We trick ourselves fearfully if we do not come to grips with the reality that everyone is immortal; that elves from Lord of the Rings or vampires from Twilight are a deal closer to reality than we like to believe. We, our loved ones, from the little cousin, nephew or niece, or friends tat was born yesterday; to our oldest acquaintances will be somewhere for the rest of eternity.
The will either be where they don’t deserve: in a place where their highest ecstasies in devotion, the most blessed hymns, even that thrill that goes down their back when they read about what Moses saw when God gave him a glimpse of His glory, will seem a shadow. We will be so close, so overwhelmingly close, to the One we have to fight to keep in our thoughts, that even the thought of forgetting Him will be as impossible as the Godhead changing; He will be the light that fills everything around us, and we will not even have to think about cultivating love for Him: it will consume us. And it will not last only until we have to get up off the basement floor. It won’t be drowned out by some noise from outside, nor will we think to lose the sense of God’s nearness by sinning. It will last, and last, and last, like nothing we ever dreamed of: and it will be clean, and good, because God will be all in all. And we will not be out-of-place, for we shall be clothed in blood-washed linen that we know will not perish: that’s one leaf of immortality.
Or, there are those who will be cast into the places they deserve to be. They cannot possibly die a death painful and long even to equal the pain of one moment in that place. They will be amongst fire, amongst worms, amongst every conceivable bad thing, and they will have no consolation of eventual relief: all they can possibly look forward is this continuing, and no counting down the days; they will look forward to nothing: but they will look back, back on the Grace the spurned. They will dwell with the remembrance that on the Cross Christ suffered more than any of they ever will or ever can. They will have looked upon the inconceivable Holiness of God, whom they have offended; and they will have seen the Father, who for them crushed His Son whom He loved, who even was in His bosom; and they will have the remembrance that they regarded it as not good enough. They will have none on whom to lean. They will see that they must suffer for all Eternity, because in time they would not look away from themselves. And they will have heard the creation, which had groaned in agony for so long, cheer to be rid of their filth.
There must be no tricking ourselves with idle questions as to whether we are elect or not; on this earth, we are commanded to repent and believe. Believe, and we shall be saved, and we will spend the next trillion years in marvel that we were rescued from the fate that we had chosen by rejecting Christ for so long.
We must all long, long, long unceasingly that our understandings would be enlightened so that we would really see what this word eternity means, and that it would be brought to bear on our every day lives.