Punished by God?

Understanding the Love and Grace of God

When you Feel God is Angry at You

By Grantley Morris

We saw in the previous webpages (Feeling Rejected by God and Damned by God?) that when it seems certain that God has rejected us and even damned us to eternal destruction, it is simply our Lord displaying his love and mercy by doing all he can to jolt us back to reality and get serious with God so that we can receive his cleansing and the eternal fulfillment he longs for us to enjoy with him.

If Godís words can sometimes lead us to wrongly suppose weíve been rejected, an even easier to make but way off-the-mark presumption is to suppose that Godís discipline or punishment implies his rejection or lack of love. Over and over Scripture stresses the very opposite. It insists that Godís punishment is proof of his love for us, and confirmation that we are genuine children of God.

    Hebrews 12:5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: ďMy son, do not make light of the Lordís discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, (6) because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.Ē (7)  . . . God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? (8) If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. (9) Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! (10) Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. (11) No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

    And there are many similar Scriptures.

Correctly administered, parental discipline is short-term discomfort that protects loved ones from long-term pain. It should be an act of parental care provided for their loved oneís safety and well-being. As implied in the above Scripture, parents often get it wrong, but God never gets it wrong.

We all die. To ďsaveĒ someoneís life is merely to delay their death for what, relative to eternity, is an infinitesimal speck of time. So if, when it is a matter of life or death, severe action is sometimes required, how much more must this be so when oneís eternal destiny is at stake!

Godís punishment is temporary unpleasantness tailored to maximize our eternal pleasure. It is a loving act designed to nurture and protect and train. To mistake this act of love for rejection would cause enormous confusion and needless distress.

The loving necessity of punishment when oneís eternity is in danger is something we need to understand, not just when we ourselves are being punished, but also when reading in Scripture of God punishing people. For God to strike someone dead means that person did wrong and a strong warning needs to be sent to his or her contemporaries and perhaps even subsequent generations but it usually says little about that personís eternity.

Of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, the Bible says:

    1 Corinthians 10:9 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did Ė and were killed by snakes. (10) And do not grumble, as some of them did Ė and were killed by the destroying angel. (11) These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.

In Scripture we see people losing a ministry, or even dying prematurely, through Godís judgment, but this does not necessarily mean those people were sent to hell. What might send thunderous shockwaves on earth Ė God striking a Christian dead Ė might hardly rate as a ripple in that personís eternity. In stark contrast, the peaceful passing of an elderly person destined for hell is a cataclysmic event for that person and can lull observers into a dangerous spiritual complacency.

To be punished by God might be most unpleasant now but when viewed from eternity it is one of lifeís greatest blessings. It is our God-given opportunity to come to our senses, learn from our mistakes and find Godís forgiveness while we still have time. If a personís eternity is at stake, after death is too late. Godís punishment in this life is a manifestation of his love and grace. In contrast, the greatest conceivable horror would be the Lord letting people go in blissful ignorance of their fate as they drift toward everlasting disaster.

Thereís More:
Donít miss this next page
When God Seems Cold and Indifferent

Warning: These Pages Wonít Help Everyone

Some people terrified about being unforgivable just need Bible-based reassurance or an explanation of a disturbing Scripture. If vast amounts of rational support and biblical exposition are the answer, keep following the links. Many Christians, however, presume this is what they need but it turns out that no amount of biblical proof or sound, theological argument or even spectacular spiritual experience can put their minds to rest. If you have already sought much help but worries keep resurfacing, you most likely need a totally different approach. You should skip these pages (you can return later if you wish) and go straight to Scrupulosity.

Not to be sold. © Copyright, 2004, Grantley Morris. Not to be copied in whole or in part without citing this entire paragraph. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings by Grantley Morris available free at the following internet site www.net-burst.net Freely you have received, freely give.

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Scripture quotations are from the New International Version © Copyright, 1978 by New York International Bible Society

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