By Rev Dr Edward Goh
A Universalist is one who believes every human will ultimately be saved. Universalism is appealing because no one will wish for another human to suffer the pain of eternal torment. However, reliance on our human logic and experience to draw conclusions on matters of eternity is futile. The problem as human is we have no means for knowing the dimensions in eternity, just as we cannot comprehend the holiness of God to know the severity of sin. We are dependent on God to reveal these things to us. God alone has the facts right. Our perspective in these matters needs to be shaped by God and His word.
God tells us in Dan. 12:2, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” This teaching is repeated by our Lord in Matt. 25:46, “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matt. 25:41 says the wicked will suffer in the lake of fire prepare for the devil and his angels. This lake of eternal torment is described to us in Rev. 20:10. It is not fictitious.
As our probation period on earth come to an end, so is our eternal destiny decided. For this reason, the Apostle laboured and strived. He fought hard to keep the church in line with the Gospel. He fought to preserve the Gospel teachings that the elect may attain the salvation God has prepared for them through the perseverance of their faith.
Much as hell is reserved for the unbelieving, heaven is kept for those who endured to the end. Paul says in 2 Cor. 2:17, “This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” The sufferings Paul had undergone were by no means trivial. Yet the glory of heaven is so exceedingly great, Paul considered all sufferings here as light.
This reality of heaven and hell revealed in the Gospel had shaped Paul’s approach to life and ministry. It enabled him to discern all things with an eternal perspective, with the mind of Christ. Even the discipline he called the church to exercise on its erring member was with eternity in mind (1 Cor. 5:5). May this reality also be the lenses through which we discern the value of things and people around us.