Posts Tagged ‘Punishment

10
Jan
18

Blessed In Spite Of Suffering

We expect to be punished when we do the wrong things. What happens when we are picked on or punished for doing what is right? We feel persecuted and not blessed. Yet Peter says that we are blessed when we suffer for doing the right things. He says:

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” – 1 Peter 3:13-14 (NIV)

Even if we are threatened by punishment for doing the right things, we should do them anyway. We should always be eager to do good and to do what is right. Regardless of the consequences of doing what is right, we should live lives of character and integrity. God will have the final say and He is the One who will bless us when we do what is right. While we may suffer for a little while on earth, we will be eternally blessed in Heaven.
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26
Oct
17

No Fear In Love

John said in verse 17 that we can approach God the Father with confidence just like Jesus could when He was on the earth. How is this even possible? God is God and we are not. God is holy and righteous and just. He is perfect and we are most definitely not perfect. So how can we, imperfect sinners, approach a holy God with such confidence? The answer is: love. John wrote:

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – 1 John 4:18 (NIV)

We do not have to fear God because He is not out to punish us. He is out to love us. He punished Jesus on the cross when He poured out all of His wrath on His Son. He has no more wrath for you! All He has for you is forgiveness. You do not have to be terrified of God. He’s not out to get you! He’s only out to get you into Heaven! If you’re terrified of God, you need to experience His love for His love makes all of the difference.
25
Oct
17

Confidence Before The Father

Are you terrified of God’s judgment? Are you afraid of your Heavenly Father? Do you fear His wrath and punishment? It may be because your faith is flawed. The Apostle John wrote:

This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. – 1 John 4:17 (NIV)

John says that we are like Jesus. How is that possible?!? When most of us look at our lives we think that we are NOTHING like Jesus! After all, He was perfect and we are not! While that is true, that’s not John’s point. When God washes away our sins in the blood of Christ, He makes us like Jesus. We have full and free access to the Father by His love and grace. We do not have to fear the wrath and punishment of God because we are loved and forgiven. Put your confidence in God’s unconditional love and His amazing grace. His wrath was satisfied at the cross and your punishment was taken by Jesus.
02
Dec
15

What We Deserve

Micah 1:1-7 (NIV)

The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah—the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

Hear, you peoples, all of you,
    listen, earth and all who live in it,
that the Sovereign Lord may bear witness against you,
    the Lord from his holy temple.

Judgment Against Samaria and Jerusalem

Look! The Lord is coming from his dwelling place;
    he comes down and treads on the heights of the earth.
The mountains melt beneath him
    and the valleys split apart,
like wax before the fire,
    like water rushing down a slope.
All this is because of Jacob’s transgression,
    because of the sins of the people of Israel.
What is Jacob’s transgression?
    Is it not Samaria?
What is Judah’s high place?
    Is it not Jerusalem?

“Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of rubble,
    a place for planting vineyards.
I will pour her stones into the valley
    and lay bare her foundations.
All her idols will be broken to pieces;
    all her temple gifts will be burned with fire;
    I will destroy all her images.
Since she gathered her gifts from the wages of prostitutes,
    as the wages of prostitutes they will again be used.”

Much of Israel’s history is one of the rejection of God’s covenant with His people.  He called them to be His people and with that wonderful privilege came stipulations.  These stipulations were spelled out in the Ten Commandments.  Israel did not keep the Commandments and therefore had to be punished.  Micah, prophesying about 700 years before the birth of Christ, told of God’s anger and punishment coming against His people who had turned to idolatry and temple prostitution (verse 7).  God was going to use pagan nations to punish His people.  The northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah would both be punished by God.  The Assyrians would attack the northern kingdom and the capitol city of Samaria and the Babylonians would conquer the southern kingdom and the capitol city of Jerusalem (verse 5).
God is portrayed as a mighty God who comes to bring just punishment on His people.  They had rejected not only His covenant, but they had rejected Him.  They worshiped other gods and turned His temple into a place of idol worship and prostitution.  The house of the Lord was now filled with false images and sexual immorality.  God’s heart was broken and He gave His people ample time to repent.  He called out to them through the prophets to turn away from sin and turn back to Him, yet they did not.  He had no choice but to punish them for their sin.
I have a son and I love him very much.  When he breaks the rules I have to punish him.  He gets grounded or, when he was younger, he was lightly spanked from time to time.  It was torturous for the both of us.  He didn’t like the spanking and I HATED it.  I don’t want to punish my son!  Yet I know that I cannot let him grow up to be a sociopath who thinks that there are no consequences for his wrong behavior.  I’m certain of this – God hated punishing His people.  So He sent Jesus.
Jesus came to take the punishment we deserve.  God said that He would no longer punish His people and pour out His wrath on us.  Jesus willingly came to Earth and willingly laid down His life to take our punishment.  He bore the brunt of God’s wrath as He hung on a Roman cross.  He was mocked and beaten.  He was spit upon and flogged.  He was crucified for you and me.  He suffered the consequences of our sins.  Now, there is no condemnation or wrath left for the people of God.  We have been set free from the consequences of our sins.  God still disciplines and lovingly corrects us when we sin as any loving Father would do.  But the wrath and punishment we deserve was poured out on His only Son.  All glory, honor, thanks and praise be to Jesus for His sacrifice.
 
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank You for taking my place on that cross.  I thank You for suffering in my place and bearing my shame and guilt.  Help me to live a life of gratitude for Your sacrifice.  Help me to live a life of love just like You did.  In Your name I ask these things, amen.
23
Oct
15

Contrasting The Righteous and The Wicked

Much of Proverbs 11 is a contrast between the righteous and the wicked. Verse 21 is a key verse in this discussion:

Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished,
but those who are righteous will go free. (Proverbs 11:21, NIV)

This is important to keep in mind as you watch the wicked seem to prevail. Those who have no fear of God who seem to prosper. Those who perpetrate evil and seem to get away with it. Solomon tells us that the wicked will NOT go unpunished. They will receive what is due them. Jesus sets us free by His atoning death on the cross. He takes away the bonds and chains of slavery to sin. He sets us free from sin and death. He sets us free from the consequences of our actions. He makes us righteous by His sacrifice. He died to make us righteous and set us free.

There is one other verse that struck me as I read through this chapter. That is verse 25:

A generous man will prosper;
he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25, NIV)

Verse 25 teaches us the importance of generosity and encouragement. As God has generously blessed us, we should seek to generously bless others. God blesses us so that we might be a blessing to others. He does not bless us so that we can hoard the blessings He has provided. He does not bless us so that we can use all of our blessings only on ourselves. He blesses us so that we can be generous toward others. We will discover that God honors generosity. This makes sense because God is a generous Father to His children. When we are generous, we are being like Him. He generously blesses and He generously forgives. We are not worthy of neither His blessing nor His love, yet He lavishes them both upon us. What a good and loving God we have as our Heavenly Father!

PRAYER: On this day, O God, help me to live a life of righteousness and not wickedness.  Help me to be generous and not withhold from others that with which you have blessed me.  Forgive me when I look more like the world around me than the Christ who is in me.  Thank You for my blessings.  Thank You for Your love and forgiveness.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

17
Aug
15

Sin Is Sin

James 2:8-11 (NIV)
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
Sin is sin.  We are all sinners.  Romans 3:23 tells us that everyone has sinned.  All sin has the same results.  Romans 6:23 tells us that the results of sin is death.  Sin separates us from God.  The Old Testament law points us to the fact that we are sinners who are incapable of keeping God’s commands.
Is all sin equal in God’s eyes?  We know that breaking the laws of our land do not result in equal punishments.  If one breaks the speed limit, the penalty is not the same as for someone who commits murder.  While both are violations of the law, the justice system of our country does not call for equal punishments.  We have different categories of lawbreaking.  Misdemeanors and felonies are not equal to one another.
James says that there is one category of sinner.  A sinner is a lawbreaker.  No matter how many of God’s commands you violate – murder, adultery or even showing favoritism are the examples James gives – your sin makes you a lawbreaker.  All sins have the same result – separation from God for eternity.  All sins require punishment.  The thing that separates the sinner from the saint is forgiveness through Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.  Those who have put their faith and trust in Christ have been forgiven from all of their sins and lawbreaking.  Those who have not received God’s grace through faith in Jesus are still dead in their sins and lawbreaking.  It really is that simple.
While we may put different weights on the kinds of sins people commit, God does not.  We would never equate murder with showing favoritism, but God does.  Why?  Because if He were to do that, we would try to justify ourselves before Him.  “Well, I’m not THAT bad!  It’s not like I ever KILLED anyone!”  All sin is sin.  It is all repugnant to God.  The good news of the Gospel is that He is willing to forgive it all by His glorious grace through faith in Christ.  Believe in Jesus, repent from your sinfulness, confess Christ as Savior and be baptized and your sins will be washed away.  Your sins will be forgiven and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  No matter what you’ve done you can come to Jesus just as you are and He will welcome you into His family.
PRAYER:  Thank You, Jesus, for welcoming me into Your family.  I am grateful, O God, that You do not treat me as my sins deserve, but instead have forgiven me from all my transgressions.  Help me to not take Your grace for granted.  Help me to hear Your voice today and to obey You in all things.  Amen.
18
Oct
12

Contrasting The Righteous and The Wicked

Much of Proverbs 11 is a contrast between the righteous and the wicked. Verse 21 is a key verse in this discussion:

Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished,
but those who are righteous will go free. (Proverbs 11:21, NIV)

This is important to keep in mind as you watch the wicked seem to prevail. Those who have no fear of God who seem to prosper. Those who perpetrate evil and seem to get away with it. Solomon tells us that the wicked will NOT go unpunished. They will receive what is due them. Jesus sets us free by His atoning death on the cross. He takes away the bonds and chains of slavery to sin. He sets us free from sin and death. He sets us free from the consequences of our actions. He makes us righteous by His sacrifice. He died to make us righteous and set us free.

There is one other verse that struck me as I read through this chapter. That is verse 25:

A generous man will prosper;
he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25, NIV)

Verse 25 teaches us the importance of generosity and encouragement. As God has generously blessed us, we should seek to generously bless others. God blesses us so that we might be a blessing to others. He does not bless us so that we can hoard the blessings He has provided. He does not bless us so that we can use all of our blessings only on ourselves. He blesses us so that we can be generous toward others. We will discover that God honors generosity. This makes sense because God is a generous Father to His children. When we are generous, we are being like Him. He generously blesses and He generously forgives. We are not worthy of neither His blessing nor His love, yet He lavishes them both upon us. What a good and loving God we have as our Heavenly Father!




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