The Second Death is Eternal

The children of God understand that Christ will soon return and take from the earth those who are worthy to become His Bride. They understand that God wants a bride for His Son who will be filled with the desire and ability to love. Thus, they strive to overcome the Adam-like nature and develop a Christ-like nature to achieve this goal. They understand that any loving father who seeks a bride for his son to live in their household, would want that bride to be loving, longsuffering, and forgiving.

They also know that scripture warns that perhaps only half of those who are believers will meet the criteria required to become the Bride, causing us to wonder what will happen to those who, like the five foolish virgins, will be left behind. These five virgins were believers, but were not fully prepared for the bridegroom and therefore were not allowed to go with Christ when He came for His bride. (Matthew 1:1-13)

The Bride will be the firstfruits or the overcomers and come from both the faithful still living on earth and the faithful from eternity. To be a part of the Bride of Christ is the hope of all the children of God. She will live for all eternity with love and righteousness and will rule the new heaven and earth with Christ.

To be a part of the bride requires the development of the Christ-like and gentle nature of love and goodness, and the spurning of all things evil. This requires faith, the desire to be pleasing in the eyes of God and the ability to love others. Sadly, not all the children of God will be found worthy. Not all will become the Bride of Christ.

Scripture warns, in addition to the parable of the five wise and five foolish virgins mentioned above, that of two working in a field, or lying in a bed, only half will be taken at the First Resurrection. (Matthew 24:40-41) Yet those who will learn of and follow Christ during the Thousand Years of Peace will have the opportunity to be judged a lamb and still enter heaven because of God’s grace and desire that all men be saved. However, Satan will have such great power when he is loosed again, and believers will be so sorely tested, that none can rest assured that they will be saved. Scripture explains that when Satan is loosed many will lose their faith, and hatred and unbelief will gain in power and overcome many. It also tells us that every deed will be weighed and judged.

When Judgment Day arrives and judgment is afforded to the remaining populace, the people will be divided into two groups which scripture calls the lambs and the goats. Each will be judged on their faith, striving to overcome, and all their past deeds. The lambs will be allowed to enter heaven and the goats will be sent to the Lake of Fire where they will be in torment for all eternity. This is the second death and is separation from God, and from love and goodness for all eternity. There is no redemption from the second death, it is torment; it is life surrounded only with evil. It is eternal; it is forever.

These words may seem harsh but they are a reminder that we must strive harder to shed our old nature and become more like Christ. This means that we must learn to love. Really love. No superficial love will work, it must be genuine, and from the heart. (1 Corinthians 13:13 and 1 Corinthians 13:1-3) What then is real love? How can we test our level of love?

Let’s find a few examples: Perhaps we feel good about ourselves because we regularly hold fellowships in our home…..but who do we invite? Do we invite those we like, those who have a similar level of education, status, manner of dress, financial assets? Or do we also include the lonely, the poor, the heavily burdened, the jobless, the sick?

Do we feel good about ourselves because we help along in church activities…..but have we formed a clique to do this and have we pushed others away or not considered their ideas?

Do we feel good because we tithe…..and never help someone who lost their job or never helped someone provide a Christmas or Birthday gift to their children when they could not? Do we include the widow and widower, the never married, those divorced, and those who struggle to speak our language? Do we rebuke and teach against sin yet do so in love, kindness, long suffering and without judgement?

Scripture tells us that faith without works is dead. But what are those works? Are they works of love? Are they self sacrificing as Christ’s love was for us? Are our works judgmental and given only to gain accolades for ourselves? Are we always pleasant to our ministers and not to our members? Is our home open to everyone, and do we bear one another’s burdens by helping them through it?

Not all of us can do everything, but we must ask ourselves if what we can do is done with real love and not to impress. God sees everything. He knows the hidden recesses of our heart. He knows our motives and our faults and failings. But He also knows our striving and hears our prayers to be better, to love more and to grow in compassion. He knows that some are difficult to love, but His heart is moved when we forgive and overlook.

Our Heavenly Father also understands that some of us are action-oriented and some are behind-the-scenes people. He sees both efforts and rewards them equally. Even if all we can do is send little notes of encouragement, or make a phone call to an invalid, or deliver a pot of soup to someone who is sick, God is overjoyed. We do not always have to do large things, but we must demonstrate our willingness to love and to grow in that love. Love also creates the desire to overcome all things that displease the lover of our soul. Thus, we must strive to show love, apply love, develop love, be love, teach love, and give love, for the Bride of Christ will be expected to be perfect in her love toward others.

The second death is a place without God, without righteousness and devoid of love and is called the Lake of Fire. It is a place of torment, a place filled with anger, hate, jealousy, envy, intrigue, back-biting, slander, lies, plots, terror and all things evil. It is a place to be avoided with every ounce of our being. It is for all eternity. It is to confine evil to protect His new heaven and earth where only goodness and righteousness can live.

But God wants us to free ourselves of evil and to live with Him for all eternity in righteousness and love. He gives us every tool to do so. His love for us is so great that He sent His Son to give His life so we could be saved from the captivity of the sin that dooms us to the Lake of Fire. He cannot allow sin and evil in the new heaven and earth He is creating for His family and has given us the gift of scripture to help us understand His plan of salvation. He has given us ministers and teachers to help us understand His words and what we need to do to be found worthy. He is gracious; He helps us; He wants us to succeed.

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