Revelation 21:6-8 (NKJV)
6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
St. John describes heaven as the New Jerusalem where all tears will be wiped away and there will be no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain. Those in this life who believe by God-given faith in Christ’s atoning work of paying for their sins will inherit heaven. There our bodies, according to St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15), will be incorruptible, honorable, glorified, and spiritual; our bodies will no longer be ravaged and affected by or with sin. As John writes in Rev 21:4, the “former things” (the sinful nature and existence) “will pass away.” What a glorious existence to look forward to! We will be forever with Christ in all His glory never again be affected by sin. We will be in the eternal presence not only of our Triune God, but also all those who have gone before us in the one true faith. Prior to this, our human and sinful bodies must die and will be changed by God into acceptable bodies in order to inhabit heaven.
On the contrary, this is what is in store for all those who do not believe in Christ’s work for them: the “unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” What an utterly horrible eternal verdict! Lord, have mercy on all those who choose to deny Christ’s offer of full forgiveness and pardon.
Dear Christian, by faith in Christ and His promises to you, you need not fear that second and eternal death, for Christ has put his name on you in Holy Baptism and enters into you with His very body and blood in His Supper to give you forgiveness of sins and strengthen your faith. These things will bolster and uphold you throughout this earthly life until He calls you to that glorious and sinless life of the world to come.
Let us pray: O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy, be gracious to all who have gone astray from Your ways and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of Your Word; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.