“This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels, taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction from the Lord’s presence and from His glorious strength in that day when He comes to be glorified by His saints and to be admired by all those who have believed, because our testimony among you was believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10, HCSB).
Today I have some good news and some bad news to tell you.
You probably already know the good news that we have salvation from God’s wrath and reconciliation with God through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, the good news about Jesus includes some bad news, as the Apostle Paul shockingly describes in these verses.
I don’t want to ruin your day with bad news. But it’s important that we understand the bad news of the gospel of Jesus so we can fully understand the good news of Jesus and effectively integrate it into our lives.
So, here’s the bad news as Paul recounts it in these verses.
Paul says a day is coming when “those who don’t know God or obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” will receive the cosmic consequences of their faithlessness.
The faithlessness and unbelief that Paul identifies is, in reality, rebellion against God. And, since it’s rebellion against the eternal God, the punishment must fit the crime.
And the crime is of eternal proportions!
So, its punishment is the eternal fire of hell, the place of punishment prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).
The destruction described here does not imply ceasing to exist or annihilation, but separation from God and remaining in this miserable state eternally.
The bad news of the gospel, then, is that the consequence for disbelief in and disobedience to the good news of the gospel is eternal destruction, which means being outside of or separated from the presence of God forever!
“And anyone not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15, HCSB).