“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
The Righteous Get Eternal Life
There is such a thing as eternal punishment. It’s for anyone who is not perfect. Heaven is perfect, and nothing unclean or impure will ever enter there. Eternal means eternal, so eternal punishment outside of heaven doesn’t just come to an end. It’s not a pleasant thought. Hell is not a pleasant place.
Hell is a place of eternal punishment prepared for the devil and his demons outside of the presence of God. Human beings don’t have to go there as long as they’re righteous. That means perfectly holy in every thought and action throughout life.
It’s a tall order. In fact, if you’re honest with yourself, you know you’ve already blown it. Even if you’ve never done anything majorly bad in the eyes of society, you know perfectly well you’re not perfect.
But God did not want you to suffer eternal punishment. So he sent his Son, Jesus, to live the perfect life that you could not live. Jesus was perfectly holy. His righteousness was complete and pure. Then, when he suffered the punishment that he did not deserve by dying on the cross, he declared that he did that for you. And through faith in him, he gave you his righteousness. God made the one who had no sin be sin for us so that in him, we become the righteousness of God. Jesus is the Lord our righteousness.
Now, on judgment day, through faith in Jesus, you will go right to eternal life in heaven. You have the righteousness of Jesus—not your own—as your ticket to heaven, and nothing can take that away from you.
Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness. You took on you what was mine and gave me what was yours. I will thank and praise you forever. Amen.