Bible Question:

If you do not repent of an abomination to God such as lying and deceit, do we receive the punishment while we are here on earth or when we stand before Him? I know that God will not let you go unpunished. If He punishes while we are in the flesh, do we know that it is from God?

Bible Answer:

Our God is a merciful God for He gives to those who are not just Christians but even to those who reject Him. He desires that we repent of  sin so that He does not have to punish us.  God loves His enemies (Rom. 5:10) and provides for all of us.

And in the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness. Acts 14:15-17

He is not a cruel God looking for an opportunity to “step” on you. Yes, we are sinners, and yes we will suffer in this life. But for those who trust and depend on Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins, there is no future punishment. That is why God the Father sent Jesus to die a cruel death in order to forgive OUR sins and keep us from the penalty we so fully deserve. God has shown us grace, and He will continue to show us grace.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. (NKJV) Ephesians 1:7

Reap What You Sow

However, there is a spiritual principle the Holy Spirit has given us.

I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds. (NASB) Jeremiah 17:10

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. Galations 6:7

This spiritual principle applies to us in this life and in the future. John 3:16-18 talks about our potential future judgment.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16-18

For those who reject Jesus, for those who are satisfied with their sin, for those who do not want to be right with God, the future is bad.

But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS. Romans 2:5-6

What a man sows that he will reap in the future.

His Mercy

All of us will suffer in this life for our sins – the wicked and the Christian. Listen to Hebrews,

If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Hebrews 12:8-9

Yet, God is often merciful and we do not suffer. Recently, I had a friend who sinned by breaking the law and was potentially going to prison. We prayed for mercy and God granted it to him. Daniel the prophet tried to encourage King Nebuchadnezzar to stop sinning and maybe postpone his suffering. But the king did not listen.

Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity. Daniel 4:27

The king’s suffering was unavoidable, because God had already predicted it would happen. But Daniel believed it could be postponed.

The message for us is that God is merciful. Yes, we will suffer when we sin and DO NOT REPENT AND CONFESS OUR SINS. If Christians continue in sin, we will receive discipline and suffer in this life but not in the future. Jesus took care of that. There is also a “sin unto death” that if committed results in our “immediate” death.

. . . There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. 1 John 5:16

It appears this is the result of an ongoing pattern of sin in the life of the believer — a sin he or she allows to continue in their life. Someone once asked, “What sin is this?” Well, the Holy Spirit never says. Why? Apparently, the sin is different for each person.

Confessing Sin

True Christians are those who admit they are sinners. When we do sin, God asks us to admit we sinned.

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:1-10

Confession is not seeking forgiveness. it is an admission of guilt. Christians are already forgiven (Colossians 2:13). Confession is simply agreeing that we sinned.

Conclusion:

Thank Him for His mercy and grace! If you have never trusted in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, He offers you the opportunity to be at peace with Him and escape future punishment. If you are a Christian, He calls you to flee life styles of sin and avoid His discipline in this life. God desires to show mercy.

Long ago, a poor woman from the slums of London was invited to go with a group of people for a holiday at the ocean. She had never seen the ocean before, and when she saw it, she burst into tears. Those around her thought it was strange that she should cry when such a lovely holiday had been given her. “Why in the world are you crying?” they asked. Pointing to the ocean she answered, “This is the only thing I have seen that there is enough of.”

God has oceans of mercy. There is enough of it – and God delights to show mercy and compassion (Eph. 2:4-5).

Thanks be to God for grace, mercy and love . . .