DOES DEUTERONOMY 25:1-3 TEACH THAT THERE IS A LIMIT TO THE PUNISHMENT FOR THE UNSAVED?
Updated – 6/14/09
We read in Deuteronomy 25:1-3:
1 ¶ If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.
2 And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number.
3 Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.
We read about a finite number of stripes that the criminal can receive. He can receive no more than 40 stripes. We also know that God is under the same law, the whole Bible, as man is under. Based upon these things, it is said that Deuteronomy 25:1-3 places a limit on the stripes that the unsaved can receive. Therefore, it is said that they cannot receive stripes forevermore.
Let’s examine this passage and the above reasoning a little more closely.
Notice verse 1 talks about a “controversy between men”.
Sin is actually a controversy between God and man. Controversies between men have to do with civil problems. Sin is a controversy between God and man.
For example we read about the controversy of sin between God and man in two verses in Hosea:
4:1 Hear the word of the LORD, ye
12:2 The LORD hath also a controversy <07379> with
These two verses use the same Hebrew word “controversy” that is used in Deuteronomy 25:1. These two verses in Hosea are talking about a controversy between God and man, and not between men.
Man’s sin is a controversy between God and man. However, Deuteronomy 25:1-3 is talking about a controversy between men.
There are two basic types of controversies:
1. Sin, which is a controversy between God and man.
2. Civil problems, which are controversies between men
One could says that God became man in the person of the Lord Jesus, therefore we can apply Deuteronomy 25:1-3 to the sin controversy.
However, we must remember that God specifically put in “between men” in verse 1. God is defining a specific type of controversy in Deuteronomy 25:1-3, and that is the civil controversies.
If God has intended Deuteronomy 25:1-3 to cover controversies between God and man then He would not have had to put the specific language of “a controversy between men”. God simply could have put “If there be a controversy, and they come unto judgment, that …”
But, God specifically refers to “a controversy between men”, which narrows down Deuteronomy 25:1-3 to refer to civil controversies, problems between men.
There are basically only two kinds of controversies
There are basically only two kinds of controversies: Controversies between God and man which are sin, and controversies between men which are civil problems.
By specifying “a controversy between men” God is limiting the type of controversies covered in Deuteronomy 25:1-3
God does use the term “men” to distinguish between men and God at times
For example we read in Luke 20:4-6:
4 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?
5 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not?
6 But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.
Jesus asks the question to the religious leaders of
We could use the above reasoning and say “Well, God is a man also” and say that the word “men” is referring to both men and God. If we do that, then the question in verse 4 does not make any sense.
In that case, we would read verse 4 like this:
4 The baptism of John, was it from heaven (of God), or of men (of men or God)?
Rather, in Luke 20:4, God uses the term “men” to contrast between men and God.
Here are a few more examples in which we see the word “men” used to put attention on men as opposed to God.
Micah 7:2 The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net.
In Micah 7:2, God is saying there is none upright “among men”. This phrase focuses upon men apart from God. It does not include God. God is upright.
We cannot say that the phrase “among men” in Micah 7:2 includes God also, because that would mean that God is not upright. However, we know that God is always perfect in everything He does.
Therefore, Micah 7:2 is a good example that shows that God does use phrases like “among men” or “between men” to refer to men only apart from God.
Luke 1:25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.
This is Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The reproach that she had for being barren would only come from men. It would not include God. Men look down upon a woman because she does not have children. God does not do that. God is the one that chose not to give her children.
Revelation 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
The believers were redeemed from among “men”. They were redeemed from the mass of unsaved humanity. This does not include God. God is not included in the mass of unsaved humanity that needs to be “redeemed”.
These are some examples in which God will make reference to “men” to distinguish men apart from God.
In the same way, when we consider the passage Deuteronomy 25:1-3 the phrase “between men” in Deuteronomy 25:1 makes a contrast between men and God.
If we say that Deuteronomy 25:1 includes God as well as men, then God did not need to add the phrase “between men” at all. It would not be necessary.
If God had intended to include controversies between God and men in Deuteronomy 25:1-3, then it would more accurate to leave out the phrase “between men” to eliminate the possibility of misunderstanding the law.
God could have said “If there be a controversy, and they come …”. That would have covers controversies between men and controversies between God and man.
But, God did put in the phrase “between men” so as to make the law of Deuteronomy 25:1-3 more specific.
Deuteronomy 25:1-3 covers the same issue as Romans 13:1-6
Controversies between men have to do with civil government issues. Finally civil governments are made of men. God talks about these issues also in Romans 13:1-6:
1 ¶ Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
13:1-6 talks about the authority of the government to administer punishments
and chastisements. This includes stripes. In Romans 13:1-6 God indicates that
the civil governments have authority to administer punishments. In the same
way, Deuteronomy 25:1-3 gave the human judges in
Deuteronomy 25:1-3 does not address the punishment for sin, which is a controversy between God and man.
Punishments by governments, such as prescribed in Romans 13:1-6 or Deuteronomy 25:1-3, are not payment for sin
The punishments by the government are not a payment for sin. If a believer is punished by the government, that is not payment for sin. Christ made all of the payment for the believers’ sins. Rather the punishments by the government are God’s means to maintain civil rule. This is explained in Romans 13:1-6.
25:1-3 is talking about the same subject as Romans 13:1-6. In Deuteronomy
25:1-3, God was giving the nation of
Actually, Deuteronomy 25:1-3, like Romans 13:1-6, is not addressing the payment for sin at all. It is addressing the civil law and order.
We see another proof that Deuteronomy 25:1-3 is talking about civil law and not the punishment for sin
In Deuteronomy 25:2-3 God directs that the human judge was to determine the number of stripes that the person was to receive. In this passage, God gives the human judge the authority to determine the number of stripes.
But, the punishment for sin is specified by the Bible and not by men. Therefore, we can know that Deuteronomy 25:1-3 is talking about punishments for civil problems and not for sin.
The Bible specifies the punishment for sin. Men do not make that decision.
The Bible specifies the punishment for sin. A human judge does not make this determination.
God has given the civil authorities the right to administer punishments to keep law and order. But, the Bible specifies the punishment for sin. Mankind can never do that.
Because the human judge is given authority in Deuteronomy 25:1-3 to specify the amount of punishment, we can know that Deuteronomy 25:1-3 is only talking about civil punishments, and not punishment for sin. That agrees with verse 1 that describes a controversy “between men”. Sin is a controversy between God and man; not between men.
If we say that Deuteronomy 25:1-3 describes rules for the punishment of sin, then we are saying that God had given human judges the authority to decide the amount of punishment for sin. However, this cannot be. The Bible specifies the amount of punishment for sin.
One might say that when this law is applied to God then it is talking about punishment for sins.
Deuteronomy 25:1-3 cannot be talking about sin. If it is talking about sin,
then when someone in
But, this cannot be. The punishment for sin is specified by the Bible and not by men.
What if the law of Deuteronomy 25:1-3 did apply to sin?
when someone sinned in
However, this cannot be because the Bible specifies that amount of punishment for sin. Man does not do that.
And, yet if the law of Deuteronomy 25:1-3 did apply to sin, the controversy between man and God, then this passage would have given the human judges the responsibility to determine the amount of punishment for sin. But, this cannot be, because the Bible declares the penalty for sin.
Also, since sin is very common among men, the human judges would be overloaded with cases involving sin. But sin is not the subject of this law. The law of Deuteronomy 25:1-3 is directed to civil problems, controversies between men.
Since God is under the law of the Bible as well, one might say that Deuteronomy 25:1-3 limits God’s ability to punish mankind.
Deuteronomy 25:1-3 does limit man’s ability and God’s ability to punish. However, this passage only applies to punishments for a controversy between men. That is a civil controversy. This passage does not speak about the punishment for sin.
However, let’s say someone insists that this passage applies to the punishment for sin.
Deuteronomy 25:1-3 cannot apply to the punishment for sin for the above reasons.
However, let’s assume that someone insists that this passage does apply to the punishment of sin. Then, since God is also subject to the law of God, this passage would apply to God.
Then, the argument given is that Deuteronomy 25:1-3 limits the punishment to 40 stripes, a finite number. The statement is made that since 40 is a finite number, the punishment for sin cannot go on forevermore, because 40 is a finite number.
The argument is that a finite number of stripes, limits the punishment to a finite amount.
How does this reasoning compare with what the Bible teaches?
God gives two relevant verses. We read:
Isaiah 65:20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Let’s consider Revelation 20:6 first.
Revelation 20:6 is describing the believers. At the end of the verse, God says that the true believers will reign with Christ for 1000 years. God gives a finite number of 1000. From the rest of the Bible we know that the believers reign with Christ from the moment of salvation and that continues forevermore.
So, the number 1000 in Revelation 20:6 is symbolic and represents forevermore. The believers will reign with Christ forevermore.
Therefore, in Revelation 20:6: 1000 years = forevermore
In Revelation 20:6, God uses a finite number, in this case 1000, to represent forevermore.
If we say that a finite number, like 40, 100, or 1000, limits a duration to a finite amount, then we have to say that the true believers will only reign with Christ for a finite amount of time. But, that is not true. The believers will reign with Christ forevermore.
So, Revelation 20:6 shows that God can use finite numbers, like 40, 100 or 1000, to represent forevermore.
Let’s consider Isaiah 65:20.
The child in Isaiah 65:20 refers to the true believer. The setting of Isaiah 65:20 is the new heavens and new earth. We can tell that when we read the context in Isaiah 65:17-20:
17 ¶ For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
18 But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
19 And I will rejoice in
20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
In verse 17 God declares that He will create new heavens and a new earth. Then, starting in verse 18 God describes that new heavens and new earth. In verses 18 and 19, God declares that there will be joy and rejoicing. In verse 19 God says there will be no sadness or suffering. Then, in verse 20, God continues to describe the new heavens and new earth. So, the context of verse 20 is the new heavens and new earth.
Notice that God says that the child, the true believer, in the new heavens and new earth will finally die at 100 years old. To die means that he has come under the wrath of God.
In Isaiah 65:20 God uses a finite number, 100, to describe the duration of the true believer in the new heavens and new earth.
When we study the Bible we learn that this 100 years represents forevermore.
Therefore, in Isaiah 65:20: 100 years = forevermore
The true believer will be with Christ in the new heavens and new earth forevermore and will never die. That is, he will never be separated from God by coming under the wrath of God.
Does a finite number limit the duration?
In Deuteronomy 25:1-3, God declares a finite number of stripes. God says 40 stripes. It is said that this means that the punishment for sin must be finite.
However, if we apply that reasoning to Isaiah 65:20 or Revelation 20:6 then we must conclude that the believers will be with Christ in the new heavens and new earth for only a finite period of time.
Through Isaiah 65:20 and Revelation 20:6, God is teaching that at times He uses finite numbers to represent eternity. Therefore, just as the numbers 100 or 1000 in the above two verses can represent eternity, the number 40 in Deuteronomy 25:1-3 can represent eternity.
If we insist that the finite number 40 in Deuteronomy 25:1-3 limits the punishment to a finite duration, then we have to be honorable and apply that reasoning to Isaiah 65:20 and Revelation 20:6. We have to conclude that after some finite time, the true believer in the new heavens and new earth will die. He will be separated from God, under His wrath.
Therefore, Isaiah 65:20 and Revelation 20:6 show us that God can use the number 40 in Deuteronomy 25:1-3 to represent forevermore.
Numbers in the Bible can have symbolic meaning
The numbers 100 & 1000 normally represent the completeness of whatever God has in view. Isaiah 65:20 and Revelation 20:6 teach that the believers will be with Christ for the completeness of the time that God has in view for them. That is forevermore.
number 40 normally represents testing. Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days
The 40 stripes could represent the punishment for failing the testing of this world. Unsaved man fails the test of never coming to God while he was in this world.
Or, another possibility for the meaning of the number 40 can be found by noting that 40 = 4 * 10
10 = completeness
4 = to the furthest extent
In that case, 40 = the completeness of the furthest extent.
This would mean that the 40 stripes represents the punishment of stripes for sin that is a complete punishment to the furthest extent that the law of God requires.
Just like the 100 & 1000 in Isaiah 65:20 and Revelation 20:6 are symbolic numbers and represent forevermore, in the same manner the 40 of Deuteronomy 25:3 could be symbolic and represent forevermore.
Let’s consider another example: The half shekel temple tax
We read in Exodus 30:12-13:
12 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them.
13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD.
Exodus 30:12-13 discusses the half shekel offering. God calls it a “ransom for his soul”. This half shekel was necessary to prevent any “plague” from coming upon them. In other words, that half shekel represented the payment for sin.
This was a ceremonial law, but nevertheless, that half shekel represented the payment for sin, it was the “ransom for his soul”.
The Bible says that the payment for sin is the payment for an “everlasting punishment”.
We read in Matthew 25:46:
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
God is declaring that the unsaved will go away into “everlasting punishment”.
Since we know that the unsaved lose the blessing of being in the new heaven and the new earth forevermore, at least in that sense, we can say that the unsaved go away into “everlasting punishment”. Therefore, this term in itself does not require an everlasting conscious suffering.
Nevertheless, Matthew 25:46 is teaching us that the punishment for sin is an “everlasting punishment”.
The payment of that “everlasting punishment” was represented by a half shekel or 0.5 shekels.
So, in Exodus 30:12-13, God uses 0.5 shekels to represent the payment for an everlasting punishment.
Therefore, in Exodus 30:12-13: 0.5 shekel = everlasting punishment
Since God uses a finite number, 0.5, in Exodus 30:12-13 to represent an everlasting punishment. Then, in Deuteronomy 25:1-3, God can use 40 stripes to represent everlasting stripes.
Based upon Exodus 30:12-13, we can say that in Deuteronomy 25:1-3:
40 stripes can represent everlasting stripes
If we argue that since 40 is a finite number, then the stripes cannot be everlasting, then to be consistent, we must conclude that 0.5 shekels can only cover a finite punishment. Since 0.5 is also a finite number.
But, that will not agree with the Bible that says the punishment for sin is an “everlasting punishment”.
We have seen 3 examples in which God uses a finite number to represent forevermore. We see:
In Revelation 20:6 1000 years = forevermore
In Isaiah 65:20 100 years = forevermore
In Exodus 30:12-13 0.5 shekel = everlasting punishment
Therefore, God has given us sufficient proof that:
In Deuteronomy 25:1-3 40 stripes can equal forevermore
Paul was beaten 39 times
It could be argued that since Paul was beaten 39 times, a literal number, so therefore this number 40 in Deuteronomy 25:1-3 must be understood as a literal number.
In 2 Corinthians 11:24 we read that the Apostle Paul received 39 stripes on 5 separate occasions from the Jews. This shows that the Jews read the number 40 in a very literal way. It could be argued that God guided them to read that number in a literal way to teach that we are to understand the number 40 in Deuteronomy 25:3 in a literal way.
Actually, just because Bible teachers interpret a number in a literal way is no proof that God intends that number to be understood in a literal way.
The Old Testament Jews were the Bible teachers of their day, just like the church theologians have the Bible teachers throughout the New Testament era.
In Revelation 20:1-6 God talks about satan being bound for 1,000 years and the believers reigning with Christ for 1,000 years.
A great number of Bible teachers believe that God is speaking about a literal 1,000 reign of Christ in Revelation 20:1-6.
However, when we study the Bible carefully we learn that the 1,000 years of satan’s binding represents the fact that he was bound for the 1,955 years of the church age. Also, the 1,000 years of the believers reigning with Christ represents forevermore.
For those that want to insist that Deuteronomy 25:1-3 is talking about the punishment for sin: Just as the New Testament Bible teachers did not understood that the 1,000 years of Revelation 20:1-6 are symbolic, the Old Testament Jews did not understood that the 40 stripes of Deuteronomy 25:1-3 are symbolic.
Let’s consider another important point about the beatings that the Apostle Paul received:
The fact that Paul was beaten 39 times is a proof that the law of Deuteronomy 25:1-3 cannot be speaking about payment for sin, but rather is speaking about civil punishments
Based upon Paul’s experience we can know for two reasons that Deuteronomy 25:1-3 cannot be talking about punishment for sin:
1. The law of Deuteronomy 25:1-3 was applied to the Apostle Paul. He suffered according to this law. However, this suffering could not be payment for sin because Christ had already made all of the payment for Paul’s sin because he was a true believer.
According to this law, the Jews had him beaten by 39 stripes on 5 occasions (2 Corinthians 11:24). Even though the Jews did it for the wrong reason, these beatings were following the law of Deuteronomy 25:1-3.
those stripes that Paul received could not be payment for sin. Paul was a true
believer. Christ made all of the payment for his sin. Those stripes were a
punishment because of “a controversy between men”. God had given
Paul suffered at the hands of the Jews who were following the authority given to them by Deuteronomy 25:1-3. But, this suffering that he endured could not be a payment for sin because Christ had already made the full payment.
Therefore, the example of Paul receiving the 39 stripes shows that Deuteronomy 25:1-3 is not talking about payment for sin.
2. Deuteronomy 25:1-3 instructed the human judge to determine the amount of punishment. Mankind does not have the authority to determine the amount of punishment for sin. The Bible specifies the amount of punishment for sin.
God allowed up to 40 stripes. The Jews decided that 39 was the right number. Men chose the amount of punishment according to Deuteronomy 25:1-3. That means that this punishment cannot be a punishment for sin. The Bible specifies the amount of punishment for sin.
From Deuteronomy 25:1-3 and Romans 13:1-6 we know God gives human judges the authority to determine punishment for certain crimes against the government. But, mankind does not determine the punishment for sin. The Bible declares the punishment for sin.
For these two reasons, the beatings of Paul further support the truth that Deuteronomy 25:1-3 was a law given for the purpose of maintaining law and order. It did not prescribe punishment for sin.
Why would God set a limit on the punishment in Deuteronomy 25:1-3 for a controversy between men and yet not apply that for the punishment of sin which is the controversy between God and man?
Controversies between men are civil problems. The punishments or chastisements for a controversy between men have two main purposes:
1. They help to maintain civil order and prevent anarchy.
2. They warn man that He is accountable for his conduct. Hopefully, through these, man will see his accountability before God and cry out to God for mercy.
These punishments and chastisements for a controversy between men are not payment for sin. Rather, they are to accomplish the two purposes noted above.
However, the punishment for a controversy between man and God is the actual payment for sin. That payment is specified by the law of God, the Bible. It is payment for sin and is not designed to accomplishment the two purposes mentioned above.
The Hebrew word translated “seem vile” in verse 3 helps us to see that Deuteronomy 25:1-3 is not referring to punishment for sin
The last part of verse 3 is interesting and we wonder how it relates to the teaching of Deuteronomy 25:1-3. We read in verse 3:
Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.
It says that if the judge ordered more than 40 stripes for a “controversy between men”, then the beaten man would “seem vile”. This Hebrew word translated “seem vile” is only used a few times in the Bible and is translated as “despised”, “based”, “contemned” and “lightly esteemed”. This word refers to something that is despised.
Deuteronomy 25:1-3 teaches that the purpose of civil punishments is not to despise man or make him “seem vile”. Rather, from other passages, we know that the purpose is to correct man.
We read this same Hebrew word in Deuteronomy 27:16. God says there:
Cursed be he that setteth light <07034> by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Here this Hebrew word translated “seem vile” in Deuteronomy 25:3 is translated “setteth light” in Deuteronomy 27:16.
Deuteronomy 27:16 is teaching that we are not to despise or contemn our parents. We are always to honor our parents.
That agrees with the purpose of civil punishments. Civil punishments are not to despise or contemn mankind, but rather to correct him.
However, God’s punishment upon unsaved man at Judgment Day will make man “seem vile”.
God does say that His punishment for sin involves being despised or being made “vile”, using this same Hebrew word. We read this same Hebrew word in Isaiah 16:14:
But now the LORD hath spoken, saying, Within three
years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of
The word “contemned” is the same Hebrew word translated “seem vile” in Deuteronomy 25:3.
16:14 is talking about when God’s wrath comes upon the unsaved. The punishment
that comes upon
Unsaved man tries to bring a lot of glory to himself. But, when God’s judgment comes, that glory of man, which includes man himself, will be despised or contemned. This is the same word as “seem vile” in Deuteronomy 25:3.
Regarding the “glory” of mankind, we read in Revelation 18:7:
How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.
Revelation 18:7 is talking about God’s wrath upon the unsaved among His corporate people. They have “glorified themselves” rather than God.
Unsaved man, including unsaved man in the church, gives glory to himself rather than to God.
Revelation 18:7 teaches us that man’s glory is in part in Himself. Isaiah 16:14 says that at Judgment Day, God will “contemn” or make “vile” the glory of man, which includes man himself.
This Hebrew word translated “vile” or “contemn” is another proof that Deuteronomy 25:1-3 must be talking about the punishment for civil problems and cannot be talking about the punishment for sin. The punishment for civil issues is not to make men vile, but to correct them. But the punishment for sin will make men vile.
According to Isaiah 16:14 God’s wrath makes the glory of men (which includes the men themselves according to Revelation 18:7) seem vile, but the civil punishments talked about in Deuteronomy 25:1-3 and Romans 13:1-6 are not to make man seem vile, but to correct man.
A careful examination of Deuteronomy 25:1-3 will show that it cannot be talking about the punishment for sin. This law covers “controversies between men”, which are civil issues. The Bible specifies the punishment for sin, not the human judge as in Deuteronomy 25:1-3.
However, if someone wants to insist that Deuteronomy 25:1-3 refers to punishment for sin, then with the help of Isaiah 65:20, Revelation 20:6 and Exodus 30:12-13, we can see that the 40 stripes, like the 100 & 1000 years or 0.5 shekels, can be symbolic to represent forevermore. Therefore, the 40 stripes of Deuteronomy 25:1-3 does not provide any limit to the stripes that the unsaved will receive.
The punishment for civil issues, as specified in Deuteronomy 25:1-3 is not to make men vile. But, the punishment for sin will make the unsaved vile.