It has been said that Jesus spoke more on hell than he did about heaven. And here we see one of his teachings on the coming judgment.
As I’ve mentioned before, it can get frustrating to see all the evil in the world and wonder why God doesn’t do more about it.
But here, we see the day is coming when he will. All will be caught up and brought before him to be judged, both the living and the spirits of those who have died.
On that day, those who are evil will be weeded out from those who are righteous. While the righteous will be rewarded and go on to live with God forever, it is the wicked that Jesus focuses on here. And he says of them,
The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (49-50)
Why does he tell us this? I think more than anything, it’s to give us hope. It’s to remind us that evil will not last forever, and that it will be dealt with for all eternity. And in a world full of evil, we need that hope.
But I think he also tells us this as a warning. That God’s patience will not last forever. God does not desire that any should perish, but if they stubbornly reject him despite all his entreaties to them, he will let them have what they desire. A life without him forever. Unfortunately, what they will find out is that a life without God is a life of despair. And that’s what they will have for all eternity.
So many people run from God because they think he’s trying to kill their joy. But the reality is that there is no joy apart from him.
So as you look at the evil around you, remember a day of judgment is coming. And ask yourself, “Am I ready?”
And if you are, if you have received God’s salvation by faith, ask yourself the next question: “Are those I love ready?” And if they aren’t, are you doing everything you can to make sure that they are.
Hell is a reality. Jesus taught it. Do you believe it? Do you believe it enough that you are working for the salvation of those you love?