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Wendelin's "Christian Theology": Doctrine of the Punishment of Sin

THESIS I:  Hitherto sin.  The punishment of sin follows, [which is] fourfold:  (1.)  Τιμωρία/chastening; (2.)  Δοκιμασία/trial; (3.)  Μαρτύριον/ martyrdom; (4.)  penal Satisfaction.


THESIS II:  Τιμωρία (which nevertheless is called by the more elegant term παιδεία/paideia/child-rearing) is the paternal chastisement of the pious, because of their sins, so that they might learn to hate them, repent, and crucify sin in themselves.

EXPLANATION:  I.  Thus did God chastise David and other saints of old because of their sins, and He chastises even now, not out of hatred, but out of love.  For he that spareth his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him attendeth to his training betimes, Proverbs 13:24.  Whom the Lord leveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth, Hebrews 12:6.  I, as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten, saith the Lord, Revelation 3:19.

II.  To this pertains the bodily death of the pious, which is not a satisfaction for sin, but a judgment of sin so grievously displeasing GOD, and the destruction of sin, a necessary antecedent to entrance into glory.  But, since death, considered in itself, is a grievous judgment of God against sins, and destruction of nature, not without good reason is it terrible to nature.  Whence against the fear and horror of it the believing soul is to be properly fortified:  which is able to be done:  (1.)  If it be persuaded, that the strength of death has been abolished by the death of Christ, Hebrews 2:14, and its sting removed, 1 Corinthians 15:56, and victory over death granted to believers, 1 Corinthians 15:54, 57.  (2.)  If it considers that this is the end of the death of Christ, that He might free us from the fear of death, Hebrews 2:15.  (3.)  If it reflect, that it is not able to be separated from the love of Christ, and of GOD in Christ, even by death, Roman 8:35.  (4.)  If it weigh, that the paternal providence of God is watchful over believers for good, as much in death as in life, Matthew 10:28-30.  (5.)  If it properly consider, that we are freed from so many and so great evils by death, namely, from sin, Romans 6:7, from the miseries that follow sins, Isaiah 57:1, 2, 15, from the assault of the world and the flesh, Revelation 14:13; Ecclesiastes 4:1, 2.  (6.)  If the felicity to which it is advanced by death be always kept before the eyes, 2 Corinthians 5:1, 8; Philippians 1:23; Hebrews 11:10, 16; Luke 16:9.  (7.)  If it rightly attend to the vanity of all things that depend upon this life, and are left by death, Ecclesiastes 2:18.  (8.)  If it keep a fixed eye upon the divine providence, which suffices for all the things concerning which we are solicitous, and without which we can do nothing, to whatever extent this life be prolonged to us.

* III.  It is proven against the Papists that the afflictions of believers are not properly called temporal punishments, inflicted for the satisfaction of divine justice for sins:

(1.)  Because the penal satisfaction of Christ is altogether perfect:  in such a way that no other is needful.

(2.)  Because from God’s reconciled friends, in whom there is no condemnation, no satisfactory punishment is exacted.  But believers are reconciled children, John 1:12, 13; 1 John 3:2; John 15:14, 15; Ephesians 1:5; Romans 5:8, 9; 8:1.

(3.)  Because the afflictions of believers are temporary, Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Hebrews 12:11.  But the punishment of sin, properly so called and satisfactory, is eternal or the equivalent of it.

(4.)  Because those afflictions do not proceed from an angry judge, Hebrews 12:11.


THESIS III:  Δοκιμασία is the affliction of the pious for the purpose of searching out their faith, patience, and constancy.

EXPLANATION:  Affliction and δοκιμασία/trial of this sort was upon holy Job, and David, placed in exile because of Saul.  So also today, through the exiles and persecutions of the pious and Orthodox, their faith and constancy are proven, and afflictions of this sort, which come to us for the sake of Christ and the Gospel, have a certain participation in the cross of Christ, Philippians 3:10; and so because of that they bear great consolation with them, Matthew 5:12; Acts 5:41; James 1:2; 1 Peter 4:14, 16.  There is in them a sort of martyrdom, testimony, and example:  whereby we glorify God before men.  God also often afflicts His own, so that their infirmity might be made known to them and others.  Of this sort was the δοκιμασία/trial of Peter, when he denied Christ.


THESIS IV:  Μαρτύριον is affliction for the purpose of exhibiting a testimony to the true doctrine of salvation, wherewith those that are firm in the faith are exercise:  whom we call martyrs.

EXPLANATION:  I.  When τιμωρία/chastening, δοκιμασία/trial, and μαρτύριον/martyrdom are classed as sorts of the punishment of sins, the language of punishment is taken in a broader signification, wherein it comprehends punishment so called in appearance, which otherwise is referred by Theologians to the impious alone, and affliction, which is attributed to the pious in a special manner.

II.  The Consolations that are set in opposition to the afflictions, and with which the pious raise themselves under the cross and calamities, are:

(1.)  The certainty of the remission of sins and reconciliation with God.

(2.)  The contemplation of providence and of the divine will.

(3.)  The worth of obedience rendered to God.

(4.)  A good and tranquil conscience out of a sense of the divine love.

(5.)  The consideration of final causes, which are God’s glory and our salvation.

(6.)  The comparison of events:  it is better to be chastened for a brief time, and to be afflicted with eternal punishment.

(7.)  The hope of recompense in this life and the next.[1]

(8.)  The examples of Christ and of other Saints.

(9.)  The presence and help of God in afflictions.

(10.)  Total and final deliverance, and that gloriously.

Afflicted man, so that he might be able to obtain solid consolation, ought, (1.)  To acknowledge the afflicting hand of God, Job 1:20, 21; 5:6, 8; Isaiah 26:11 Amos 3:6:  (2.)  To search his ways, and to acknowledge his sins, Job 36:9, 10; Lamentations 3:39, 40:  (3.)  To submit himself in the sight of the Lord and under His mighty hand, James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6; Leviticus 26:41; 2 Samuel 15:25, 26:  (4.)  In humble repentance to seek God’s face, favor, and grace, Psalm 57:1, 2; Lamentations 3:41; Amos 4:12; Hosea 5:15; 6:1; 14:2:  (5.)  To take care that new obedience be produced from those afflictions in every respect, 2 Chronicles 28:22; Isaiah 26:9; Job 36:10; Leviticus 26:18, 21, 22, etc.; Hebrews 12:10:  (6.)  To await patiently the outgate, which God will furnish, 1 Corinthians 10:13; James 5:7, 8, 11; 2 Samuel 15:23; Micah 7:9.  Those that seek unlawful means of deliverance grievously offend God, 2 Kings 1:3, and exchange less evils for great ones, Isaiah 24:18; Amos 5:19.



THESIS V:  Penal satisfaction (which some call τιμωρίαν) is a punishment imposed for sin to satisfy divine justice:  and it is either of eternal duration, which begins in this life, and continues after this life eternally; which sort belongs to reprobates; or is finite, but yet the equivalent of the infinite or eternal; which sort was Christ’s, for the sake of all the elect.

EXPLANATION:  I.  By suffering and dying, Christ furnished a penal satisfaction for the elect, seeing that He redeemed them from eternal death.  Whence in particular it is called in Scripture λύτρον/ransom, ἀντίλυτρον/ ransom, and ἀπολύτρωσις/redemption, that is, the price of redemption, deliverance wrought by the payment of the price.  Matthew 20:28, He came to give His life a λύτρον/ransom for many.  1 Timothy 2:6, He gave Himself an ἀντίλυτρον/ ransom for whomever.  Thus ἀπολύτρωσις/redemption is used in Hebrews 9:15.[2]

II.  But Reprobates themselves are bound to furnish this satisfaction for themselves, and so they begin this in this life, and continue it after this life forever in hell:  for they are never able to satisfy completely.  Concerning the eternity of this penal satisfaction, Scripture speaks time and again.  Matthew 25:41, depart from me, ye cursed, into eternal fire.  Mark 9:43, 44, in which the fire of gehenna is said to be inextinguishable, and that the worm of the impious, that is, the suffering, dieth not.  Daniel 12:2, it is called eternal shame and contempt.  Although sin is committed in time, yet it is just avenged with death, not just temporal, but also eternal:  because it is a crime against the highest and infinite divine majesty, and a defection from God to the Devil.  Why would it be unjust, says Augustine, book 21 of The City of God, inasmuch as the judges of this world, punishing many sins with the sword, banish men forever from the society of this life, for the Lord of the eternal city to cast the impious and His enemies, who sin incessantly, from His city forever, and to hold under the wrath and curse of His law those that are impure, unjust, and perpetually malevolent toward God and the neighbor.

III.  Note:  If we speak exactly, affliction opens more broadly than punishment properly so called.  Whence the distinction of certain learned men is worthy of observation.

There is an affliction, (1.)  on account of unrighteousness, and that either in one’s own person, so that the afflicted might be corrected, which is properly called παιδεία/paideia/child-rearing; or might be condemned, which is denominated τιμωρία/satisfaction:  or in another, so that another might be redeemed, which is called λύτρον/ransom.

(2.)  So that righteousness might be revealed, which is called δοκιμασία/trial.

(3.)  So that righteousness might be oppressed, according to the intention of tyrants, or sealed, according to the intention of God, which is called μαρτύριον/martyrdom.

[1] See Mark 10:30; 1 Timothy 4:8.

[2] Hebrews 9:15:  “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption (ἀπολύτρωσιν) of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
12. Jan.

Westminster Shorter Catechism 20: Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?

Answer: God having, out of his mere good pleasure, from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life,1 did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer.2 

1 Eph. 1:4.

2 Rom. 3:20,21,22; Gal. 3:21,22.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
12. Jan.

Westminster Confession of Faith 6:6. Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto,1 doth, in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner,2 whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God,3 and curse of the law,4 and so made subject to death,5 with all miseries spiritual,6  temporal,7 and eternal.8 

1 1 John 3:4.

2 Rom. 2:15; Rom. 3:9,19.

3 Eph. 2:3.

4 Gal. 3:10.

5 Rom. 6:23.

6 Eph. 4:18.

7 Rom. 8:20; Lam. 3:39.

8 Matt. 25:41; 2 Thess. 1:9.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
12. Jan.
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