Eternal Punishment

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One of the most difficult teachings of the Bible involves the reality of eternal punishment for the lost. In order to make Christianity more appealing to a broader audience, some have taken it upon themselves to revise the Bible’s teaching on the subject. Some have preached universalism, claiming that no one will be lost. Pope Gregory VII in the medieval period put his stamp of approval on the existence of purgatory—the place where some wayward souls would go in order to be purified so they could enter heaven. Still others have taught annihilationism, the idea that the lost will suffer for their sin for only a short while before being erased from reality.

Preaching the “other side of the Good News” is tough. We don’t want to think of anyone suffering, especially when it comes to eternity. But Jesus was very clear about the matter. In his parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16), he indicates that the lost will experience terrible things. The rich man cries out for just a drop of water for relief. He begs that Lazarus be sent to warn his brothers that they might not come to that fiery place. Yet he would have no respite from his anguish.

The gospel of Christ is absolutely vital for the flourishing of every human soul—not just in this life, but for eternity. It is heartbreaking to think that anyone would be lost forever. Nevertheless, Christians are a people of love, and that some souls are in the state of being lost right now should move us to help them understand the gospel.

Dewayne Bryant
Rush Springs church of Christ
Rush Springs, OK

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