Does God Punish Sin Now?

It's interesting we still have the same issues in Christianity today that Paul faced. You tell people they're free from the judgment of their sin in Christ and they’ll ask, "does that mean people can just sin and get away with it?" Well, certain people ask that. Those same kinds of people asked the Apostle Paul that on a regular basis.

He always answered NO!

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Romans 6:15-18

I think the confusion comes in for some due to the lack of understanding the difference between mercy and grace. Mercy is when you’re not punished for something you’re guilty of. Grace is an actual power in your heart from God. Mercy looks at your guilt and says, “I choose not to treat you in accordance with your guilt.” Grace says, “you don’t have to give in anymore.”

Mercy is what you need after you sin, grace is what you need before you sin. God has mercy on you after you sin but he supplies grace to you so you don’t have to give in to sin.

Mercy is what we have all received as a result of Jesus being judged and punished for our sin. Grace is now available to live in because we have been forgiven in the sacrifice of Christ.

So when one preaches the freedom from punishment of judgment and is then accused of telling people sin is no big deal, the accuser simply doesn’t understand the nature of sacrifice and atonement.

Consider this passage before we discuss atonement.

1 John 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

It’s a curious way to give instruction, “don’t sin, but if you do...”

That almost sounds like a license to sin, doesn’t it? Or maybe is just feels a bit dangerous to tell people that. After all, if we free people from God’s punishment of their sin, they’ll just keep sinning, right? Well, that’s what the person that doesn’t understand atonement and transformation thinks.

Just like the Yom Kippur sacrifice was for the entire nation of Israel, so is Christ, but for the whole world. So what does atoning sacrifice mean?

What Is Atonement?

In 1 John, some translations say “atoning sacrifice” and some say “propitiation.” They both describe the sacrifice. Atonement simply means exchange. Propitiation means to satisfy wrath/anger. Because God was angry toward mankind’s sin, he provided a substitution. Instead of judging our sins in us, he judged and punished them in Jesus.

Most Jesus followers agree to this idea, but many will argue over the application. Most Christians will say, oh yes, Jesus was judged for my sin. But if you say God is no longer judging people’s sin because they were judged in Jesus, many will say, “now wait a minute, are you saying people can just sin and get away with it.”

That tells me that people believe Jesus was our atoning sacrifice but they don’t fully understand what that means. It means this; God is not judging sin because he judged it in Jesus, for the WHOLE WORLD!!!

Because people will ask, No, that doesn’t mean everyone is saved, born again or going to Heaven, people still need to place their trust in that sacrifice to participate in the exchange of death for eternal life.

What Does the Bible Say About Atonement?

John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!


1 Corinthians 5:7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.


Hebrews 2:9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.


Hebrews 7:27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.


Romans 5:9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.


1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

How Do We Apply Atonement Today?

This is a major problem in the body of Christ, we understand information but don’t know how to function within it. The good news should be this;

You’re a sinner, you deserve to be punished for you sins and you’re not good enough to gain eternal life. God knows that so he became a human to destroy the power of sin and death over all humans, as Christ, for all humans.

Christ lived a perfect life, which qualified him to be the perfect sacrifice, for all humans. On the cross, all the wrath of God toward mankind was poured into Jesus, he literally became sin, he was cursed for all of mankind’s sins. He paid for all sin on the cross, for all humans.

Then, he passed into the grave to destroy the ultimate effects of sin, which is death. So he paid for sin then he broke the power of it’s effects.

As a human, Jesus went into death’s domain, and broke it’s power. His faith was stronger than death. Because he’s the perfect sacrifice, you can place your faith in him, then his judgement and punishment are effective for you. In him you will never be punished for your sin, he already was, and in him you’ll never taste death. Your temporary body will die but you go to God, not the grave.

Until you leave your body, you live in this life with God, forgiven in Christ. Even if you sin!!! Because of the nature of the sacrifice of Christ and how it effects the believer. The believer is made new and is forever forgiven because the sacrifice already accomplished everything regarding our sin.

It’s unfair but it’s the truth. It’s scandalous but it’s what God did in Christ. Will people misuse and abuse the freedom they have in Christ? Of course they will, but only those who don’t know the transforming power of grace.

If you’re worried that people will still sin if you tell them they’re free from the judgment of that sin, you don’t understand sacrifice and you aren’t confident in grace.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”


Romans 3:21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in h Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, i through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Conclusion

God is not repaying / judging / punishing / taking vengeance upon sin with wrecked cars, broken bones, financial hardship, hurricanes, tsunamis or cancer.

God tried, judged and punished each and every sin in Jesus on the cross. IT IS FINISHED. Any wrath the people will experience in the final judgment is for unbelief, not for sin. Meaning this, at the Resurrection, when we’re all before Jesus, believers transition into our eternal reward and unbelievers are cast into the Lake of Fire. The distinction is based on whether you’ve placed your faith in Christ, not on sin.

If you hear that and then wonder if that's implying that people can sin and not experience consequences, it's time to understand the sufficiency of the sacrifice of Christ better.

If you hear someone say there's freedom from the judgment of sin in Christ and your mind goes toward people getting away with sin, I have to wonder what's in your heart. Are you struggling with sin? Is the only thing that keeps you out of sin the fear of the wrath of God?

I have good news for you, there's a thing called grace that you can live in. Grace isn't God sweeping your sin under the rug, it's an actual power that transforms your heart so you no longer desire sin.

Let's understand and preach the Gospel people, the world needs to hear the truth about God rather than the same old Pharisaical musings from people who don't fully understand the sacrifice of Christ and what grace actually does.

How to Forgive Others

How to Forgive Others

There are two main sources of pain and suffering; loss and offense.

Loss is unfortunately part of this world. The world is not in the condition God created it to exist in and it’s not yet what it will be. One day God will restore all things and we’ll transition into what we know of as Heaven. Until then, we will all suffer some kinds of loss. We do have God’s promise of peace and provision in the midst of loss but it will come.

The other source of pain is offense. Offense comes when we attach significance to other’s actions. Offense is a tool of the enemy to keep us isolated but we’re also pretty good and being offended without the enemy’s help. Offense rests within the heart like a splinter. It’s a nagging pain that installs a filter. When we’re offended we look through it as a lens to the world. It skews every relationship and circumstance once the offense takes root in our heart.

9 Lessons from Jesus About Prayer

9 Lessons from Jesus About Prayer

In Matthew 6, Jesus gives much detail about prayer. What to do, what not to do, the attitude you should have and how to prioritize. He also makes prayer personal by describing God as your Father, that he values you and that he’ll provide for you because you are valuable. After Jesus’ discourse on prayer, he concludes with a simple yet profound statement… “so don’t worry.” Here are 9 take away’s from Matthew 6.

Why Didn't Jesus Stone Adulterers to Death?

Why Didn't Jesus Stone Adulterers to Death?

Here’s the progression of thought I’m addressing in this article:

  1. Leviticus 20:10 requires death for adultery.

  2. Jesus defined adultery as lust in your heart toward another woman rather than actual act of adultery. He raised the standard of the law from actions, to the intention of the heart. See Matthew 5:27-30

  3. When Jesus encountered an adulterers, he didn’t kill them. John 8:3-11 and John 4

  4. Why?

We have more than one historical record of Jesus encountering adulterers, neither time does he kill them, even though the Law requires it, why? Does Jesus contradict himself? Do the teachings of Jesus not apply to us? Should we throw out what he says because we have a New Covenant?

It’s none of that. Jesus honored the standard of the Law yet treated people in the context of love and grace. Jesus is the Word of God in action. He is God in the flesh. He is the embodiment of the righteous standard of God. Yet when he encountered a sin that required death, he lifted off every ounce of guilt, removed condemnation, forgave the person and gave them another chance.

Why?

Our Perspective Often Undermines God's Goodness

Our Perspective Often Undermines God's Goodness

They way we see it isn’t necessarily how it really is, it’s just how we see it.

Truer words couldn’t have been spoken when it comes to understanding how God operates in our lives. Too many Jesus followers base their beliefs about God on their circumstances rather on who God says he is. Here’s the bottom line, Jesus is a crystal clear image of who God is. Why then do we exalt God’s acquiescence to mankind’s failure over the clear picture of God’s intentions toward mankind through Christ?

The LORD God is a Good Shepherd - A Meditation in Psalm 23

The LORD God is a Good Shepherd - A Meditation in Psalm 23

Who you think God is, is the most important question you can answer. Framing up the character of God and how he relates to you is the most important thing you can resolve in your thinking. Unfortunately, scripture can be used to paint all sorts of narratives about God, but at his core, God is a loving father who chooses to define himself as a good shepherd, a shepherd who is kind to his sheep and leads them peacefully to green nourishing fields.

Hold A Vision of God's Word in Your Heart

Hold A Vision of God's Word in Your Heart

Carnal thinking: I am depressed
Spiritual thinking: The joy of the Lord is my strength
It's really that simple...or is it? 

Knowing the truth is simple but applying it takes wisdom. We know that carnal thinking leads to death and spiritual thinking leads to life and peace (Romans 8:6). The question that should leave you with is this; how do I think spiritually and how does it produce life and peace?

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Carnal mindedness isn't necessarily depraved, sinful thinking, carnal thinking in its most basic form just leaves God out. Carnal thinking reasons based on what seems logical according to the way of the world. Spiritual thinking reasons based on God's ways and the fact that God can make a way where there is no way.

Carnal thinking is influenced by what it can see, spiritual thinking realizes there's an unseen element in the equation that can change things. Spiritual thinking realizes that with God, all things are possible. If you are facing a challenge and don't see how God can do anything about it, you're limited to what makes sense carnally and you simply need to repent.