Q18: Will God allow our disobedience and idolatry to go unpunished?
A: No, every sin is against the sovereignty, holiness, and goodness of God, and against his righteous law, and God is righteously angry with our sins and will punish them in his just judgement both in this life, and in the life to come. (Crossway 2017)
Ephesians 5:5-6 “For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, and idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” (ESV)
The Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this truth mean in my relationship with God?
We have discussed in some of the previous week’s questions that all, except Christ Himself, are sinful and unable to live up to the perfect law of God. God is holy, righteous, and just in all his ways. Because of this, our sin, rightfully, cannot go without judgment and punishment. God was right in punishing and judging nations throughout Scripture for their disobedience and sin. He is also fully right in His punishment for sin in our lives today and will be just in the final eternal judgment to come. Our sin separates us from God and eternal life with Him. This is bad news, but it is also what makes the gospel message so amazing. Jesus took the punishment and wrath that we deserved on the cross, paying for our sin once and for all. He rose again on the third day claiming victory over death, displaying the power of God. All who call up on Him, repenting of their sin and believing in Him, in faith, are saved. Therefore, this means that our relationship with God isn’t based on our own good works or righteous living, but on what Christ, the perfect sacrifice, has done in our place by taking on the wrath of God for us. We can live in this freedom today and also will one day stand before God in the righteousness of Christ. That’s the good news!
- Romans 6:23“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesusour Lord.”
- Isaiah 59:2“But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his facefrom you so that he does not hear.”
- Acts 17:30-31 “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousnessby a man whom he has appointed…”
- Ephesians 2:8“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:21“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this truth mean in my relationship with humanity?
There should be a great sense of urgency in the way that we live, demonstrate, and share the message of the gospel. Each morning God gives us another day to spread this message not only of His judgment, but of His grace and love in the midst of a world that is searching for hope in many other things. All are sinful and deserving of the judgment of God. This includes neighbors, co-workers, friends, family, and others we encounter daily. We should love others and one another, displaying the gospel in our lives and sharing the truth of the gospel, so that people can hear of the love God, who gave his Son to bear the punishment for our sins.
- John 3:16“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in himshould not perishbut have eternal life.”
- John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another:just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
- Mark 16:15“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospelto the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’”
Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action?
First of all, we can take action by daily taking the sin in our lives seriously and praying like David did in Psalm 51, confessing and repenting of sin. Begin by asking the Holy Spirit to reveal sin in your life that needs repenting of and find freedom in Christ. Second, we can continue to grow in our understanding of who God is. A few months ago, (question 2) we looked at the question of who God is. One thing that stuck out that week is that we cannot just take one attribute of God (God as sovereign judge) and make everything of that (forgetting that he is also God of love). Let’s come before God in reverence and fear, seeking to obey and worship Him alone. Lastly, let’s seek to live in the hope of the gospel and in the new life that we have in Christ Jesus. The old has passed away, and the new has come. God is judge, but we don’t have to fear death and separation from him, because Jesus has given us life.
- Psalm 51:3-4, 10“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment…Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:17“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
- Romans 5:18“Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.”