Truth Torments the Wicked: Insight into an Abuser’s Mind and the Real Nature of His Tears
The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:41-42)
…and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.” (Luke 16:23-24)
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. (1 Peter 3:18-20)
Two things have kept me awake tonight, so I gave up, got up, and decided I had better write about them. Both pertain to the title of this article: Truth Torments the Wicked. Let me explain.
A friend, an abuse survivor, told me that her abuser had contacted her after she left him and said something like this: “I am crying my eyes out. I would not wish this on anyone!” Now, understand. This man has done many very cruel things to this lady. This “Christian” man has done evils I wish I could tell you about, but for her protection I will not give details. He is “crying his eyes out” because she has called him on his wickedness, left him, and is done with him. NOT because of the many cruel things he has regularly done to her, but because HE is in this torment. And, of course, his statement is a covert accusation against her. Can we complete his sentence? Yes we can – “And it is all your fault. You are so cruel to put me through this pain.”
The second thing that has kept me from sleeping tonight is what the Apostle Peter said in a rather mysterious Scripture he wrote in his first letter, 1 Peter 3:18-20, quoted above— “He [Jesus} went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison because they formerly did not obey.” Strange, huh? Let me suggest a principle derived from this passage and which, I believe, is supported elsewhere in Scripture –
The real torment that the wicked will experience in eternity, in that ‘outer darkness,’ is most certainly not any kind of repentance or authentic sorrow over their evils, specifically their wickedness of rejecting Christ. No. Their torment originates largely (if not primarily) in Christ’s exposure of their true nature, of their evils, and of the fact that He is indeed the Son of God who gave them many, many opportunities to repent of their sin and submit to Him. But they would not. They refused to ‘kiss the Son’ and His wrath was kindled (Psalm 2)
Like our poor, pathetic, pitiful abuser whining that he is crying his eyes out and that his pain and suffering are just unbearable, the wicked in hell wail and howl. But certainly not out of repentance or some kind of regret for their sins. Their crocodile tears are shed because Jesus is Lord, and they are not. That rich man who had ignored the suffering of Lazarus, did he cry out in Hades because he was so distraught that he’d not been compassionate to Lazarus? No. The rich man’s crying was all about him. HE was in torment. And if his brothers end up in the same spot as he, well, it was because Christ did not warn them or provide them adequate proof of the truth of His Word. Christ, in truth, would rise from the dead and they still would not have Him as Lord.
My friend’s abuser was not suffering because of the torments of his conscience, but simply because the truth had come out, he was exposed, and now it is time to pay the consequences.
I have no doubt that this very mentality, this hatred of Christ and His truth, is energized by the hatred of light by the darkness.
And this, I believe, is why Christ (after He was crucified and before He rose again) went in spirit to these wicked ones in their prison. To proclaim to them His glory. To preach to them that He is Lord, that He offered them salvation in the ark in their day, but they wickedly spurned Him and mocked His servant Noah. They are tormented, you see, by truth.
For the most part we here at ACFJ and most all of you, our readers, deal with wicked people who claim to be Christians. These are people who have been exposed to the truth of the gospel over and over and over again. They sit in church or parade themselves as eminent saints, week after week. They hear of their need to repent and get into the ark, but they will not. They have tasted of the kindness of the Lord, but in the end they hold the Son of God up for crucifixion and mocking –
For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. (Hebrews 6:4-6)
Do not pity them. Do not be drawn in by their tears and wailings. This is not repentance. It is all about them. These are the tears of rage against truth, against the exposure of their evils, against the Lord Jesus Christ as King of kings. I suppose you might say that their hell is of their own making.