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Steve Ham, AiG–U.S., closes out this devotional series on eschatology by addressing a very difficult concept.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)
Today’s big question: will those in heaven grieve for people in the lake of fire?
Out of all of the topics covered in the eschatology devotionals, this is a difficult subject to conclude the series. I have relatives who, to my knowledge, did not trust in Christ. Unless they repented and trusted in the Lord on their deathbeds, they will suffer for eternity. This truth greatly saddens me, but it also instills in me an urgency to proclaim the gospel message to all who will listen.
There are two major points to consider in respect to today’s question. First, our verse today gives us part of the answer. There will be no more pain, tears will be wiped away, and there will be no crying or sorrow in the New Jerusalem. Our joy will be fulfilled in Jesus and we will dwell with Him for all eternity.
As sinful humans living in a cursed world and tormented by temptation, we are often distracted and we look for joy apart from Christ. Many of us have even tried to base our joy in our families. This is a dangerous exercise that can lead us down a path of idolatry. While God’s Word consistently upholds the importance of family, we must keep Christ first. Jesus taught there would be people in our own families who will not accept His truth (Matthew 10:34–39). For this reason, raising one’s children to know Christ is the most important work of any parent.
Since our joy will be complete to the point that we will not experience sorrow or pain, we should consider now the godly characteristics that will be completed in us. For example, love will be magnified. Although I have used love in a discriminatory way on earth, there will be no such self-centered, discriminatory thinking and desires in heaven. Those will be eradicated. I will love all who are there with a perfect love and be perfectly loved in return.
Not only will I be joyful for His eternal grace bestowed upon me, but I believe I will rejoice over His eternal justice being delivered on those who rejected Him. Nothing will give me greater cause for joy than to see His glory on full display throughout eternity. All will be perfected and healed in Christ. So no, I will not grieve because “the former things have passed away.”
Today’s big idea: remember, we are going from the tragedy of sin to a perfection of joy, and the focus is on Jesus.
What to pray: pray for your living relatives and friends who don’t know Jesus, and ask God for opportunities to tell the gospel.