8th September 2013

Eternal Punishment 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
John 3:16-17 (NIV UK) 

Have you ever punished your child for disobedience? How long did the punishment last? More to the point, Did you declare that that punishment would last forever? Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? We, as weak and imperfect parents, forgive our kids. We might punish them, but how many of us would think it fitting, or even sane, to punish them for the rest of their lives? 

Yet some Christians would have us believe that God, our heavenly Father, who is not weak and imperfect, punishes people forever and ever. And these same people say God is full of grace and mercy! There seems to be a large gap between what we learn from Jesus and what some Christians believe about eternal damnation. Jesus tells us to love our enemies and even to do good to those who hate us and persecute us. But some Christians think that God not only hates his enemies, but literally roasts them mercilessly and relentlessly for eternity. Jesus prayed for his executioners, but some Christians teach that God only forgives a precious few that he predestined to forgive before he even created the world. 

As much as we human beings love our children, how much more does God love them? It’s a rhetorical question—God loves them infinitely more than we are even able to love them. The truth is, God really does love the world. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” The salvation of this world depends on God, and only on God. God sent Jesus to do the job, and Jesus did that job. 

We are, however, blessed to be able to take part in the process of getting the gospel to people, but the actual salvation of the people we love and care about, and also of those we don’t even know, and even those who it seems to us never even heard the gospel—in short, the salvation of everybody—is something God takes care of, and God is really good at what he does. That’s why we put our trust in him, and in him alone! 

Prayer
Merciful Father, the truth of the matter is that we find the depth of your love almost incomprehensible. We don’t have your nature within us, Father, except you grant it to us through the indwelling presence of your Son and the Holy Spirit, which you promised us. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen
 

Study by Joseph Tkach

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joeandtammyAbout the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA.

You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK.  For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

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