The Difference Between Punishment And Discipline In Christianity
If you are trying to understand Christianity it is helpful to understand the difference between discipline and punishment in the Bible.
Punishment, is when someone receives the penalty incurred by their sins. The Bible teaches that the appropriate punishment for each and every sin is eternal death and torment in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:46, Revelation 21:8). Worse sins result in a greater level of torment (Matthew 11:22).
Discipline, on the other hand, is when someone recieves a consequence for their sins that is less than the full punishment that their sins deserve. The point of discipline is not to exact justice, but to persuade a person to repent and change their ways. If a person repents and believes in the Son of God they can be forgiven of their sins, so that their punishment is paid for by Jesus, and they do not have to suffer eternal death in hell.
The verse below explains the idea behind discipline:
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in. (Proverbs 3:11-12 NIV)
And this one talks about punishment:
“God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (II Thessalonians 1:6-9 NIV)