United Church of God, ia
Portland and Hood River Oregon

Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

What is the Fate of Those Who Refuse to Repent?

Although God will bountifully extend the opportunity for salvation to all those who have never known God, some will still refuse to repent, submit to God and receive His gift of eternal life.

What is their fate? The Bible reveals that, rather than suffering forever in an ever-burning hell, they will simply cease to exist. It will be as though they had never been.

Revelation 20:15 tell us that, after the final judgment depicted by the Last Great Day,

"anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire."

Revelation 21:8 adds:

"But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolators, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

Notice that their fate is clearly death, not eternal life in continual punishment.

Paul, too, understood that death is the punishment of the wicked.

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

He contrasts death, which is what we earn because of our sins, with life, which is God's free gift to us because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in our place.

The prophet Malachi made clear the fate of the incorrigibly wicked:

"'For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,' says the LORD of hosts, 'that will leave them neither root nor branch.'

"'But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves. You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this,' says the LORD of hosts" (Malachi 4:1-3).

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