Is God’s punishment forever? 

“Yes,” some might say, because in Hebrews 10:26, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we’ve received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” 

But didn’t Israel in the Old Testament deliberately keep on sinning after they received the knowledge of the truth, and didn’t Paul ask, “Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all,” Romans 11:11

Two complete opposites, so which one is true? Or can both be true? – taking into account Paul’s statement later on in Romans 11 that we “Consider therefore the kindness and the sternness of God,” verse 22

So there are two sides of God to “consider,” not just one or the other. On the one hand, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows,” Galatians 6:7. So God is stern, all right. He’ll “give to each person according to what he has done,” Romans 2:6, and in verse 8, “for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger” when “the day of God’s wrath, his righteous judgement will be revealed,” verse 5

So to those who think God is all compassion and love, and he happily offers amnesty for all our nonsense as though it never existed, think again, because God lets the full weight of our stupidity and rebellion land on us, so we get the point that there are consequences.

But back in verse 4, Paul sounds a little testy when he asks, “Do you show contempt for his kindness and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you to repentance?” Hey, don’t forget that side of God too, that God in his kindness wants us to wake up to our nonsense and stop doing it, so there aren’t any more nasty consequences. 

So there are two sides of God to consider, and both mentioned together in Isaiah 40 in his dealings with Israel. He starts off in verse 1 saying, “Comfort my people, speak tenderly to Jerusalem” – so here’s his kindness. But why is he being so kind? It’s because Israel’s “hard service has been completed, her sin has been paid for, she’s received double for all her sins at the Lord’s hand,” verse 2

God in his sternness didn’t let Israel get away with anything, even doling out double the dose of punishment they deserved. But never did his mercy, kindness and patience fail them either. So we’ve got both points to consider when asking, “Is God’s punishment forever?”

One thought on “Is God’s punishment forever? 

  1. The very first aria of Handel’s Messiah is from Isaiah 40 verses 1-3. It is hauntingly beautiful. My favourite rendition is the one from VOCES8 in a 1½ hour concert. This aria is at 3:15 in the video below. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a clip of just this number alone. However, the entire concert is worth watching and listening to. This particular version of Handel’s Messiah has been abridged from the complete 2½ hour oratorio.


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