The work of the cross is complete and erases fear of re-punishment for the believer. So don’t re-punish yourself, re-punish others, or think God needs to re-punish you in any sort of punitive manner that satisfies your debt of sin or compares the act of discipline to the cross.
Ohio State standout QB Terrell Pryor who “withdrew” from the school was declared eligible for the NFL supplemental draft. The question of whether or not he was eligible stemmed from the fact that he had been under a 5 game suspension for some shenanigans like selling Big 10 merchandise and the like. He hadn’t been kicked off of the team but “quietly” withdrew preceding what could have been quite an ugly scene.
In order to qualify for the supplemental draft, a player must show that his status has changed — such as being declared academically ineligible by his school — after the NFL’s regular college draft has been held.
His eligibility for the NFL draft came with a caveat: he would be suspended for the first 5 games of the NFL. He and his agent had this to say about the suspension:
“The five games we happily agreed to, voluntarily,” Rosenhaus said. “The alternative wasn’t very attractive. We’re grateful for the chance.”
Now it sure beats the alternative of not being drafted and having to get an actual job, like basketball star Delonte West looking to Home Depot for employment (due to the NBA lockout).
Some NFL players have wisely pondered how far back the NFL can punish future NFL players for sins committed in college.
“I don’t understand,” said Buffalo Bills safety George Wilson, an NFLPA representative. “My question is, with this Miami probe, are those players who took those gifts, are those guys — guys that violated NCAA regulations — are they subject to his discipline as well? Is it retroactive? This opens up a big can of worms.
Since I’m not an NFL player, or college football player for that matter, I could really care less about the precedent it sets-though I do see the point. But I am a pastor and so want to offer a take from my pastoral vantage point.
Is the NFL punishing someone who has already been punished? Had Terrell Pryor already served his punishment? Perhaps yes and no. He hadn’t served his 5 game suspension but instead quit. But he quit, because of his 5 game suspension. Regardless, lets just say some sort of punishment happened. If so, then the NFL re-punished Pryor.
That matters very little to most of us. But what is more consequential is the notion that God re-punishes His children, after already punishing the sins of His people on the cross of Christ. Either Christ bore the punishment for sins and there is no longer any punishment needed or allowed, or there is sin left that we need to be punished by God and others.
Christ exhausted the punishment for all sins of all believers, so we need not be fearful of God’s wrath upon us. We shouldn’t self flagellate (not really sure how anyone would think this is a good idea), but most Christians find ways much more subtle like moping, feeling guilty, reading more of the bible or praying longer. Nor should we use the cross as an example of our restorative discipline practices like spanking, time-outs, or church discipline. For instance, saying things like, “Jesus went to the cross because God hates sin so much, so I need to spank you so you can know that God hates sin,” is, well, detestable, demeaning, and discounts the person and work of Jesus.
ESV 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
ESV 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God,