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?
If I do not repent of sin, when will God punish me? We must start with the fact that our God is a merciful God who is not quick to punish Christians and non-Christians for their sins. Romans 5:1 says that God loves His enemies and Acts 14;15-17 says He 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 (NASB)
He is not a cruel God who is looking for an opportunity to “step” on us for every sin. He is patient because He desires that everyone will repent of their sins. Yet, God is not a fool who is not blind to our sins. What follows explains what will happen if we do not repent of sin, and when God will punish us.
If I Do Not Repent of Sin
There is a spiritual principle the Holy Spirit has given us that we must remember.
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. Jeremiah 17:10 (NASB)
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. Galatians 6:7 (NASB)
This spiritual principle is that God searches the hearts of men. He knows the heart and mind of every person. That means He knows our real motives and desires. Eventually, we reap what we sow. This is true for everyone.
When we sin, Romans 2:3-6 tells us that God is kind, tolerant, and patient toward us. He is not quick to punish us for our sins. He gives us time to repent. This includes our habitual sins. Romans 2:5-6 warns us.
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 (NASB)
But eventually, God will stop waiting for us to stop sinning, especially our habitual sins! But He will not wait forever!
When Will God Punish Me?
So, when will God punish us if we do not stop sinning? He does not tell us. But that does not mean He will ignore our sin. I once 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 (NASB)
The king’s suffering was unavoidable because he refused to stop sinning. God had already prophesied that it would happen. But Daniel believed it could be postponed.
The message for us is that God is merciful and patient, but eventually He will punish us for unrepentant sin. Eventually, we will suffer for any habitual sin if we do not repent and confess our sins. If Christians continue in sin, they will be disciplined and suffer in this life but not in the future.
There is also a “sin leading to death” that if committed results in our physical death.
. . . There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. 1 John 5:16 (NASB)
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.
What Should I Do?
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 (NASB)
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. Then we need to repent or forsake or stop doing the sin. It has been said that to repent is to turn around and go in the opposite direction. 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 4:24; 1Thessalonians 3:13.
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 (Ephesians 2:4-5).
Thanks be to God for grace, mercy and love . . .
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. Ephesians 1:7 (NKJV)
Suggested Links:Can Christians die because they sin in their speech? — Reap What You Sow?
How long can a person sin and still be a Christian?
Is someone a Christian if they practice unrepentant sin?
Should Christians follow Christ to become like Him?
How can I walk closer to my Lord?
God’s Will – Be Filled With The Spirit
Searching For God
What is the sin leading to death? — 1 John 5:16-17