackin soon. There’s no time to waste in sharing that Jesus loves us. That He forgave everything. That anything except Him isn’t of Him. There’s no time to lose in sharing the truth that eternity doesn’t have to be hell. Because Jesus means it.
For further reading: Ephesians 2:19, Colossians 3:1, Hebrews 12:22, Philippians 3:20.
Lord Jesus, You mean Your words. They are truth. Let me share You with someone today.