Home Bible Questions What is the punishment for breaking a promise?

What is the punishment for breaking a promise?

We must think carefully before we make promises. A child will often make promises with a sincere heart believing that he is capable of keeping them. He does not think of all the circumstances that may prevent him from attaining his goals. Adults also make promises with every good intention of keeping them, but fail in their endeavors, due to unforeseen events. Therefore, it is better not to make promises to God or people unless you are 100% sure that you can keep the promise. 

“It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.” Ecclesiastes 5:5

The Apostle Peter promised that he would never deny Jesus, and yet he denied him three times. Matthew 26:33-35 (33) Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” (34) Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” (35) Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples.”

 Although Peter meant what he said with every fiber of his being, he made the promise to Jesus without ever considering his own weakness. Jesus later reinstates Peter (John 21:15-19) thus providing us with a beautiful example of forgiveness. God knows we make promises we cannot keep. However, he also knows our hearts and whether we meant good, not evil. He is always ready to forgive us if we but ask him. 

Will you go to “hell” (meaning eternal punishment) if you break a promise? No, you will not. We believe that hell is the grave or the sleep of death and not a place of eternal punishment. As the scriptures say, “the wages of sin is death,” (Romans 6:23) not torture. 

Where did the traditional concept of hell originate? The Western religions from Roman times through the Middle Ages borrowed the doctrine of eternal torture from the Pagan Philosophers. Certain writers of the Middle Ages had such tremendous influence on the Christian-professing world that their writings and teachings came to be generally accepted and believed, until it became the doctrine of the Christian-professing world. 

Our belief is that the idea of eternal punishment is not a scriptural concept and that salvation is available to all of humanity, but that availability exists on two levels, heavenly and earthly. 

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22

This scripture as well as 1 Timothy 2:3-6 tell us that Jesus came to provide a ransom for Adam and all his progeny, some now, who are following Jesus and sacrificing their wills, and some later. Those who are sacrificing now have been called by God and look forward to a heavenly reward mentioned in John 13:33-36; 14:1-4; and 17:24. 

Although there is definitely a heavenly destination, it is only for a very select few who, if faithful, will have a change of nature from human to spiritual (Romans 6:5; 2 Corinthians 5:1-2; Revelation 3:20-21). However, the vast majority of humankind will be awakened on earth to a period of judgment, or decision, in which they will have an opportunity to willingly follow God’s laws of righteousness and perfect their characters. Those who have broken promises in the past will have ample opportunity to ask forgiveness and make amends to those they have hurt or offended. 

To learn more about promises listen to, “ Are Promises Made To Be Broken?”

To learn more about why we know God will not punish people in hell listen to our series, “Did God Make Heaven and Hell Humanity’s Destiny?”

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