God’s Holy Word reveals that there are two and only two destinies that await every single person who has ever lived and will ever live on the face of this earth. This knowledge should spur us to holy living and to sharing the gospel with family, friends, acquaintances, and whomever the Lord brings into your path.
The destiny of those who have, by God’s great mercy and grace, placed their faith in Jesus Christ is declared by Peter in his first epistle.
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trails, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith-the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:1-9
Those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ are elect, sanctified by the Spirit, obedient, sprinkled by the blood of Jesus Christ, begotten again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ and kept by the power of God through faith. God reserves our inheritance in heaven for us pure and in no way disfigured or marred, perfect. This inheritance is what we share with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. What wonderful generous love and condescension. When we think of who we are and Who Jesus Christ is we exclaim with John in his first epistle the wonder and glory of His love for us.
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!… 1 John 3:1
Because of His great mercy we love Jesus Christ and long for His soon return. We patiently endure trials because they reveal to us, others, and the angels the genuineness of our faith. As we trust the Lord Jesus Christ through these trials our faith and trust in Him grows and we become more obedient and become more like Him. As we draw closer to our Beloved Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the wonder and glory of our salvation grows and causes assured rejoicing that we are saved! We have the love of our glorious Lord attending us while we journey this earth, and the wonderful hope and knowledge that heaven awaits us where we will spend eternity with our heavenly Father, our marvelous Savior Jesus Christ, and continue our fellowship with our loving guide the Holy Spirit. It is in heaven where we will experience perfect holy fellowship with our beloved fellow believers continuing what we have known on earth.
In contrast, those who reject Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior have only horror and torment to look forward to. Paul gives a very sobering picture of what awaits those who continue in sin and practice unbelief, or hold to idols.
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. 2 Thessalonians 1:1-10
When Jesus Christ returns for His beloved saints He will also bring judgment upon those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. There are going to be many who lived in the delusion of a false salvation, because they did not hold fast to Jesus Christ and His truth, who will be met with His just judgment and retribution. These are those who reject the true knowledge about Jesus Christ and the gospel that is found in God’s Word and persecute those who stand for the truth whether they actively oppose Christ’s own or secretly trouble them through whispers and intrigues. Whether meeting the judgment of Christ when He returns or upon the sinner’s death, the result will be the same. Those who reject Christ will be shut out from His glorious presence and will be assigned eternity in the fiery hell.
Meanwhile His saints will rejoice with awe and marvel at the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes to take them to be with Him for eternity in heaven. The memory of their tribulations and persecutions will vanish away when they are home with the Lord. By God’s benevolent mercy and grace He lovingly receives His beloved to be with Him in heaven with His Son Jesus Christ. The judgment that God pours out upon sinners who reject the goodness of His grace and love offered to them through His Son Jesus Christ is because of His righteousness. The beloved of the Lord are His because of His grace and their faith in Jesus Christ. Sinners are rejected because of their sin and rejection of Jesus Christ. What is your destiny? Where will you spend eternity? If you don’t have faith in Jesus Christ, repent and believe the gospel that you may be saved. If you do know the Lord, live for His glory and share His message of reconciliation with those around you. Praise God for His marvelous grace He has for us in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.