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Cover Article

God's correcting love

From the March 1994 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Among the twenty-six subjects addressed in the weekly Bible Lessons
 In the Christian Science Quarterly. that Christian Scientists study and use as the sermons in their church services on Sunday is one called "Everlasting Punishment." It might sound like a rather grim topic, but a more upbeat view was shared with me by a dear fellow church member.

She explained to me how she had approached this subject when she was First Reader in her branch church and was responsible for organizing its Sunday service. She said that she tended to choose more jolly hymns and a very joyful solo to be sung on the day when "Everlasting Punishment" was the topic. Her reasoning? As she saw it, the main point of this Lesson-Sermon topic is to teach us that there is actually no such thing as everlasting punishment. In fact, by contrast, the Bible specifically points out that God's loving kindness and mercy are forever enduring. In truth, the adjective everlasting belongs exclusively to all God's good and blessing qualities, and not to punishment.

The heartening, spiritually sound explanation that punishment for sin is not everlasting is accompanied, however, by a sober lesson that also needs to be learned—namely, that sin is indeed punished until it is finally relinquished. The nature of sin is that it is self-punishing—and its suffering is felt by the individual who engages in the wrong behavior.

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