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Does God Punish with Sickness?

Today’s Question: I come to you because I am troubled by your article titled "Why bad things Happen to God's People" and "Why does the Old Testament attribute tragedy to God?"

These articles bother me because it does not seem right. It is my conclusion that God does punish His children today and He does discipline His people according to Hebrews 12:1-13.

Not only is it in the New Testament but I have lived it. In 1991 while I was in prayer the Lord told me to quit smoking, but I told the Lord, "No, I will cut down but I will not quit!" A few days later my left lung collapsed. I went to the hospital, was treated and released in a couple of days. During the next few days I had smoked about 7 cigarettes. My lung collapsed again. After my release from the hospital I finally quit. I have no doubt that God was punishing me because of my sin.

In Acts 5:1-11 it appears as though God killed two people to make a point. And in Acts 12:19-25 it is very clear that God was the cause of Herod’s death. Though Herod was not a believer, Ananias and Sapphria were.

Here are some more NT scriptures that seem to oppose your doctrine: 1Corinthians 3:10-18; 1Corinthians 5:1-5

Rev. F. Tusing

Bible Answer: Thanks for your kind email. Even though you may disagree with my article, I'm glad that it got you to study the Word of God. I have received quite a bit of mail and calls over my articles. Most of them were positive, but a few were not.

Let me say in response to your email: God does punish us as Hebrews 12 says, but not "according to the flesh" like our dads did by spanking us, but He punishes us spiritually because He is the "father of our spirits" (Heb. 12:9). He punishes us according to the Word. The Word of God is God's paddle, not lung disease.

God did not cause your lung to collapse, your smoking did. You reaped what you sowed. The fact that God warned you to stop smoking shows that God was trying to protect your from becoming sick. Can't you see that He wanted you well, just like you want your children well?

Concerning Ananias and Sapphira falling dead because they lied to the Holy Spirit, notice that the Bible does not say that God struck them dead. So don't read more into that passage than what the Bible actually says.

Concerning Herod being struck by an angel: God has a right, and in fact, an obligation to protect His people from harm. Herod was killing Christians, and God was correct to exercise defense for His children. If someone tried to kill my wife and children, I would be well within my rights to protect my family even if it meant using force to do it. This is what God did with Herod. That is far different than claiming that God makes His children sick.

Concerning 1 Corinthians 3:10-18, that Scripture is talking about judgment after we die.

Finally concerning 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, notice that the sinful man is handed over to "Satan, so that his flesh may be destroyed." Why didn't God destroy the man's flesh Himself? Why did God have to hand him over to Satan to have his flesh destroyed? Because God is not a destroyer.

I hope I've satisfied your questions.

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