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Chapter 10 - The Fate of Those Who are not 'Saved' or Redeemed
Those who inherit eternal life are those Jews who by faith kept the law.
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. - Luke 10:25-28
When the gospel of grace came, the 'inheritance' was extended to all who believed and were 'born again'.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. - Romans 8:15
It is through this 'adoption' that we receive the righteousness of Jesus.
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. - Ephesians 4:22-24
However, there are many who have not received this 'righteousness'.
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, - 1 Corinthians 6:9
It is interesting to note that two groups are cited. The first are called 'the unrighteous'. The second group consists of those singled out for particular malignant characteristics. It is not clear if there is a particular difference in what is encountered for the two groups other than both being excluded from the kingdom of God.
In considering why those who have not been made righteous through faith suffer, we should consider some of the various possible reasons.
1. Payment. We do know that Christ had placed on him the sins for the world for which he made payment.
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. - 2 Corinthians 5:21
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. - 1 John 2:2
We are told that we should not take revenge because it belongs to Jesus. This assertion is supported by the payment perspective as since Jesus paid for all sin, he owns the right to take revenge for sin. He is also able to extend mercy and forgive sin.
The idea of sin 'payment' can be seen in a parable Jesus told about the kingdom.
Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. - Matthew 18:32-35
2. Correction. Most prisons in the US changed their names from penitentiary to department of corrections in keeping with a modern social view that prisoners will be 'reformed' by prison and become unlikely to re-offend. The recidivism rate (the percent of criminals that commit crimes after prison) is generally about 85%. The hope that social problems can so easily be solved perhaps explains why many are so eager to see in the bible some means whereby all might eventually get into heaven. This is what makes the idea of Purgatory attractive although one is not able to find support for it in the bible. However, the idea that men can be prodded into heaven by the end of a pitchfork also seems to make 'free will' pointless.
3. Punishment. There is a common view that hell is just a place of torment unending for those who have offended a holy God. This view finds support from the neo-platonic ideas of the immortality of the soul held by Augustine and taken up by the reformers such that the English word 'eternal' was often used to translate the Greek word aionios. Often with this view proportionality of suffering to the degree of offense is not regarded as it is held that any un-forgiven offense is worthy of perpetual torment.
The payment purpose of hell seems to be best supported on a biblical basis as well as consistency with Godís justice.
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