There are two quite wrong ways to come to terms with the biblical teaching on the eternal punishment of the lost. One is annihilationism, which says the lost will simply cease to exist after this life. The other is universalism, which says in the end everyone will be saved.

Both positions are clearly and decisively refuted in Scripture, yet they continue to be promoted, even sometimes by those claiming to be Bible-believing Christians, or evangelicals. Three texts are often appealed to by the universalists, so let me address each.

But first, bear in mind several basic principles of hermeneutics:
-any passage which is somewhat obscure must be assessed in light of more clear passages.
-any passage which seems to contradict a majority of other texts must be read in that light.

If we simply observed these fundamental rules of biblical interpretation, there would be little reason for anyone to drift into the error of universalism. Viewing Scripture as a whole, it is abundantly clear that humanity faces two different eternal destinies. Those who now willingly bow the knee to God and accept his provision of salvation will spend eternity with Him, while those who now reject God and his offer of salvation will seal their own fate. One day they will bow as well, but unwillingly at the final judgment of God, and they will then spend eternity cast out of his presence.

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