Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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What Does it Mean to Perish?

Meditation for the week of November 14, 2010

John 3:15 "that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

The Lord uses love to draw us to Himself, but He also warns us of the consequences of not trusting in Him.  In the old testament, the children of Israel were blessed and protected by God.  They were told to worship the LORD only.  The LORD wanted their undivided loyalty and worship.  Yet, in spite of all that He had done for the nation, they turned away from Him.  In Ezekiel, they were told that destruction was coming so that those who did not know the LORD would know Him.   Ezekiel 6:10 says,  "And they shall know that I am the LORD; I have not said in vain that I would bring this calamity upon them."  So the calamity that was coming was to be the means of converting the nation of Israel so that they “knew” the LORD.  The word “know” means that they would have an intimate relationship with Him. Just as a man and his wife have an intimate relationship that should not be shared with others, the LORD did not want to share His relationship with Israel with other gods.

In the new testament, we are told that unbelievers will perish.  Unbelievers do not have a relationship based on trust in the Lord even though they may have a form of religion.  Some of them may be living immorally if they do not believe that they are accountable to God.   All of them are are worshiping themselves and what they “think” is right, rather than worshiping the Lord.  Whether people would see unbelievers as good people or as bad people, the Bible says that these people perish.  But, what does it mean to perish?

Some times the word is used for those who are lost and are therefore unusable.  Sometimes the word means to die or to be destroyed.  What does it mean for the unbeliever?  It means that the unbeliever will lose his “well-being” after death but not his “being” or existence.  Some teach that death is the end.  The Bible teaches otherwise.  The Bible is clear that because Christ arose, we can be sure that we will be raised from the dead as well.  Some are raised in the resurrection of life and some are raised in the resurrection of damnation (John 5:29).  These two resurrections are 1000 years apart (see Revelation 20:4-6).  Those raised in the resurrection of life are blessed, those raised in the resurrection of damnation will be condemned forever in the Lake of Fire and Brimstone with the Devil and his representative that rules on earth during the tribulation period.  This is a place of eternal torment.

Because the idea of such punishment is difficult for us to accept particularly when we are taught that God is a loving God, many people would like to believe that the idea of perishing just means that we cease to exist.  They would like to believe that people who perish unsaved, die and just are no more.  Others would like to believe that they may die and go to eternal torment, but that they are annihilated there.  But that isn’t what the Bible says.  Just as eternal life for the believer is—well, eternal.  Eternal punishment for the unbeliever is—well, eternal. 

I believe that those who reject Christ now are going to bow before the Lord and acknowledge Him for who He is in eternity.  But it will be too late to be saved.  Philippians 2:10-11 says, “ that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Every knee will bow and every tongues will confess.  This means that they exist, but their existence will be an existence of torment in a place where they will have to confess that they were wrong, and that the Lord was the One that could have saved them in this life.

I do not like to preach about the eternal judgment of God; however,  it is part of the Gospel.  I know people who say that they came to the Lord because of His love.  I am not one of those.  If it had not been for the fact that I wanted to be saved from eternal conscience punishment when I died, I might have put off the matter of my salvation until it was too late.  If I had believed that there was a second chance to be saved after we died or that when we died it was “all over,” I might never have come to “know the Lord”. 

God is a God of love.  He showed that by allowing His son to undergo the punishment that we deserve because of our sin.  A person might not agree that they would do things the way God has done them, but God is God.  If we acknowledge our sin and trust the Lord Jesus we will “know” Him now.  We will be saved.  The alternative is simply not an option.

Bruce Collins

3 Comments »

Comment by Marouane

January 16, 2013 @ 7:11 pm

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Comment by Winfred Lentine

February 19, 2013 @ 6:38 am

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Pingback by Have You Been Searching For Happiness In All The Wrong Places? | Enough Tribulations Peace & Deliverance Ministries

August 5, 2015 @ 8:08 pm

[…] Please see this link to learn what the word perish means in John 3:16: http://bdcministries.com/2010/11/15/what-does-it-mean-to-perish/ […]

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