The Nature Of Punishment

The office of punishment to correct and reform, as punishment is explained in the New Testament, demonstrates that it is to be followed by reformation and restoration. In Matt. 25: 46, where certain wicked are sent away into "everlasting punishment," the word "everlasting" denotes - as is its usual meaning in the Bible - long but not endless duration, and the word punishment is a translation from kolasin, which means to prune. These are sent away to be pruned, that is improved; this is the exact meaning of the language. Paul conveys this idea:

To deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 1 Cor. 5: 5. We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of Spirits and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Heb. 12: 9-11.

We must therefore charge God with being unable to accomplish his purpose in the punishment he inflicts, or we must admit that his pruning, sooner or later, causes those punished to yield to God "the peaceable fruit of righteousness," by "partaking of his holiness." Hence all God's punishments must end in reformation.

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