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John concludes his overview of the new heaven and the new earth with a serious and solemn warning. He delineates those who will be excluded from any participation in the blessings of heaven—all unforgiven and unredeemed sinners. There are similar lists of such sinners in 22:15; Romans 1:28--32; 1 Corinthians 6:9--10; Galatians 5:19--21; and 2 Timothy 3:2--5.

The first group excluded from heaven are the cowardly. These are the ones who lack endurance (cf. Matt. 24:13; Mark 8:35). They fell away when their faith was challenged or opposed, because their faith was not genuine. Jesus described such people in the parable of the soils: "The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away" (Matt. 13:20--21). These are the ones who "shrink back to destruction" (Heb. 10:39). In John 8:31 Jesus defined those whose faith is genuine as those who continue in His Word. (For further discussion of this issue, see my books The Gospel According to Jesus [rev. ed., Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994], and The Gospel According to the Apostles [Nashville: Word, 2000].)...

j vimeo.com/63615921

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