Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Live or Perish

The world that God created is amazing.

One way that it is amazing is that it is possible to live on earth, while hating and disobeying God. We take this for granted, but it is amazing that God continues to sustain the earth, while people living on it hate and mock him. If God stopped sustaining his creation, the world and the people he made would cease to exist in an instant.

In him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).
A God who would continue to sustain the lives people who have rebelled against him to pursue evil and destroy his universe is mind-blowing.

This explains the final destination of those who reject the gospel and continue to oppose God. After the final judgment, this earth will disappear and be replaced by a new heavens and a new earth in which God fully dwells (Rev 21:1). Those who reject God will have no place to go where they can escape the presence of God. He will be everywhere in the new heaven and earth. With the old earth gone, there will not place left where people can continue to live and oppose God.

People who have not made peace with him through the cross will not be able to tolerate the holiness of his presence. His presence is so glorious that those who have not been cleansed by the blood of Jesus will need to flee the awe of his presence. This leaves them with an impossible dilemma. They need God to sustain their existence, but they can bear to be near him. They need him to give them life, but they hate being near him.

People who have rejected Jesus and continued to rebel against God will face a choice. They will choose to lose his sustaining power, because they hate his presence. If the stops sustaining their life, they will cease to exist.

Jesus said that those who do not believe in him will not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). The fate of those who to refuse to trust Jesus is to perish. Perish is a more accurate word than “annihilation”, because the latter word implies that God does the annihilating. He does not do this.

Rather, people choose to perish, because they cannot bear to remain in the presence of God, and there is no place away from his presence where they can continue to exist. The will tell God to stop sustaining their existence, because they cannot bear to be in his presence. They will perish when God agrees to their request and stops giving them life. He does not force people to exist against their will. They will perish, because life apart from God is not possible in the new heavens and new earth.

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