2 Thessalonians 1:9
Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
1. Of all the ways in which Scripture describes the future blessedness of the elect none has less attraction for the wicked than that which places it in the full enjoyment of God's presence. On all occasions direct reference to Him as near is painful.
2. Yet you would think it very strange and hard if whilst every day you were heaping marks of love on a child he regarded. you simply as a mere machine operating beneficently because you could not help it. This is the treatment, however, to which men subject their Maker.
3. One main reason of this treatment is the constant flow of good gifts from God whether they make any return or not; and so, having never discerned the invisible God in His works and gifts here, they see no reason why in another world it should not be the same. Where can the bliss be of seeing God's countenance shine full on the soul, no beam of which has been ever sought or wished for by them here.
4. But when it comes the punishment will be dreadful enough for —
(1) All good things come from God.
(2) But having rejected Him it is but equitable that we should be left to our own resources to find what happiness we may. Banishment from God means —
I. EXCLUSION FROM THIS MATERIAL WORLD with all its natural sources of pleasure, every particle of which is God's.
II. DEPRIVATION OF ALL THAT CAN SATISFY A SINNER'S LUSTS. Think of the misery of a never satisfied hunger and an always raging thirst. The good creatures of God which were once abused are now beyond the reach.
III. THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE GODLY who are taken to God. No one knows how much the world owes to the intermixture of the righteous with sinners, leavening the corrupting mass and shaming evil into dark corners. But the angels will sever the two, and so precisely that no one true servant of God shall be left in the crowd. There is something unspeakably dreadful in the thought of a society which is one mass of sin.
IV. LOVE WILL BE EXTINGUISHED. Very sweet is kindness which God has shed in our hearts as a solace for earthly ills, but there can be no love at all when God is withdrawn, for that means the withdrawal of love as effectually as light at sunset.
V. THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL HAVE DEPARTED. Now, ever striving within, that Spirit does now and then give out a spark of goodness, and overrule here and there that utter wickedness which otherwise would prevail. And even in wicked men we see scattered up and down remainders of something better and higher, just as among the ruin of a great building you see here and there a beautiful fragment unbroken, to remind you of what the whole once was; or as you may sometimes see, when the sun is shining, beauty in things ugly, and when the sun is withdrawn the beauty goes. So it will be with the soul in eternity. At present strive as he will man cannot utterly unstamp his soul of the seal of God. But when God removes His presence the spirit of man becomes wholly evil. Conclusion: The sure Word of God teaches us much else about hell; but the teaching of the text should be sufficient to warn us against it.
(J. Garbett, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;