2 Thessalonians 1:5 (The persecutions you face) are evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering. 6 For it is indeed just of God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to give relief to the afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes to be glorified by his saints and to be marveled at on that day among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.
Paul writes that when Jesus returns “in flaming fire” he will go about “inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” Paul goes on to say “These will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction” and will be “separated from the presence of the Lord”.
While it’s difficult to identify precisely who Paul is describing in these verses, such persons “who do not know God” or “who do not obey the gospel” will experience something we might refer to as “hell”. It’s not just destruction, it’s described as “eternal” or “everlasting” (from the Greek word “olethron”) meaning it will have no end. It’s everlasting death compared to the everlasting life which is promised to those who call on the name of the Lord.
Hell is not a concept that is widely embraced in our culture, or even in much of the church, but our passage from today is a clear warning. We ignore hell at our peril.
Lord Jesus I admit that hell is not something I give much thought. That said, I’m certain the apostle Paul included this description so that future generations of Christians might understand a vital spiritual truth. Have mercy on us sinners and grant us eternal life for Jesus’ sake. For it’s in his name we pray. Amen.