Judgment in the New Testament

“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9)

Many critics have decried what they contend is the Bible’s inconsistency. The Old Testament is a harsh indictment of human sin and warning of coming divine judgment, they say, whereas the New Testament stresses God’s grace and love.

The fact is, however, that the Old Testament contains numerous testimonies of the love and merciful lovingkindness of God (e.g., Psalm 103). Similarly, the most striking and fearsome warnings and prophecies of judgment to come are found in the New Testament. The above text for the day is an example, with its revelation of the coming eternal separation from God of all who reject Christ and His saving gospel. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself uttered more warnings of future hell than anyone else recorded in either testament. He said, for example, that those “on the left hand” will be commanded to “depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). Jude spoke of ungodly men “to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 1:13).

And, of course, the very last book of the New Testament, written by John, the disciple who stressed God’s love more than any other writer, focuses especially and in detail on the coming period of God’s judgment on a rebellious world. The climax of these warnings is Revelation 20:15: “Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” God’s grace and full forgiveness are free to all who receive Christ, but certain judgment will come to all who refuse. HMM

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