Be not deceived. God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap. (Gal.6:7)
He who does wrong shall receive for the wrong which he has done, and there is no respect of persons. (Col.3:25)
Whatever good thing that any man does, the same shall he receive of the Lord. (Eph.6:8)
Some Christians espouse a mamby-pamby gospel which sees only forgiveness with no payment for wrong, no punishment, no need for restitution. Others, with an inbuilt hardness of nature, demand punishment and restitution to the extent that many will pay for ever, and never be able to find forgiveness. Both are unscriptural. The following quotation may be helpful to others. I have found it refreshing. It comes from a book entitled “The Inescapable Love of God” by Thomas Talbott, 1999. (Pages 161 – 162)
Those who set forgiveness over against punishment and confuse the forgiveness of sin with the tolerance of sin will inevitably reject the idea that divine justice requires forgiveness. But that surely is a misunderstanding.
The woman who forgives her adulterous husband does not merely tolerate his unfaithfulness; she may also demand a change in his behaviour and may even demand it as a condition, not of forgiveness, but of continuing the marriage. Just because she does forgive her husband and continues to love him, she may refuse to continue in a dishonest relationship.
And similarly for the parents who discipline their children; those who regard parental discipline as evidence of an unforgiving attitude simply do not understand what the purpose of such discipline is.
So if, as our alternative picture suggests, forgiveness and just punishment have the same object and the same goal (namely, reconciliation), then the idea that sinners deserve forgiveness is no more absurd than the idea that they deserve punishment.