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Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

The Bible speaks about the destruction of those who choose to live according to their sinful nature. Is this the same as being thrown into the Lake of Fire? Exactly what does it mean to draw back to destruction?


But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. (Hebrews 10:39)

There is a similar statement in the Book of Galatians.

The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:8)

Both of these warnings are addressed to Christian people, not to unbelievers.

Notice that shrinking back and being destroyed is contrasted with believing and being saved. Also, reaping destruction is contrasted with reaping eternal life. Destruction! Being saved! Reaping eternal life! I wonder if being destroyed is equivalent to being thrown into the Lake of Fire.

As I pondered the possibility of a sinning Christian being destroyed (whatever that means) I realized how apostate our Christian teaching has become. We keep insisting that a Christian has nothing to worry about. We have successfully removed the fear of God from the churches.

This emphasis is of Satan, there is no doubt about that!

The problem is, no matter what we have been taught, or think, or believe, the words of the Scripture will remain true and faithful. This means numerous Christians in America are facing a dreadful future, because they are living according to their sinful nature and trusting in “grace” to bring them to Paradise.

We had better face the truth. God is a Spirit, our Creator, and He does not say things He does not mean.

Paul knew the terror of the Judgment Seat of Christ. Do we?

Satan hopes God will relent and he will not be thrown into the Lake of Fire. His hope is unfounded. The American Christians of today are hoping God will relent and they will go to Paradise in their lust, worldliness, rebellion, and self-will. Their hope is unfounded. The Word of Jesus Christ through His Apostles will stand forever.

We had better start thinking about what it means to be destroyed.

Paul had some things to say about an incestuous believer in Corinth:

Hand this man over to Satan, so the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. (I Corinthians 5:5)

The Greek term is “flesh”—that his flesh, or body, may be destroyed. We are speaking now of the destruction of the flesh during his lifetime that his spirit may be saved in the Day of Christ.

The Lord Jesus said something interesting:

And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. (Matthew 5:30)

And notice the following:

And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind. (Isaiah 66:24)

Observe also:

But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. (Revelation 19:20)

The expression “were thrown alive” means in their body.

In the same manner, the expression “they came to life” in the following passage means they came back to life in their body.

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)

Please do not think I am suggesting that the spirits of people will escape punishment and just their body will be destroyed.

It seems to me the Scriptures teach that people will be conscious somewhere for eternity. I see no basis for believing shrinking back to destruction means some people will become extinct, meaning they no longer will exist.

The Scripture mentions being tormented forever in the Lake of Fire, and also that some will be wandering stars dwelling in eternal darkness.

Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. (Matthew 25:46)
They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. (Jude 1:13)

The term “eternal” applies both to punishment and life.

The following is related to our discussion:

But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish. (II Peter 2:12)

God so loved the world He gave His only-begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. Again we see perishing contrasted with eternal life.

We still have not answered the question of what it means to shrink back and be destroyed.

The New Testament does not emphasize escaping Hell and going to Heaven. The emphasis is on destruction and eternal life.

Eternal life is life lived in the Presence of God and Christ. I don’t think the accent is on duration but on quality. No doubt life goes on forever, but eternal life is Christ Himself. He is the Resurrection and the Life.

Since perishing, or destruction, is contrasted with eternal life, perhaps destruction means life that goes on forever but without Christ. The individual has been cut out of the Vine because he or she did not bear the fruit of Christ’s image.

Somehow the body is a major consideration. I think we will experience eternal life, the Life of Christ, in our body. Or else we will continue to exist somewhere without Christ, in our body, and in torment.

And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind. (Isaiah 66:24)

At the Judgment Seat of Christ we will receive the things done in our body, whether good or bad.

The firstfruits of the Bride are clothed in the white raiment of their own righteous behavior.

Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) (Revelation 19:8)

If the victorious saints are to be clothed with their righteous acts, will those who shrink back be clothed with their unrighteous acts? Probably so.

Notice carefully:

The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:8)

From that nature, literally, from the flesh. He who sows to his own flesh, from the flesh will reap corruption.

If we obey the Holy Spirit each day, we will reap eternal life from the Spirit. If we obey our fleshly impulses each day, we will reap corruption, or destruction. We reap life from the Spirit. We reap destruction from our sinful flesh.

The issue is the Day of Resurrection. We who are pastors and teachers should be emphasizing the Day of Resurrection, not going to Heaven. The New Testament emphasizes what will happen to us at the resurrection.

It is possible, then, that shrinking back to destruction means in the Day of Christ we Christians, if we have not pressed forward to the rest of God, to untroubled rest in the Person and will of the Father, will be clothed with our own unrighteous behavior. We have reaped corruption and destruction. We are not fit for the Kingdom of God. We have not been found worthy of the Kingdom of God.

We then may be saved by being brought through intense fires, having lost all inheritance, being permitted to enter the new world as a naked spirit. Or, at the discretion of Christ, we may be thrown into the Lake of Fire, there to be tormented forever; or assigned to wander forever in the blackest of darkness.

Our day is one of deception. We are being taught that it is not all that serious. If we accept Christ, but keep on living in the flesh, who cares? We will go to Paradise by grace. In fact, we are just about to be caught up to Heaven in a “rapture.”

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. (I John 3:7)

We are in the last days and we are living in a delusion. The current teaching is coming from Satan, not from the Lord Jesus Christ.

The wise believer will go to the Lord and ask for the wisdom and strength to gain victory over the world, his fleshly lusts, and his self-will. Christ will forgive his sins and help him overcome his sinful passions. His past misbehavior will not be mentioned to him.

But this is serious business. Calvary is serious business. Let no American Christian continue to believe the warnings of the New Testament no longer apply and he will be spared because of God’s love. The warnings apply in full force. We ignore them at our peril!

(“Shrinking Back to Destruction”, 3766-1)

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