Is it or has it ever been God’s intention to punish mankind?
I gladly call myself a Christian Universalist or an Ultimate Reconciliationist. I have to be. Even though I do not know if it is true or not, I do know that there are enough verses and concepts throughout the scriptures to make this position at the very least possible if not probable. So I have to put my hope where God puts his hopes. It is his will that NO ONE should perish. Ultimately all creation will be reconciled, things in heaven, on earth and under the earth.
I would almost say that if you did not at the very least have a hope that Universalism is true than you are not a Christian. Of course I don’t and won’t say this, but I do think it from time to time.
This is not to say that I am not human. I would like to see some roast eternally, but in reality, these are few and far between. Most I’d just like to see hurting for a weekend or two.
My stance is that “righteousness and justification comes through the faith OF Christ and that he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world. We will all be justified by grace through faith. And we will all be judged based on our works.”
If Jesus’ life is any indication, it is us religious types that will be judged harshest! God’s people, first Israel and now the church, have always been the first to be judged. Our purpose here on earth is to be a beacon of hope and to manifest the Kingdom of God here on earth as it is in heaven. Share the gospel? Yes. But as a demonstration. Our purpose, from Abraham on down, was to be God’s blessing to the nations. And it is my firm belief that Matthew 25 is about seeing Jesus in “the other”. Jesus uses the Pharisees own doctrine of exclusion and subverts it, turning the tables and challenging them with there own eternal destiny.
So my answer is: No, It never was God’s will to punish. There will be judgment but I believe it will not be punitive but restorative judgment.