God’s Justice often punishes sin even in this life

October 17, 2021 • 2 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 295

Different causes multiply the miseries of the sinner. God, Who is a just Judge, sends them suffering, that crime may not remain unavenged; for though the punishment of sin is generally reserved for the next world, it sometimes begins in this.

The government of Divine Providence equally embraces nations and individuals. Thus we see that sin, when it has become general, brings upon the world universal scourges, such as famines, wars, floods, pestilences, and heresies.

God also frequently inflicts on individuals punishments proportioned to their crimes. For this reason He said to Cain: “If thou do well, shalt thou not receive? but if ill, shall not sin”—that is, thy punishment—“forthwith be present at the door?” [Gen. iv. 7.]

Moses gave a like warning to the Jewish people: “Thou shalt know that the Lord thy God is a strong and faithful God, keeping His covenant and mercy to them that love Him, and to them that keep His commandments, unto a thousand generations; and repaying forthwith them that hate Him, so as to destroy them without farther delay, immediately rendering to them what they deserve.” [Deut. vii. 9, 10.]

Observe how strongly the idea of punishment in this life is shown by the expressions forthwith, without delay, immediately. They clearly indicate that besides the future punishment of their crimes the wicked will suffer for them even in this world.

Hence the many calamities which they endure. Hence the incessant trials, anxieties, fatigues, and necessities, of which they are keenly sensible, and which, in their blindness, they regard as the inevitable conditions of nature rather than the punishment of their sins.

For as they do not recognize natural advantages as benefits from God, and therefore do not thank Him for them, neither do they regard the calamities which overtake them as the marks of His displeasure, and consequently receive no benefit from them.

Other misfortunes, such as imprisonment, banishment, loss of fortune, come upon the wicked through God’s representatives upon earth, the ministers of justice. Dearly bought, then, is the pleasure of sin, for which they pay a hundred-fold even in this life.

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