Part One

by Joseph E. Kirk

   The teaching of the Scriptures concerning the salvation of all through Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 4:9-11; 2:3-6; Rom. 5:12,18,19; Col. 1:12-23; 1 Cor. 15:20-28; Phil. 2:5-11) is not at variance with the teaching of the Scriptures concerning the wrath of God and the condemnation of the wicked (Rom. 1:18-32; 2:1-16; Rev. 20:11-15; Mark 9:42-48; Mat. 25:31-46 etc.)

   The salvation of all and the punishment of the wicked seem incompatible to many because the facts God has revealed have not been ascertained. Misunderstanding the true nature of death, which is “the wages of sin” (Rom. 6:23; Rom. 5:12; Gen. 2:17 cp. Gen 5:3-5), is at the bottom of the difficulty. Faulty translation of the Scriptures from the original tongues into English has blacked out much of the light God has provided--what God has limited men have extended. Traditions of men which make the word of God of none effect (Mark 7:6-11), and “twisting the Scriptures” from their inspired setting and meaning further add to the darkness (2 Pet. 3:15,16).

The outstanding facts revealed in God’s Word concerning punishment for sin may be grouped together under five headings.


The judgment and condemnation of God upon the entire race because of Adam’s sin (Rom. 5:12-19; Gen. 3:1-24).


The wrath of God now being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold down the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18-32).


The coming day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God when He will render unto the wicked according to their deeds (Rom. 2:l-16; Rev. 20:ll-15).

(4) The judgment of God upon His saints during this present life that they may not be condemned
with the world (1 Cor. 11:32).
(5) Special visitations of judgment upon men such as the flood (Gen. 6-9), wars, famines, pestilences (Jer. 14:10-12; Mat. 24:6-8), and the judgments which will come upon the earth during the tribulation period (Mat. 24:21; Rev. 6-19).

FIRST THEN Adam’s sin and its race-wide consequences.

   God’s command to Adam was “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat (Hebrew-“eating thou mayest eat”); but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die(+Hebrew-“dying thou shalt die”)” (Gen. 2:16,17).

   Adam transgressed and brought the condemnation of God upon himself and the entire race. His act and its consequences are concisely summarized in Romans 5~12 as follows : “Therefore as through ONE man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; so death passed unto all men upon which all sinned” (See Rom. 5:12-19).

   Death is the condemnation of God (Rom. 5 :13-19). It is dishonorable (1 Cor. 15:43). It is an enemy with a sting (1 Cor. 15:26,54). When thinking about the death imposed upon Adam and the race because of sin, the death process and the death state should be distinguished. The death process operates in all men from the moment of birth. Hence men are mortal or dying. This death process continues until man’s decease at which time he enters the death state and is no longer mortal but is dead until resurrection (John 5:28,29; 1 Cor. 15:50-58; Rev. 20:4-15).

   The death process began in Adam with the eating of the forbidden fruit and continued until his actual decease when he was 930 years old (Gen. 5:1-5). Adam’s children inherited death from him and passed it on to their children and so death passes unto all men. Death cripples man spiritually, physically, mentally, morally, and finally destroys him. We should not think of man as he now is as natural. Death is unnatural. To get back to the natural it is necessary to get back to Adam before he sinned and death took possession of him.

   Adam’s sin was an unpardoned sin. He was put under strict law with no provision made for evading the penalty if he transgressed. “Thou shalt surely die” was the inexorable decree. Any sin the consequences of which must be endured is an unpardoned sin. Once it is seen that Adam and the entire race are suffering the penalty of an unpardoned sin much light is thrown upon God’s method of dealing with sinners. God imposes the wages of sin upon man, then on the basis of the saving work of Jesus Christ saves man out of death. The first death would be the permanent end of the entire race but for the saving work of Jesus Christ. The fact that He bore away the sin of the world (John 1:29) provides the righteous basis upon which men are raised from the first death. Does this mean that the wicked will evade the second death? Not at all. The condemnation of the second death they will have to suffer because of their own sins. Then on the basis of what Jesus Christ did for the sins of the world (1 John 2 :l, 2)) they will be saved out of the second death at the end of the ages (1 Cor. 15:20-28). Believers are saved out of the first death and FROM the second death. The rest are saved out of the first death, judged and condemned to the second death, and then saved OUT OF the second death when God abolishes death (1 Cor. 15 :26, 22).

   But death was not all the punishment God visited upon Adam and the race because of sin. To the woman God said, “I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy conception; in pain thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” Gen. 3:16). Unto Adam God said, “Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in pain shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen. 3:17-19).

   Men and women who believe in Jesus Christ as their Saviour continue to suffer this condemnation the same as unbelievers. Man’s efforts to escape are futile. Notwithstanding all his ingenuity and mechanical inventions, sweat, toil, and pain, are still the common lot. If backache is lessened headache is increased. But, thanks be to God, deliverance is coming: for believers when the Lord returns (Phil. 3:20, 21)--for the rest in due time (Rom. 8:20-21).

Part Two
(The Wrath of God Now Being Revealed)


“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the irreverence and unrighteousness of men, who hold down the truth in unrighteousness:”


   “Because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even His enduring power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: because that, knowing God, they glorified Him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.”


1.    “Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: For that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the
creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed for the eons.”

2.    “For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due.”

3.    And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without natural affection, unmerciful: who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they who practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them” ( Rom. 1:18-32).

   The fact that God’s wrath is now being revealed. against ALL irreverence and unrighteousness of men, who hold down the truth in unrighteousness, should be apparent to everyone. God’s Word clearly states it. Human experience
confirms it the world over.

   There is no justifiable excuse for irreverence and unrighteousness. Man owes God reverence by virtue of the fact that God is Creator, Sustainer, and Saviour. He it is Who gives to all life, and breath, and all (Acts 17:24-31). Reverence toward God is righteous and makes for righteousness in every relationship of life. Irreverence toward God is unrighteous and makes for unrighteousness in every relationship of life. God has made it possible for man to be both reverent and righteous and man deliberately refuses. This calls forth the wrath of God.

   Man cannot say he did not know that there was a God to Whom he was responsible, for: “That which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it to them," He did not leave this revelation to the preacher nor confine it to His spoken or written Word. “For the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through things that are made" (Romans 1:20; Psalms 19:1-4; Acts 14:15-17). This revelation of God in the creation is entirely sufficient to leave all men everywhere “without excuse” for irreverence and unrighteousness toward God. Salvation is not the consideration here. The gospel revelation concerning Jesus Christ is necessary anto salvation” (Rom. 10:9-15).

   Man’s blindness is not the kind caused by inability to see. It is the kind caused by unwillingness to see. He stubbornly closes his eyes to God and refuses to act in reverent and righteous accord with what is crystal clear to his mind and heart. As a result God gives man up to his own devices and their evil consequences, to be corrected and reproved thereby. “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee” (Jer. 2:19).

   Think of the suffering there is in the world today which man brings upon himself and his fellow man because of his deliberate and needless irreverence and un-righteousness. To blame God for this is to manifest irreverence and unrighteousness. God places the blame squarely upon man. “Because that, knowing God, they glorified Him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings . . . who ex-changed the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator . . . wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness . . . for this cause God gave them up into vile passions . . . and even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind (Rom. 1:21-28).

   The idea that there is a present wrath of God being visited upon men is considered heresy by some because of the unscriptural views they hold concerning the grace of God. The extent to which the traditions and teachings of men have supplanted the revelation of God on the subject of grace is astonishing, once the facts are investigated.

Part Three
(The Coming Day of Wrath and Righteous Judgment)

   “Wherefore thou art without excuse, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest dost practise the same things. And we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against them that practise such things. And reckonest thou this, O man, who judgest them that practice such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

   But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them that by steadfastness in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eonian life: but unto them that are factious, and stubborn to the Ruth, but yielding to unrighteousness, shall be wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek ; but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: for there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in law shall be judged through the law; for not the hearers of law are just before God, but the doers of law shall be justified ; for when Gentiles that have not law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having law, are a law unto themselves; in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their reasonings one with another accusing or else excusing them; in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, through Jesus Christ” (Romans 2:l-16).

   Disturbing questions concerning the justice of God are caused by the inequality of the sufferings men now endure, and by the fact that the innocent suffer as well as the guilty. Man’s lack of faith in the future and his failure to look at the present in its relation to the future, blind him to the good purpose and wisdom of God back of all suffering (Heb. 2:1O; 5:8; Rom. 8:18-22). The present is not the whole of God’s dealings with men in judgment or in salvation.  There is a coming “day (not eternity) of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” when He “will render unto every man according to his deeds” (Rom. 2:5,6). Beyond that will come a time when ALL will be made alive in Christ (1 Cor. 15:20-26); ALL will be justified and made righteous through the obedience of Christ (Rom. 5:18,19); All will be reconciled to God through the blood of His cross (Col. 1:20) ; All will be subjected to Jesus Christ that God may be ALL IN ALL (1 Cor. 15:27,28; Phil. 2:7-11).

The great principles governing Divine Judgment are set forth as follows :
   (1)   The judgment of God is according to turth (Rom. 2:2).
   (2)   according to righteousness; He will render to every man
           according to his deeds (Rom. 2:5,6).
   (3)   without respect of persons (Rom. 2:11).
   (4)   through Jesus Christ (Rom. 2:16; John 5:22,23).

These principles apply to all judgments of God, whether of the righteous for rewards (1 Cor. 3:10-15; 2 Cor. 5:1O; 2 Tim. 4:7,8), or of the unrighteous to determine the degree of punishment (Luke 12:47,48; Rom. 2:5-16). Those who receive Jesus Christ as their Saviour during this life will be saved from the wrath to come (Rom. 5:9; John 5:28, 29). They will be changed into the likeness of their Saviour and taken to be with Him when He returns (Phil. 3:20, 21; 1 Thes. 4:13-5:11; 1 Cor. 15:50-58; John 14:1-3; 1 John 3: 1-3. Following the great tribulation (Mat. 24:21) and the resurrection of the Old Testament saints (Dan. 12 :5-13), will come the 1,000 year reign of Christ with His saints (Rev. 20:4-6). After this 1,000 years, the rest of the dead, the small and the great will be raised unto the judgment of the Great White Throne (Rev. 20:5-15).

Romans 2:1-16 and Revelation 20:11-15 should be studied together. There will be degrees of punishment to fit the requirements of justice. The Second Death will be the climax and consummation of condemnation for those whose names are not in the book of life. Once it is seen that varying degrees of punishment are meted out and endured before the Second Death is experienced, much that is otherwise confusing becomes clear.

That the Second Death is not the final end of any is clearly revealed by God in 1 Cor. 15:20-28; Rom. 5:18,19; Col. 1:15-22; 1 Tim. 4:9-11; Phil. 2:7-11, etc.

Man’s willingness to believe, concerning the wrath of God, that which slanders every attribute of God, shamefully dishonors His Son, and is contrary to the full revelation God has given, shows how successfully the Devil has blinded men’s minds to the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:1-4). There is much more talk about getting back to the Word of God than there is action in that direction. The charge our Lord brought against the religious leaders of His day is true of the majority today (Mark 7:5-13). No one who really believes God can get an accurate translation of the Scriptures, a good Concordance, and carefully study that revelation without seeing that the teaching of endless punishment is based upon faulty translation and the traditions of men. God’s purpose of the ages (Eph.3:11), is to head up all in the Christ (Eph. 1:9-11). What God has purposed, He will do (Isa. 46:8-11).

Reprinted from
Reconciliation; Volume 1, Numbers 6-8; October-December 1942.