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A Web Magazine of Arts, Culture and Orthodox Christian Spirituality

God Does Not Punish Anyone?

In his latest Youtube address, Father George Maximov, a prominent missionary of the Russian Orthodox Church, gives an answer to those who argue that God never punishes sinners, and that no one should talk about it, because it is not true.

Father George first cites the passages from the Holy Scriptures that testify about God's punishment. In Psalm 98:8-9, the psalmists sings:

Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together

Before the Lord; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.

Further, in Job 5:17-18, it is written:

Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:

For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.

Finally, in Hebrews 12:7-9, Apostle Paul writes:

If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

Furthermore 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?

Father George then turns to the idea often expressed by some of those who do not understand faith correctly that God would be sadistic if he punished sinners. A sadistic person gets satisfaction from punishment, however, and God does not, he says. God is like a doctor who does not enjoy a painful procedure a patient has to undergo, but he does it only to cure him.

The final argument is against those who say that  the sinner punishes himself by choosing sin. That is only half of the truth, Father George says, because God has established this world as it is, so the sinner punishes himself, but the Lord does it as well.

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