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A GOOD GOD AND SIN--PART I

A.     Introduction:  We are studying the character of God -- what God is like.  We are dealing with three aspects           of His character -- God is good, God is a Father, God is faithful.
     1.     Accurate knowledge of God's character is vital for strong faith. Heb 11:11; Ps 9:10
          a.     Many Christians are weak in faith because they think their troubles come from God.                                b.     Your troubles, tests, trials, etc., do not come from God.  God is a good God and good means good.
               You must know that about God.  You cannot fully trust someone you think is going to harm you.
     2.     In this lesson we want to begin to deal with the connection between a good God and our sin.
          a.     What about the fact that God punishes, has wrath, against sin?  Is that good?  How can it be good?
          b.     As Christians, we all sin from time to time.  How does God respond to your sin?  Are your                          troubles His way of punishing you for your sins?
          c.     We need answers to these questions if we're going to be strong in faith and confidence before God
     3.     The bottom lines is, we all want to know what God is going to do to me for the sin I just committed.
          a.     As with many Bible subjects we must start with general principles before we can get specific.  We                     are going to first look at general principles concerning God and our sin.  Then, in the next lesson                     we will  specifically apply those general principles.
          b.     In this lesson we will find out that God is a righteous, holy God who must punish sin -- and that is                     good and good means good.

B.     The Bible tells us that God is a righteous God. Ps 116:5; Ps 119:137; Ps 145:17; John 17:25
     1.     Both the OT and NT words translated righteous have the idea of just, equitable or fair, and lawful.
          a.     Vine's dictionary of NT words defines righteousness as God's faithfulness or truthfulness which is                consistent with His own nature.
          b.     Righteousness is the aspect of God's character which requires Him to be true to Himself.                           Remember, He cannot deny Himself. II Tim 2:13
               1.     He cannot deny His own nature. (Norlie)
               2.     He cannot prove false to Himself. (Williams)
          c.     Whatever He is, He is and remains because He is righteous.  That is one reason you can trust Him.
     2.     The Bible also tells us that God is holy.  Holy means set apart from evil, to be completely separate                     from evil.  Sin is the opposite of God's nature. Isa 6:3; John 17:11
          a.     To be true to His nature, to be righteous, God must condemn evil and must express His wrath or                     displeasure toward sin by punishing it.
               1.     God has anger toward sin, not because He is mean or emotional, but because He is righteous.
               2.     God has wrath toward sin.  God's wrath is not like a human emotion -- You bug me, so                               KABOOM!  God's wrath is His righteous response to sin.
          b.     If God were to overlook sin or ignore it, He would be condoning it and that would be a denial of                     His nature. Ps 97:2
     3.     God, as a righteous, holy God, must punish sin, which means punishing the sinner, and that is good.
          a.     If someone commits a crime in our society (murder, robbery, etc.), is caught, arrested goes to trial,                     is found guilty and goes to jail that is good.  Why?  It upholds the law and justice.  It protects law-                    abiding citizens.  It serves as a deterrent to future crime.
          b.     Sin is a violation of God's laws.  It is good that God punishes sin in the same sense it is good that                     government punishes lawbreakers.
          c.     God's righteousness is the part of His character which assures us that He will never change so we                     can rely on Him and rest in Him.  That's good.
          d.     The problem is that all of us commit sin, all of us are guilty of sin, and, as a holy God, He must                     punish sin.  That's not good for us because we sin.

C.     If we are going to answer the question, “What is God going to do to me for my sin”, we must first      understand God's purpose in creating man.
     1.     God did not create man to sin or for sin.  God created man for relationship, for sonship.
          a.     God created man knowing man would sin.  He created man anyway because He had a plan in mind                to deal with our sins, to remove our sin.
          b.     God's plan was to remove our sin through Jesus.  Jesus is called the Lamb slain from the                               foundation of the world. Rev 13:8
     2.     God's goal since the sin of Adam and the fall of man has not been to punish sin but to remove the sin                that separates us from Him.  Consider these points.
          a.     Moments after Adam and Eve sinned God promised Jesus, the perfect sacrifice or payment for our                     sins. Gen 3:15
          b.     After Adam and Eve sinned, God made coats of skin or a blood covering for their sin. Gen 3:21
          c.     God instituted blood sacrifices which gave Adam, Eve, and their children continual access to Him                     even though they had to leave the Garden of Eden. Gen 4:4
          d.     On the basis of what God was going to do through Jesus and the Cross He was able to extend                          mercy to people in the OT until Jesus came. Rom 3:25
     3.     In God's dealings with Israel we see His desire to remove the sin that separated His people from Him.
          a.     When God brought them out of Egypt, before He brought them into the promised land, He gave                     them a system of blood sacrifices to cover their sins and symbolically remove them. Lev 16:15-22
          b.     Through the prophets the Lord repeatedly told Israel there was coming a day when He would no                     longer remember their sins. Ps 103:12; Isa 38:17; Isa 43:25; Isa 44:22; Jer 31:34; Micah 7:18,19
          c.     Finally, Jesus came to put away sin, to remove it once and for all. Heb 9:26; 9:11-14; 10:1-4,12
     4.     God, the righteous God who must punish sin, has punished us, has judged our sins, has poured out His                wrath against our sins on Jesus. Isa 53:5
          a.     Jesus, our substitute, took our place on the Cross and was punished for our sins.
          b.     Through our substitute we have been hauled into court, sentenced to judgment, and executed.
               1.     Isa 53:5--He is pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our sins; He is punished to make                     us happy and wounded to heal us. (Beck)
               2.     Isa 53:6--The Lord has punished Him for the sins of all of us. (Beck)
               3.     Isa 53:11--By His experience my righteous servant makes many righteous by taking on                               Himself the heavy load of their guilt. (Beck)
          c.     God's wrath against your sin went to Jesus.  Ps 88 describes a man suffering under the wrath of                     God.  Many believe it is a prophetic reference to Jesus. v1-3,6,7,14,16,17
          d.     The claims of God's righteous judgment against us and our sins have been satisfied through our                     substitute, Jesus.
               1.     Rom 8:1--Therefore [there is] now no condemnation -- no adjudging guilty of wrong -- for                          those who are in Christ Jesus. (Amp)
               2.     Rom 8:1--Now, because of this, those who belong to Christ will not suffer the punishment of                          sin. (New Life)
     5.     Because of the Cross God has been true to justice, He has upheld His righteousness.  
          a.     Our sin has been punished, but God has not lost you or me in the process.
          b.     The only punishment you could take which would satisfy divine justice for you sins is if you go to                     hell forever -- eternal separation from God.
D.     What about verses -- even in the NT -- which refer to the wrath of God on people?
     1.     Rom 1:18-32 contains a long statement about God's wrath.  Note these points:
          a.     It is against ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. v18     
          b.     These men and women are willingly and willfully ignorant of God. v19-21
          c.     Instead of acknowledging God, they worshipped false gods. v22,23,25
          d.     God allowed them to follow that course and their sin got worse and worse. v24,26-31
          e.     Not only do they know what they do is wrong, they don't care. v32
     2.     Eph 5:1-8 makes reference to the wrath of God.  Note these points:
          a.     v6--Sinful actions bring out the response of God's wrath and it comes on the children of                               disobedience.  Children of disobedience are unsaved people.
          b.     Disobedience, in the Greek, is APEITHEIA which is literally unbelief.  It has the idea of                               unpersuadable, stubbornly disobedient, rebellious.  The same word is found in Eph 2:2                               (disobedience) where Paul is describing our condition before we were saved.
          c.     The point of this passage is:  Christian, don't act like what you aren't -- unbelievers, darkness.
               Paul challenges them to act like what they are -- believers, children of the light.  Notice, he does                     not threaten them with the wrath of God.
     3.     You must understand there are two groups of people in the earth -- saved and unsaved, friends of God                and enemies of God, children of God and children of Satan. I John 3:10,12; John 8:44
          a.     If you are a friend of God (saved), the wrath which should come to you (God's righteous response                     to your sin) went to Jesus, and because you have accepted Him as Savior and Lord, there is no                     more wrath for you.
          b.     If you are an enemy of God (unsaved), the wrath which should come to you (God's righteous                          response to sin) went to Jesus, but because you have not accepted Him as you Savior and Lord,                     that wrath abided on you. John 3:36 (abideth = to stay or remain)
     4.     Even though God's wrath or displeasure is upon unsaved people, we still see His mercy extended                     toward them.
          a.     The consequences of that wrath -- eternal separation from God -- is not operative during their                          lifetime.  Although they are separated from God that can potentially change at any moment.
          b.     God gives men time or space to repent.  They can come to Jesus at any time.  God waits for them.                     II Pet 3:9
          c.     God gives men a witness of Himself in the earth and He shows them kindness and mercy.
               Rom 1:19,20; Acts 14:16,17; John 1:9; Ps 19:1; Luke 6:35; Matt 5:45
               1.     It is God's mercy that what happened at Sodom and Gomorrah doesn't happen at every public                          homosexual gathering.
               2.     It is God's mercy that destruction like Noah's flood doesn't come on every unsaved person                          this instant.
          d.     The only way any humans will face the wrath of God is if they reject Jesus as Savior and Lord,                     and, God, in His goodness, restrains that wrath throughout our lifetime.  His mercy holds it back.
     5.     Sometimes, in discussing God's wrath against sin, people bring up natives in the jungle or people in                Moslem or Hindu countries who have never heard of Jesus.  If God is good, what about them?
          a.     You must realize the devil uses that question, combined with the natural tendency of our flesh to                     accuse God of being unfair, to plant doubt in us concerning God's goodness.
          b.     God cares about those people more than you do.  Do you know their individual names?  Do you                     know how many hairs they have on their heads?  God does!! Gen 18:25; Titus 2:11

E.     Many of us have the mistaken idea that God's indignation against and punishment of sin (His wrath,                His righteous response to sin) comes to us on a “sin by sin” basis.
     1.     In other words, I commit a sin and God punishes me with a trial.  But, the only punishment you can pay           which will satisfy divine justice for your sin is to go to hell forever.
     2.     Yes, but it seems that way in the OT.  They did something bad and God would punish them.  .
          a.     If we study it out, we find that His wrath came on them for unbelief and idol worship.
               1.     Unbelief in the face of tremendous demonstrations of His power.
               2.     Idol worship even after God warned them of the consequences before they got into it and sent                          prophets to warn them to repent for years while they were in it before judgment actually came.
          b.     They always knew exactly why God was angry with them and exactly how to correct it.
     3.     When God judges people on earth He removes His hand of protection from them and allows them to                reap the consequences of their sin. Rom 1:18-32; Num 14:28,29; Ps 81:8-12; Isa 3:9,10; Jer 2:17,19                a.     It's very clear from scripture that God is a reluctant God.  It does not please Him to allow people                     to reap the fruit of their rebellion.  But, as a righteous God, He must be true to His nature.
          b.     When God allowed Assyria and Babylon to overrun Israel in judgment for their rebellion, it was                     called God's strange (alien, foreign) work.  His heart was not in it. Isa 28:21; Lam 3:33
     4.     You must understand something about the consequences of sin.
          a.     Rom 8:1 tells us that we are no longer guilty of sin before God (no more condemnation) and that is                correct.  But, there is more to it than that.
          b.     The word condemnation means to judge against, pass sentence upon, with the suggestion of a                          punishment or consequence to follow.
               1.     There are vertical and horizontal consequences to sin.
               2.     Vertical means something between you and God.  Horizontal means something between you                          and the things in your life.
          c.     Through the Cross of Christ the vertical consequences of sin have been removed -- even the sin                     you might commit tomorrow.
          d.     But, the horizontal consequences of sin can and do still come our way.  These would include                          punishment from society and other people, fear, worry, guilt, depression, lack, sickness, etc.
F.     Conclusion:  We have not said all there is to say about God's righteousness and sin, but consider these      
     1.     God is a righteous God.  Righteousness requires God to be true to Himself.  That means, as a holy God,
          He must punish sin.
          a.     He punished our sins in Jesus.  There is no punishment for those who are in Christ Jesus.
          b.     God's desire is not to punish the sinner but to remove sin.  Where sin is not removed it must be                     punished.
          c.     But, because God is merciful and kind He holds back His wrath against their sin for their entire                     lifetime, giving them space to repent.
     2.     It is good that God has wrath against sin (His righteous response to sin) and that He expresses it.
          a.     God's wrath toward sin means that God is being true to His nature, even at great cost to Himself.                      You can count on Him -- and that is good.
          b.     God's wrath toward sin means He will eventually remove all sin -- the source of all our troubles.                      There is coming a day when all that pollutes, corrupts, and kills will be removed from the universe                -- and that is good. Matt 13:37-43
          c.     God is good and good means good.