Question 18: Will God allow our disobedience and idolatry to go unpunished? | Luke 16:19-31

QUESTION: Will God allow our disobedience and idolatry to go unpunished?

ANSWER: No, every sin is against the sovereignty, holiness, and goodness of God, and against his righteous law, and God is righteously angry with our sins and will punish them in his just judgment both in this life, and in the life to come.

  • For many Christians and non-Christians, the idea of God’s eternal judgment is often hard to discuss or explain. Why do you think that this is?
  • What feelings are personally brought forth when reflecting on this?

  • God is angry with our sins and will punish them in both this life and the next. 
  • It would be unjust of God to leave sins unpunished against his sovereignty, holiness, and goodness. 
  • God’s punishment and separation of good from evil is a method of protecting all that he loves and his people.

Luke 16: 19-31
“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”
In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man exhibits signs of idolatry in his actions, clothes, food, excesses. In the end, God’s separation of the rich man from Lazarus serves as a method of protection for Lazarus. 
  • What are some ways that our culture or ourselves bring to reality the life and actions of the rich man? 
  • Why would God need to protect his people from this? 
  • Do you sense or see any forms of idolatry in the things that you described?

  • What would our new world look like once God’s separation of good and evil becomes a reality? 
  • What are some things that would no longer exist in this new world? 
  • With all this in mind, does this change the way you would talk with someone in our culture who does not attend church or has severe reservations about God’s judgment? Does this answer any personal questions or objections you have?

Pay attention this week to the way that the culture around us represents the rich man. Ask God to protect us from these today and for all eternity.

Righteous Lord, if we think that we are good, we deceive ourselves. We deserve your wrath. We have broken your commands, and we have not loved you with our whole hearts, minds, and strength. We can only plead the righteousness of Christ and ask you to let our punishment fall on him. Amen.