Day 41: Righteous Judgement for Ungrateful Guests

Last Friday, through Jesus’ parable about the King’s wedding guests, we examined the importance and benefits of accepting God’s invitation into His kingdom.

Today, we’re going to look at the less rosy side: the fate of those who decline.

In Jesus’ parable, many people decline an invitation to the wedding of the King’s son, which promises to be an epic party. Some indifferently say, “No thanks,” before returning to work. Others go so far as to mistreat and even kill the messengers the king sent out.

This was not a wise choice.

“The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.” (Matthew 22:7)

While that fate may sound a bit harsh, I can’t help but side with the king here. He offered nothing but blessings to these people, and they chose not only to decline, but to destroy his messengers. What a slap in the face… can you really blame him for retaliating?

A number of prophets and disciples were executed for their faith: John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-12), Stephen (Acts 7:54-60), and James (Acts 12:1-2) were but a few who gave their lives for Christ. Can you imagine how upset God must have been at the people who murdered innocents He sent to deliver His message?

In Jesus’ parable, the king actively sent out an army to destroy those who defied him. God won’t always take that route – He certainly could, but if He did, the population of this earth would be much lower.

Denying Jesus’ sacrifice and declining God’s invitation to Heaven won’t necessarily earn you death or even punishment on earth, but the long-term ramifications are devastating. Those who don’t believe are doomed to an eternity of suffering in hell.

God’s word offers plenty of examples of how humans can save themselves from this crushing fate. Among the many:

  • “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the same of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” – Acts 2:38
  • “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
  • “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”- Romans 10:9

I could go on and on; point being, it’s not hard to find Biblical instruction about how to get to Heaven. On the same token, there’s much written about those who choose to reject God’s invitation:

  • “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” – Revelation 21:8
  • “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” – Matthew 25:46
  • “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.” – Mark 9:43

Yikes.

Trust me, I know how tempting it is to accept the world’s invitation over God’s. The world promises benefits in the here and now; God promises suffering, but unthinkable blessings in the future. Of those options, it seems far easier and beneficial to appease the world.

Just read those verses again. Trust me, you want to accept God’s wedding invitation. Those who do will live in paradise forever. Those who don’t will wish they had.