The Unsaved Will Be Judged According to the Light They Have Received.

We are continuing from yesterday our meditation about the topic of Hell (scroll below for previous meditations).

I believe that there are different degrees of punishment in hell. Chuck Swindoll has something to say about the degrees of retribution:

There will always be some who will not have as much divine input as others. Because that is true, I believe there will be degrees of eternal punishment. Before you pick up stones to stone me, look closely at the words of Jesus:

47That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked (Luke 12:47-48).

Let’s understand that no one without Christ spends eternity in heaven. But the specifics of how God handles those who are without Christ because they heard so little might very well be answered by the idea of degrees of punishment. But we do know for sure that heaven will not be their home.[1]

Do you think that the degree of influence one has on earth has any bearing on their eternity? I believe so. The greater the influence one has, the greater the accountability and responsibility for that influence. There are people who are in the media’s spotlight who are role models for our young, yet they are living immoral lives. They will be judged more strictly due to their influence over many. Don’t be quick to jump into positions of influence over others. Jesus said for us to take the plank out of our own eyes so that we can take the sliver out of other people’s eyes (Matthew 7:3-5). Every one of us who are Christians are already in a position of influence, especially if you are known in your neighborhood or workplace as a Christian. People are watching you to see how you live your life. Their eternity depends on their response to the message of Christ that can be read from what you say and what you do. We are all teaching to a certain degree, but we are not all teachers. For a teacher, it is crucial to live a life honoring to God:

1Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly (James 3:1).

At the judgment, Christian leaders will be judged more strictly due to the amount of light that they have received and their influential position. Even those who are without Christ, the greater their influence rises, so does the level of accountability. It makes sense that just as there would be different levels of reward for the righteous, there will be differing levels of punishment for those in Hell as well. My prayer is that you consider if you are living according to the light you have received. To whom much is given, much is expected. Place your trust in the Lord Jesus—do it today!

Taken from the series Insights into Eternity found in the middle column. Click on the study The Truth About Hell. Keith Thomas

[1] Charles R. Swindoll, Growing Deep in the Christian Life, Published by Multnomah Press, 1987. Page 324.