Marty hung up the phone in tears after learning his baby had been delivered stillborn. With his head buried in his hands, he said, "Is God punishing me?"
You see, Marty had lived a sinful life for many years. During this time, he had lost his first wife and child in an auto accident. So Marty felt God was punishing him for his life of sin through the death of his first family and stillborn child.
Marty is not the only one who feels this way. Many people feel the difficulties and tragedies in their lives are God's punishment for their sins. They live believing it is their fault these difficulties and tragedies have come. They live believing they have received from God what they deserved. Other people will even tell them what they are experiencing is God's punishment. Is this true? Are difficulties and tragedies God's punishment for our sins? The place to look is in the Bible. So what does the Bible have to say about God's punishment for sin in our lives? Is God's punishment for our sins difficulties and tragedies or something else? Let's take a look in the Bible for the answer to this question.
The Bible says that there is no difference in anyone who has ever lived. We are all the same. We have all have sinned and fall short of God's perfect standard. Romans 3:22-23 says the following:
There is no difference. For all have sinned and fall short of God's glory.
There is no difference between Marty and any of us. We have all sinned. We have all lived in disobedience to God. Ephesians 2:1-3 says:
...those who are disobedient. All of us lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
The Bible says God's punishment for our sins is death. Romans 6:23 says:
The wages of sin is death.
God's punishment for our sins is not God sending difficulties and tragedies into our lives. God's punishment for our sins is not stillborn babies, hurricanes, cancer, aids, etc... His punishment is death.
So then, if God doesn't punish sin in our lives through difficulties and tragedies, how does God punish sin? God has placed the punishment of our sin upon Jesus. Romans 5:8 says:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this; while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
We see in this verse that Jesus took the punishment for our sins for us. He died for us. Jesus took the punishment not only for our sins, but for the sins of the entire world.
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours
but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:2
The word atonement means that Jesus took the full amount of God's punishment for our sins, and the sins of the whole world, through his death on the cross.
In John 1:29, John the Baptist spoke of this when he saw Jesus coming toward him: He said:
"Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world."
Since Jesus took the full amount of God's punishment for our sins and the sins of the whole world upon himself, how much punishment is left for us for our sins? None. If he took all of God's punishment upon himself, how much is left for us when we sin? None.
If there is any punishment left for our sins, then Jesus didn't die for all our sins. But the Bible clearly says in Hebrews that Jesus died for all sins for all people at one time and there is no sacrifice or punishment left for sins.
He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself...(he) offered for all time one sacrifice for sin...there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.
Hebrews 7:27, 10:12, and 10:18.
Jesus satisfied God's judgement or punishment for sin through his death on the cross. We are currently living in the age of grace, where God is no longer counting our sins against us. 2 Corinthians 5:19 says:
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them.
This is the message God has given us to tell people: God is not counting your sins against you. They were counted against Jesus. Jesus became sin for you so you could be reconciled to God and become righteous before him. He paid your sin penalty in full. He took all of God's punishment for sin so you can begin a relationship with him.
This is what it means to be an ambassador in 2 Corinthians 5:20. As his ambassadors, God is making his appeal of grace through us to the world by telling them the good news of his grace which is: God is no longer counting your sins against you. All your sins were counted against Jesus. Jesus was punished for you. God wants to be in a relationship with you. He loves you! Receive his grace by placing your faith in Jesus.
In my office that day, as an ambassador of God's grace, I was able to share with Marty the good news that God was not punishing him for his sins through the loss of his family and death of his child. God was not counting his sins against him. Jesus took all of his punishment. I shared with him that God loved him and desired to be in a relationship with him.
Through this conversation, Marty has began a relationship with God by placing his faith in Jesus Christ and experiencing his grace. Marty now walks about in freedom, no longer believing God is punishing him for his sins but enjoying a relationship with God who paid for all his sins.
Like Marty, there are hurting people in the word today. People who believe God is punishing them for their sins. They need to hear the good news of grace...Jesus took our punishment. He was punished for us all. There is no more punishment left. God is not counting our sins against us. God is not punishing us for our sins.
Maybe this is you. You are hurting. You have believed God is punishing you for your sins. I have good news for you. God is not punishing you for your sins. Jesus took your punishment. This is called grace.
Grace is Jesus taking the full punishment for our sins. Punishment we deserved but that he took freely and willingly upon himself because of his great love for us. God loves you. And because of grace, God is not punishing you for your sins.
If you have already come to faith in Jesus, believe that God is not punishing you for your sins. Jesus took your punishment. He is not counting your sins against you.
If you are not in a relationship with God, which comes through faith in Jesus, you may do so now. Make the following prayer your prayer to God.
God, I believe you love me and desire to be in a relationship with me. Yet, my sins have separated me from you. But through Jesus, you have removed my sins by having Jesus take the full punishment for my sins so that I can be in a relationship with you. You are not counting my sins against me. You are not punishing me for my sins. Thank you for your grace. Today, I receive your grace. I place my faith in Jesus who loved me and gave himself for my sins. I believe Jesus rose from the dead. I ask Jesus to come live in my heart by his Spirit. I am now in a relationship with you through Jesus who lives in me.
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