August 18, 2021
Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16).
What is eternal life? To some it is existence in eternity. It is to ‘live forever’, to ‘live eternally’. Obviously it is that, but scripturally speaking it is so much more than quantity of life. It is also quality of life. In simply thinking about living forever we would conclude eternal life would be undesirable after a while. What will a person do if he/she lived forever? Even though the possibilities would seem equally endless, the ideas of how to occupy our eternity eventually run out and we are left with a huge question mark.
The Bible tells us that there are 2 destinies in eternity open to a person when mortal life on earth has ended. There is hell, where a person spends eternity in torment and suffering. There is heaven, where a person spends eternity in blessedness and peace. So Scripture teaches us that not only does the human soul experience quantity of life in eternity, he/she also experiences quality of life in eternity. In hell the quality of life is totally undesirable. In heaven the quality of life is totally desirable.
We are also told that in hell there is no interaction with other occupants. It is a place of outer and utter darkness. It is like solitary confinement in a completely lightless cell. I had opportunity to experience something like that when I visited the prison on Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay may years ago. The guide asked if anyone would like to experience solitary confinement. I said yes. I walked in the cell. The guide shut the door behind me. I had never experienced such darkness, silence, and solitude. It was frightening. I didn’t last more than a minute in the cell.
Jesus said hell will be a place of absolute loneliness, despair, and hopelessness. It is a place of utter darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 22:13), it is a place of unquenchable fire (Matthew 5:22; Mark 9:43), it is a place of torment (physical, mental, spiritual, emotional; Luke 16:23ff), it is a place where the worm (maggot) never dies (Mark 9:44,46,48). It is where the devil and his angels suffer. It is a place absent of God’s love and mercy.
The quality of life in heaven is the exact opposite of hell - to the extreme. It is a place of safety and security (Matthew 6:19), a place of reward (Matthew 5:12), a place of rest and peace, and perfect union and fellowship with God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, the Holy Spirit, and all the saints and angels of glory (Revelation 4:8-11).
“Lord Jesus, than You for the promise of life in heaven with You, our heavenly Father, the Holy Spirit, and all the saints for all eternity. Thank You for making that possible through Your death and resurrection. Thank You for the grace and faith to believe in You and Your Gospel. To Your. raise and glory I pray, Amen.”