The Eternal State of the Righteous and the Unrighteous

The Eternal state of the Redeemed
Those who have repented and have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord have an eternal future prepared for them in the presence of God. They will live eternally in perfect fellowship with God and in a perfect environment.

Those who have died are already experiencing something of that glory now, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8), but at present all believers are citizens of Heaven, “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself” (Philippians 3:20-21) since they have their names written there, “Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).

As Paul mentions, all believers will be given a new body that will be fit for Heaven, “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly … For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (1 Corinthians 15:45-49, 2 Corinthians 5:1).

There will be eternal rewards to enjoy, “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4), because we are “joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). There is the “Crown of Righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:8), “The Crown of Life” (James 1:12, Revelation 2:10), “The Crown of Glory” (1 Peter 5:4).

Eternally we have the privilege of worshipping God (Revelation 7:10, 11:16-18), and serving Him, (Revelation 22:6). Psalm 16:11 is a perfect commentary on the experiences of the saved in Heaven, “in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore”. This is the place that Jesus has prepared for all those who follow Him, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3).

The Eternal state of the finally impenitent
The Lake of Fire is the final punishment for all who reject Christ in this life, “But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not … Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:12,41).

The Bible describes Hell and the Lake of Fire as real places of eternal torment (Jude :7, Revelation 19:27, 20:14-15, Matthew 13:42,50). It is a place were the punishment never stops, “And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:50). It is a place of total darkness, “Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 22:13). No one can ever escape from this eternal damnation and punishment.

The story of the Rich man and Lazarus found in Luke 16 reveals something of what it is like to be eternally damned. There is not the slightest reprieve, nor can any mercy be shown. The agony of a wasted life will eternally play on the mind, while reflecting on what could have been enjoyed in Heaven if only the person repented during life on earth.

Finally all the dead in Hell, Satan and his angels, will be cast into the eternal Lake of Fire.