The Final State of the Righteous and the Wicked
Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 20:15
Church Constitution, Article III Section 18
FINAL STATE OF THE WICKED
Job 20:26-29; Dan. 12:2; 2Pet. 2:17; Jude 13; Rev. 14:10,11; 19:20; 20:14,15, 21:8.
There will be a resurrection and a judgement of both the righteous and of the wicked, (Matt. 25:41,46; Luke 13:27). The wicked will be punished (Mark 16:16; John 5:29; 2Thess. 1:8,9; 2Peter 2:9) and their punishment will be recognized (Matt. 8:12; 13:50; 25:30; Luke 16:24). The wicked then are cast in “outer darkness,” into a place of “no rest,” and a place of constant “torment.” The wicked will have some sort of resurrection body which will suffer the physical pangs of fire and brimstone with no hope of their pain ever ending. The spiritual agony also to be endured, is beyond the possibility of present expression. Separated from God, love, joy, peace, friends, relatives and all that would make existence bearable. Dying with all kinds of sins and lusts which can never be fulfilled. No matter how terrible this life may have been for the wicked, once in hell this life will be looked back to as though it were heaven itself. Someone once said, “To the saved, this world is as bad as it gets; but to the lost, this world is as good as it gets.”
One of the tragedies of our present evil world is that so little difference is to be seen between the average professing Christian and the mere worldling, that most people assume that there is no difference except in the profession. This is but another of Satan’s clever ruses to discredit true Christianity. Satan has had counterfeit saints, counterfeit churches, counterfeit preachers, counterfeit gospels, etc. Everyone needs to realize that salvation makes a difference in one’s life, so that those who do not have it will realize it and be concerned about it. (Compare my life with Jeff Chrystal’s.)
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked, (Mal. 3:16-18; John 3:6). God even keeps a written record of the attitudes and activities of both the saved and the unsaved. Doubtless the record of the lives of the unsaved is one of the “books” to be opened at the Great White Throne Judgement (Rev. 20:12). As the unsaved are standing before God in the flesh only, it means that the unsaved person is spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1), hence was never able to exercise any acceptable spiritual acts.
We believe that the wicked are they who do not believe in Christ Jesus as saviour, and are condemned because of unbelief and the corruption of this world. That the unjust spurn the privileges of God’s grace, choosing the life of sin and rebellion; and that eternal damnation is the inescapable portion of the unjust (Rom. 6:23; 2Cor. 4:4; Rev. 21:8; Matt. 25:41). Unbelief is a state in the unsaved, not just an occasional isolated act, and it is for this reason that they are everlastingly condemned to Hell. In the hereafter, the lost will be incapable of many of the sins of time and earth - drunkenness, thievery, murder, fornication, etc., but they will continue to be hateful, unbelieving rebels against God, and they will reap the wages of this forever. From its very nature, Hell will be inconceivably horrible. Picture, if you can, the person who gave unbridled rein to his lusts, now with an eternal desire for pleasure, which can never be satisfied in the least degree; or the drunkard with an insatiable thirst that can never receive a single drop of relief; or the proud religionist who looked down on common sinners and thought himself above them, but now compelled to spend eternity as a self-confessed sinner no better than the rest of the dregs of society. Every favorite sin will be in a peculiarly just way punished in hell.
FINAL STATE OF THE RIGHTEOUS
Other verses: Jn. 14:1-3; Isa. 66:22; Dan. 12:2,3; Eph. 3:21; 1Cor. 2:9; Heb. 11:10-16; Rom. 8:18; Rev. 21:1-27, 22:1-7; 1John 3:1,2.
In 1Thess. 4:15-17, Paul makes it clear that the righteous will be resurrected at the time of Christ’s appearance in the air - the first phase of His second coming - at which time the living saints will be translated and raptured also. From this point forward we will be in a glorified body enjoying the presence of our Saviour and Lord. The judgment and the final state of the righteous are to be the exact opposite of what the wicked dead receive.
There are many descriptive scriptures which tell of the future judgment and state of the righteous (Matt. 25:34-40; 25:21-23; 13:30,43; 1Pet. 5:4; Rev. 2:7,17,26; Rev. 3:4,5,12,21; 2Tim. 4:18; Rom. 8:21,23; Rev. 7:16,17; 21:27; 22:5). Declarations are made which connect the believer with Christ (1Thess. 4:17; Jude 24; Jn. 17:24; Phil. 3:21; Matt. 25:21,23; 2Tim. 2:12). Statements are made about their activity in the heavenly life (Rev. 14:13; 7:15; 22:3; 14:2,3; 15:3,4; 19:5-6; Lu. 6:23; 2Cor. 5:1; 1Pet. 1:4). Heaven then, is a place of glorious activity and possessions. Heaven cannot be regarded as only a state in which the righteous have communion with Christ and God, but must be accepted as the place of their abode in their glorified bodies, in which they dwell with each other, and rejoice in the state of happiness and glory which is also theirs.
Heaven is spoken of in certain descriptive terms (Heb. 11:16; 2Cor. 5:1,2; Jn. 14:2; Matt. 13:43; 25:34; Gal. 4:26; Rev. 3:12; 21:10-27). The new Jerusalem will be that final, wonderful city of God where those in the bride will dwell with their Saviour forever. The righteous are even now in that celestial realm spiritually (Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1-4). The blessedness of the future state of the righteous is made supreme by the fact that it will last forever. It will never end; it will never be diminished. If there be any change, it will be from its increase; because of better intellectual perception and knowledge of God; because of a constantly and increasingly endearing communion with God in Christ; because of an increased capacity to behold the glory of Christ.
We believe the righteous are they who believe in Christ Jesus, justified by faith, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit and the word of God. The righteous are heirs of God and joint-heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ; and that eternal life, the gift of God, is the matchless possession of the just (Rom. 3:22,24; 8:1,17). Justification means to be in a right relationship with God, and it is made possible only by the redeeming work of Christ, received by faith by the convicted and converted sinner. No one can keep the law of God perfectly in their flesh (Gal. 4; 3:10,13), so only those who are led to see their hopelessness under works, and who cast themselves wholly upon the grace and mercy of God are justified. The Spirit then works through the word to purify the lives of the saved (Jn. 15:3; 17:17). The future promised inheritance comes to the Lord’s people as a result of their union with Christ, for what is His is also theirs. The more we suffer for the glory of God, the more like Christ we become and the greater our inheritance becomes.
The righteous believer will not die spiritually. Leaving the body behind, the believer will enter the true realm of life (Jn. 5:24; 11:25-26). The believer’s body may fall asleep, but we will awake in the presence of Jesus our Lord (2Cor. 5:6-8; Phil. 1:21-24). God has a place prepared for the righteous (Jn. 14:2,3). As Christ prayed for the elect (Jn. 17:9,20), He has also commissioned us (Matt. 28:18-20), to be the instruments in His hand to be witnesses unto all the world. God has chosen all of the redeemed to go tell the story of salvation. We must work and pray that no one will go to that terrible place - Hell - as a result of our not getting the message out.