May 5, 2024

The Destiny of the Damned

Passage: Matthew 25:31-46

Today I’ll be talking about a very unpleasant topic. The Bible contains some topics that are rather distasteful yet true. If you or I were writing the Bible, we probably would not include this topic. We would probably rather not talk about this topic. Most people try to avoid this topic.

But this topic is biblical. We find this topic from the beginning to the end of the Bible. The prophets talked about it in the OT, and Jesus and the apostles talk about it in the NT. At the end of the book of Revelation, we find this topic. It may not be a pleasant topic, but it is thoroughly biblical.

The topic, of course, is the eternal punishment of the wicked; my subject is the destiny of the damned. The Bible teaches that the unsaved will experience the just punishment for their sins. They will be judged and held liable for their deeds. Since their sins are crimes against an eternal and infinite God, their sins deserve eternal punishment. God has a place specifically designed as the destiny of the damned.

This is a very sobering, somber subject. The damnation of hell is a grim prospect. The OT clearly affirms that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek 18:23, 32) and neither should we. God sent his Son into the world to save the world, not to condemn it. And yet we know that many—perhaps the majority of people—will be condemned because of their sin and unbelief.

We dare not take a flippant or casual attitude toward this topic. We should never gloat over the fact that the lost will suffer eternal torment. Nor should we compromise and hope that perhaps the unsaved will somehow escape eternal punishment.[1] We must take a biblical position on this topic.

We should also recognize that belief in the eternal, conscious torment of the lost in hell has been the almost unbroken testimony of the church.[2] For nearly 2000 years of church history, mainstream Christianity has taught this doctrine.

Denial of this teaching is a hallmark of the cults and of unorthodoxy—JWs, Mormons and others deny the eternal punishment of the wicked. Denying this biblical doctrine puts you outside the borders of orthodox Christianity.

The generally accepted, historic position of the church has been that after the final resurrection and judgment, mankind will either live blessedly in the presence of God or live in conscious torment in the fires of hell separated from the presence of God forever.[3] This is what the Bible teaches, what the church has upheld historically, and what we must affirm, no matter how we feel about it. We cannot ignore the plain meaning of the biblical text.

Let’s consider several truths about the eternal punishment of the wicked, the destiny of the damned:

[1]The Master's Seminary, Master's Seminary Journal Volume 9 (Master's Seminary, 1998; 2002), 9:131.

[2]The Master's Seminary, Master's Seminary Journal Volume 9 (Master's Seminary, 1998; 2002), 9:131.

[3]The Master's Seminary, Master's Seminary Journal Volume 9 (Master's Seminary, 1998; 2002), 9:135.

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