return to homepage

Sin and Punishment

Sin and punishment need to be considered together because, after all, doesn't every sin need to be punished? Let's consider the question "what is sin made of?"

You may have heard the idea that it is sin which will be burned up and if you hold on to your sins you will burn too. This is a certainly better (and more Biblically-correct) than the idea that God burns the lost forever but is it even true?

Is sin combustible? Can it be burned up? Sin is composed of not combustible, physical substances but of ideas, attitudes, beliefs and heart motives. The two root elements of sin are lies and selfishness.

What counteracts lies? It is truth, the spirit of truth. And what destroys selfishness, self-seeking? It is love that purges it out, the spirit of love.

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." (John 16:13)
"We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." (1 John 4:6)
"We love him, because he first loved us." (I John 4:19)

"In Rev 14:9-10, the "wine of the wrath of God" is associated with fire and brimstone and is said to occur "in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb." But isn't it supposed to be Satan and wicked angels that are stoking the flames of hell while Jesus and the holy angels are with the saved in heaven? It is helpful to look at some word meanings here.

Brimstone is translated from the Greek word "theion" (Strong's #2302) which is from the Greek word "theios" (Strong's #2304) which has these definitions in the on-line Bible:

from 2316; TDNT-3:122,322; {See TDNT 305 } adj
AV-divine 2, Godhead 1; 3
1) a general name of deities or divinities as used by the Greeks
2) spoken of the only and true God, trinity
2a) of Christ
2b) Holy Spirit
2c) the Father

Related words are: theology, theologian, theological etc. Brimstone seems to have a connection with the very presence of God similar to how fire is associated with His presence. Satan himself was familiar with the fire of God's presence:

"Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee." (Ezek 28:14-15)

The final lake of fire scene is explained on this page.

Those who have lived in the darkness of misapprehension of God's character cannot take the light of truth - it causes agony of mind. When Jesus arrives at the Second Coming there is an effect described in this verse:

"And then shall that Wicked (the papacy and Satan, it's not here talking of the wicked in general)
be revealed, (their true identity and their works will become evident)
whom the Lord shall consume
with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy (Strong's #2673)
with the brightness (Strong's #2015, epiphaneia, epiphany, translated as appearing -5, brightness-1)
of his coming: (2 Thess 2:8)

The word here translated as "destroy" is from the Greek word "katargeo" and it often had the meaning of "to do away with," "make of none effect" etc rather than to destroy something. Even where it is translated with the word "destroy," in context, it can be seem to mean more like "to do away with."

The word translated as "brightness" is translated most often (5 times) as "appearing" and only in this one verse as "appearing." It doesn't seem to make sense to translate it as "appearing" as in arrival at the Second Coming as that would mean essentially the same as the last words of the verse: "of his coming." It seems it must refer more to the idea of appearance as what at person looks like or what is revealed by their presence. The brightness in this verse may not be referring to great luminosity (megawatts of light) so much as it is truth that is revealed.

So sin and punishment is not a matter of God roasting people in fire and brimstone for all eternity because He is so angry with them (how sick a concept is that!). Rather, sin and punishment is more like a realization on the part of the lost of what their sinfulness has cost them. There will be intense mental anguish within the lost as they comprehend that they have thrown away eternal life by their choices.  

Prophecy Newsletter
Receive free newsletters reporting and analysing world events related to prophecy.
The Greek has multiple words for forgiveness? God forgives (charizomai) whether we ask or not. Receiving forgiveness (apheimi) is by our choice.
God always forgives!


New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Please leave a comment below.