Remember what I said before about “throw away lines”? A Biblical writer will just “throw out there” a bit of information about the spiritual realm which we had no idea about and then move on without explanation or comment. My personal favorite of this is when Paul is castigating the Corinthian church for suing each other in secular court, and he just casually asks them “Do you not know that we will judge angels?” Uh, no Paul, we didn’t, but thanks for letting us know.
Here’s another bit of information we find out about demons, coming from the lips of the Lord Jesus himself. Hopefully you’re familiar with Jesus’ story about the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25. Our Savior was giving us some information about a Judgment to come, the criteria of which seems to be how we treat “the least of these brothers and sisters of mine.” I feel the need to remind you that the main point of this story is not how to get saved. We're saved by grace through faith in him, not by charitable acts, no matter how noble. But one of the best ways to see that we are saved is by showing our concern for the “least of these”: the poor, the downtrodden, the nobodies and invisible people who are around us, especially if they’re our siblings in Christ. Our Lord takes it very personally how we treat them, literally. By literally I mean that he takes how we treat them as treating him the same.
So our Lord is passing final judgment on the “goats,” the ones who ignored the least among them and thus earned his wrath. And what’s their punishment? “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
My friend, no matter how bad you are and how much you deserve it, Hell was not designed for you. It was designed specifically with Satan and his minions in mind. The only reason why any human being goes there is because by rebelling against God, you’re effectively joining Satan on his side. By casting your lot with him, you share his punishment.
Yes, someone can go to Hell, but they’re going to have to step over the bleeding body of the Lord Jesus to do it. God doesn’t want you to go there. He’s not willing that anyone should perish but that everyone come to repentance. He wants all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. He makes it as plain as the nose on your face: “As surely as I live. . . I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.” He doesn’t say “As surely as the sun will rise tomorrow,” because that’s not a 100% sure thing. He doesn’t say “As surely as water is wet,” or “As surely as the sky is blue,” because as sure as those things are, they could possibly change under the right circumstances. He says that as surely as he lives, he takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. You can bank your life--your very soul--on that.
Please let me make a final note on this passage before we leave it. Jesus mentions that the fires of Hell are “eternal.” They burn forever. And if you’ll recall, fire only lasts as long as it has fuel. What's the fuel here? Souls in agony. Then the last verse of the story tells us that the Goats will go into “eternal punishment.” There’s no parole, no time off for good behavior from Hell. After a million years in Hell, the residents thereof will have no time less being punished than when they started. Scary stuff.
If you’re reading this, then ponder for a moment what your Savior actually saved you from. He didn’t have to, you know. But he took that for you, for your sake and in your place.
If you’re reading this and haven’t received Christ, then there’s no better time than right now to take care of that. You can’t do anything about yesterday, and tomorrow might be too late. If you have any questions, you can read my short summary of the main message of the Bible here. Please don’t put it off.
Lord Jesus, thank you. You want all people to be saved, and you certainly demonstrated that with me. Please use me to keep on proving that—with others.
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