Punishment: Nor for Sins But for Failing to Repent

Great Lent is a season devoted to repentance.  We have now come to the last week of that season.  Many have already taken advantage of the time given to them to receive God’s forgiveness through the Mystery of Confession.  St. Theognostos (d. 1353AD) reminds us of a truth about repentance and about God’s judgment:

“We will not be punished or condemned in the age to be because we have sinned, since we were given a mutable and unstable nature. But we will be punished if, after sinning, we did not repent and turn from our evil ways to the Lord; for we have been given the power to repent, as well as the time in which to do so. Only through repentance shall we receive God’s mercy, and not its opposite, His passionate anger. Not that God is angry with us; He is angry with evil. Indeed, the divine is beyond passion and vengefulness, though we speak of it as reflecting, like a mirror, our actions and dispositions, giving to each of us whatever we deserve.” (Through the Year with the Church Fathers edited by Emily Harakas, p 101)