When reading through the last bit of Spurgeon’s work, “When Christ Returns”, I was riveted by one of the concepts that he introduced toward the latter half of his book. In the context of the Second Advent of the Lord, he was listing the many things that will take place. Many of them I was already familiar with because they are either repeated through various passages of Scripture or commonly discussed in Christian circles. However, Spurgeon, citing 2 Corinthians 5:10, devoted about the last third of his book to expositing this verse, phrase by phrase, piece by piece.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” -2 Corinthians 5:10 (KJV)
When he got to the second half of this verse (in bold above), I was dumbfounded. I guess I had always glossed over this phrase before, but when Spurgeon slowed me down & approached the verse exegetically, I was challenged and encouraged. After listing the many blessings that the believer has to look forward to, he went on to describe the many things that the unbeliever will face. Spurgeon said:
“But, how terrible for the ungodly it will be! They are to receive the things that they have done, that is to say, the due punishment. Not every man will receive the same punishment: to the greater sinner, the greater doom; to the man who sinned against light, a greater damnation than to the man who did not have the same light…
Not only will the punishment be meted out in proportion to the transgression, but the consequences to be endured will also e a development of the evil actions done, for every man “shall… eat the fruit of [his] own way” (Proverbs 1:31). Sin, in the natural order, ripens into sorrow. This is not blind fate but the operation of a divine law, wise and invariable. How dreadful it will be for the malicious man to gnaw forever on his own envious heart, to find his malice coming back home to him as a bird comes home to roost, to hoot forever in his own soul! How torturous it will be for the lustful man to feel, burning in every vein, lust that he can never gratify; for the wrathful person to be forever raging, with the fire of anger burning like a volcano in his soul; and for the rebel against God to be forever defiant, cursing God whom he cannot touch and finding his curses coming back on himself.
There is no punishment worse than for a man who is sinfully disposed to gratify his lusts, to satiate his bad propensities, and to multiply and fatten his vices. Let men grow into what they would be, and then see what they have become…
Let them give way to their rage and anger, with nothing to check their passions. Let miserly, greedy people go on forever with their greed. It makes them miserable here, but let these things be indulged in forever, and what worse hell could there be? Oh, sin is hell, and holiness is heaven!”
I had never thought of it in those terms before. Never so detailed or thorough. I must confess that I was taken back a bit. It makes perfect sense, but it is heart-breaking just the same, especially as we think of our unbelieving loved-ones suffering this fate. What are your thoughts?