The Evangelical Universalist Forum

What is grace if we don't all deserve eternal punishment?

The standard Christian explanation of grace goes something like this: Every sin deserves infinite punishment since it’s an offense against a Being of infinite worth. Everyone is a sinner, so everyone deserves infinite punishment. By sending his son to be punished in our place, God has provided the means for us to escape the infinite punishment we deserve.

As I’ve come to know the wonderful people on this forum, I’ve learned that some (most? all?) don’t think people deserve eternal torment. If we don’t all deserve ET (or annihilation), in what sense does God show us grace?

This is a fair question. I’ll have to do some scriptural research but I don’t think, at first blush, we are told what the eternal punishment for sin might be. We do know what the immediate punishment was to be - banishment from the Garden of Eden, plus temporal pain and suffering followed by the certain death of our bodies. “The soul that sins, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4).

A great many people died during the Noahic flood. But, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen 6:8). He was spared death at that time and was granted a continuance of 450 years of life because he lived a righteous life. But eventually Noah went the way of all flesh and died. Was Noah a type of Christ? He who also lived a perfectly righteous life, but one of infinite worth and who died for sins not of His own?

I have assumed that the doctrine of ER holds to the position that “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor 15:22). Verse 23 follows with the order in which the rebirth will occur, but it includes all of Adam’s seed, down to the last person. Jesus death for all translates into grace imparted to us, sufficient to make us righteous in God’s sight, even as Noah 4,500 years ago.

God’s grace is given to us to deliver us (or save us), not from eternal punishment, but from wrongdoing or “sin” (which I believe to be any act that harms other people or oneself). This grace TRAINS us to live righteously. Jesus Himself made this grace available to redeem us from all lawlessness, and to purify us so that we are ZEALOUS for good works. Paul explains it in his letter to Titus:

For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and to live sensible, righteous, and devout lives in the present age, expecting the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and of our Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; encourage and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:11-15)

So paidion, do you think we don’t deserve to be saved from sin, and that’s what makes it grace? What unmerited favor are we receiving?

I don’t think the common definition of God’s grace as “unmerited favour” is the correct definition. I think “enablement” is the meaning. That fits the context in Titus 2 that I quoted above. Strong’s definition includes the following words: “the divine influence upon the heart”

I don’t understand why you asked your first question. God’s grace has no relevance to what we do or do not deserve. I will say that if we need correction, God will provide it—another indication of His great LOVE for us. If you want to call that “deserving correction” so be it.

Eph.2: 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Grace is there called a gift (v.8). Good gifts are not deserved. They are undeserved kindnessess. They are unmerited favors.

Likewise, mortal life is a gift of God. No one deserves it. So also with the gifts of aionion life, immortal life, incorruption, deliverance from sin, its wages, what it results in, its consequences, etc.

No one deserves endless punishment for finite sins of a relatively momentary lifetime. If a single sin deserved endless torments, then does one who reaches the age of accountability (at 5,10, or 15 years of age, etc), commits one sin & dies, deserve to spend unending ages in torments? If so, then that’s like Augustine’s doctrine that unbaptized babies will suffer in hell forever.

No, there is no ‘deserving correction’ about it. You continually circumvent the whole of the old testament, and continue to paint God in a light that has no relevance outside of your own interpretation.

Grace is only needed when one is due to be punished. Period. If God has an issue with humanity, It was first and foremost with the house of Israel, and the covenantal change which was spoke of as ‘the world meaning the old covenant’, and so that said GRACE (life) was extended to the believing Jews and nations (gentiles) through Jesus at the time he walked the earth. Jesus proclaimed as a prophet what will happen if the listeners would not repent (believe in his coming/came) and history tells the rest of the story. Grace is not needed because of ‘ETERNAL PUNISHMENT’ but grace was because God so loved his people that he sent HIS son.
Gal 1:4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

Heb 9:15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

Isa 44:21 Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.
Isa 44:22 I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.

You have in the past, continually promoted post-mortem correction… And my position is that God has and will always see Christ as a realized redemption, and not a possible salvation dependent on the view one takes at a certain time.


Id say that saying “God is eternal therefor sin against Him is eternal” is a non-sequitor fallacy.

A stone thrown at Christ would not have become eternal just because it was cast at Christ.

Also this presupposes that eternal consequence is the consequence of sin. But scripture teaches that DEATH is the consequence for sin.

ATR, what do you mean by death? Biological death? Or is death a metaphor for separation from God?

Well i suppose both. I dont liken death to a metaphor. Im more of a literalist. If it can be taken literal thats how it should be read, if not “this bread is my body” for instance then figurative is taken. The dead no nothing at all. So, they couldn’t possibly be consciously with God. And without Christ defeating death we would have been separated from God by death. And that death would have been perpetual. But Christ will have all be risen,vivified, and justified. But each in his own order.

The use of the term death in the NT scripture is a covenantal use. God was working at that time, with his covenant people, and thus death was a precursor to the instituting of a new covenant . qaz you know this :roll_eyes:why are you trying to goad people into saying different things?

@Origen I’m confused about your position. You say we don’t deserve salvation and yet no one deserves infinite punishment. So what is it we do deserve (but thanks to Christ do not get)?

I think salvation is an encompassing terms but can mean two different things on the subject given.

ALL are saved from death, sin, suffering and separation from God.

Not all are saved from aionian chastisement, whatever that may be, the second death, and the day of indignation (though I know some preterist will say that already happened but even if so it would still apply)

I think we tend to overgeneralize salvation in that sense. We think salvation means the same thing for the Ecclesia and those who do not yet know God.

And theres a big distinction to be made there.

inb4 I dont mean we as a whole but mostly people tend to think salvation has one meaning when it could have two depending on the subject that is being saved.


The angel said to Joseph, "You shall call His name ‘Jesus’ for He will save His people from their… What? You haven’t mentioned this primary thing from which people ARE BEING saved. And to be saved from THAT is a lifelong process.
However, that process will some day be completed:

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6 ESV)

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I know. In the fullness of time. Just meant that salvation could mean different things to the vessels of honor and vessels of wrath.

But ultimately the same outcome (i.e. the reconciliation of all things.)

Just thought id put my two cents on how salvation can have a double edged meaning.

Also on a side note I know we disagree on somethings but i always enjoy your input! :smiley:

Scripture speaks of those who are worthy of death (Romans 1), the wages of sin is death (Romans 6) & corruption, destruction, ruin (Galatians 6). It also refers to indignation, distress, wrath (Romans 2), torments (Luke 16, Revelation 14, 20), the absence of & loss of God’s presence, the Holy Spirit, etc.

How are those things different from eternal punishment? Are you saying we only deserve them in this life?