“Supremacy of God in Punishment” might sound like an odd title, but one thing that we forget about God, or at least like to put on the back burner, is that God is a God that will punish.
1 Corinthians 15 tells us that there will be a day when all authority, dominion and power that does not confess Jesus as Lord will be destroyed. Philippians 2 tells us that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that “Jesus is Lord.” This is something that will happen.
We all know from numerous passages in both the Old and New Testament that God will punish His people. Isaiah 48:10 and 17 “See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” “This is what the LORD says — your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.’”
We know from Hebrews 12 that God will discipline us. “And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.’” (Verses 5-6)
When the Children of Israel were led out of bondage in Egypt they came to Mount Sinai where they received the TEN COMMANMENTS. God came down on the Mount before all of the people. We read that it was a terrifying experience. “You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: ‘If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.’ The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, ‘I am trembling with fear.’” Hebrews 12:18-21
We see that this standing before God was a tangible, terrifying experience because their senses were involved. They could see, smell, touch, hear and even taste. Like Moses said: “The sight was so terrifying I am trembling with fear.”
However, in the New Testament this is not our experience. Our experience with God is not a tangible or terrifying experience. We come to Mount Zion and our senses are not involved. WE come by grace and we sense God’s forgiveness, love and presence with us. It is not the same experience that we find with God’s people at Mount Sinai.
We need to keep in mind that the same God who met with Moses and the Children of Israel at Mount Sinai is the same God that meets with and saves us today. The same God we read about in the Old Testament is the same God that we read about in the New Testament.
He will punish all wrong doing. He is a God of justice. Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians 1:6 “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you.” And in verse 8 He says: “He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” Verse 9 goes on to tell us: “They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.”
We might not like to talk about a God who brings punishment, but we need to understand that there is a heaven and hell, and there is eternity.
Reformation brings us back into the reality of who God really is. In our day and age we have become very flippant about God. One of the things that Isaiah is bringing out to God’s people is that God is an awesome God. Several times God asks the question to His people through the prophet Isaiah: “To whom will you compare me?”
There is nothing that God can be compared to. He is above and beyond all. We need to come back to the acknowledgement of who God is in all His character traits.