Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled. 1 Peter 1:13 (NIV) When you see the word therefore, you know Peter is pointing back to what he just said. Peter was saying that Christians are born again as the power of the risen Lord touches their lives. “Now,” Peter says,...
Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, my servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry; behold, my servants shall drink, but you shall be thirsty; behold, my servants shall rejoice, but you shall be put to shame; behold, my servants shall sing for gladness of heart, but you shall cry out for pain of heart and shall wail for breaking of spirit.” Isaiah 65:13-14
God himself is speaking here, and he describes two groups of people: Some who are eating, drinking, rejoicing, and singing. Others who are hungry, thirsty, ashamed, and crying out from anguish of heart.
The Bible speaks repeatedly about two destinies—one that is indescribably good, the other indescribably bad, and that all people will enter one of these two destinies. We believe these things, not because we like them, but because we find them in the Scriptures.
It seems that these two groups of people will be aware of each other (Mat. 25:31-46). The wicked will see the joy of the righteous and know how much they have lost: “In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out” (Luke 13:28).
The righteous will see the wicked and know what they have been saved from: “They shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh” (Isa. 66:24).
So the righteous will see and hear the sentencing of the wicked, and the wicked will see the salvation of the righteous.
Do you find it easy or difficult to believe in the everlasting joy of God’s people and the everlasting punishment of the wicked? Why or why not?