From God Who Is There, The: Finding Your Place in God’s Story by D. A. Carson, on Rev. 22:11
Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.
and what this verse tells us about those whose final destination is hell:
Hell is full of people who do not want to be there but who still do not want to bend the knee. For all eternity they still hate God. They still despise the cross. They still nurture sin; they still hate others in this endless cycle of self-chosen sin, iniquity, thanklessness, idolatry, and their consequences. The prospect is horrendous. This ongoing sin is so much a part of their stamp and makeup that is they were suddenly transported to heaven, they would hate it. In exactly the same way as we [see] in John 3 in the passage on God’s love, when the light comes, people love darkness rather than light because their deed are evil. That is the horrible awfulness of it: ongoing punishment and still—God help us—no repentance. Not ever. That’s why the Bible tells us to “flee from the coming wrath” (Matt. 3:7).
Carson goes on to remind us that any Christian who teaches on these things without tears is betraying Jesus:
Christian faith and thought are not helped by angry preachers whose tone almost suggests that they take a kind of vicious glee from the tragic end of others For a start, we Christians will be the first to acknowledge, as Paul understands in Ephesians 2, that we are all by nature children of wrath—starting with us who have become Christians. If we have come to experience the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with the living God, it is only because of the grace of the gospel. We are never more than condemned prisoners who have found pardon and who want others to enjoy the same.
Related Theological Term posts:
A few recent posts elsewhere:
- The truth of hell should fill us with traumatic awe (Against Heresies)
- Rob Bell, Hell, and the wisdom of Augustine (Against Heresies)
- The Preaching of Hell Is the Best Kindness (The Gospel-Driven Church)
- What Is Universalism? (Justin Taylor)
- Seven Reasons Why We Can’t Water Down the Lake of Fire (Blog and Mablog)
- How Do God’s Love and Wrath Relate? (Effectual Grace)
And of course, the flurry of post on hell, universalism, etc. comes because of Rob Bell’s new book, which Tim Challies reviews here.