A GOOD GOD AND SIN--PART II
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. Many Christians mistakenly think their troubles come from God. But, troubles, tests, trials, etc., don't come from God. God is good and good means good.
a. You must know that about God. You cannot fully trust someone you think is going to harm you.
b. Accurate knowledge of God's character is vital for strong faith. Heb 11:11; Ps 9:10
2. In the last lesson we began to look at the connection between a good God and our sin.
a. What about the fact that God punishes sin, has wrath against sin? How can that be good?
b. What about the sins we commit as Christians? Are our troubles God's way of punishing us for our sins? We all want to know: What is God going to do to me for the sin I just committed.
3. If we are going to have confidence before God we must answer these questions and deal with related issues. We began to do that in the last lesson and want to continue in this lesson.
B. In the last lesson we looked at general principles concerning God and our sin. We need to restate some of those things.
1. God, as a holy, righteous God, must punish sin.
a. To be holy means to be separate from evil. Sin is the opposite of God's holy nature.
b. If God were to ignore or overlook sin, He would be condoning it, and that would be a denial of His nature. God cannot deny Himself. II Tim 2:13
c. Righteousness (faithfulness or truthfulness) is the aspect of God's character which requires Him to be true to Himself. To be true to His nature, God must punish sin. Ps 97:2
2. It is good that God punishes sin and good means good.
a. It is good that God punishes sin in the same sense it is good that the government punishes law breakers. It honors the law, protects law abiding citizens, and deters future crime.
b. It is good that God punishes sin because it means He is being true to His nature. You can count on Him to be what He is. You can count on Him not to change.
c. That brings up an obvious question. Yes, but what about my sin?
3. God, the righteous God who must punish sin, has punished you, has judged you, has poured out His wrath against your sins on your substitute, Jesus. Isa 53:5
a. Your troubles are not God punishing you for your sins. He has already punished you by punishing your substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ.
b. Your troubles are not God punishing you for you sins. The only punishment you could take which would satisfy divine justice is if you go to hell forever -- eternal separation from God.
4. All of this leads to other questions as we try to apply these general principles to specific situations.
a. If God's wrath against our sin has been poured out on Jesus, does that mean He won't do anything to us if we sin? Does that mean it's okay to sin?
b. If our sins are paid for, why do we have to get forgiveness for our sins?
c. Won't the Lord chasten us for our sins?
5. We want to spend the rest of the lesson dealing with these and related issues.
C. God created man for sonship, for relationship, for fellowship. Eph 1:4,5
1. Since Adam sinned and the human race fell into sin, death, and separation from God, God's goal has not been to punish sin but to remove sin so relationship can be restored.
a. If God were to punish us for our sin it would mean eternally separating us from Himself in hell -- which means no sonship, no relationship, no fellowship.
b. But God came up with a plan to put our sin on Jesus so it could be removed and to punish Jesus in our place to satisfy His justice.
c. Through Jesus God punished and removed our sins without losing us in the process.
2. God not only wants to remove sin, He wants to turn sinners into saints.
a. When a person makes Jesus Savior and Lord of his life, his sins are removed, and God can then legally make that person His literal son or daughter by putting His life in Him.
1. When a person makes Jesus Lord of his life he gets born again. At the new birth the life of God comes into your spirit and you are literally born of God. I John 5:1
2. The entrance of the life of God into your spirit makes you a literal, actual son or daughter of God.
b. At the new birth you are legally adopted by God (given full legal privileges of sonship) and vitally born of God (His life comes into your spirit and recreates it).
3. Before being born again, you were by nature an object of God's wrath, a child of the devil by your first birth into a fallen race. Eph 2:3; I John 3:10
a. Now, as a result of the new birth, you are by nature a child of God. You have His life and nature in you. II Cor 5:17,18; II Pet 1:4
b. You were a sinner, now you are a saint, by birth. To be a saint means to be set apart from evil, to be holy. Eph 1:1--Saints is the word HAGIOS. It is used in v4 (holy), v13 (holy), v15,18 (saints).
D. What happens when a Christian sins?
1. First consider what does not happen.
a. That sin does not have to be punished again. It, you, were punished at the Cross. If that sin was not paid for at the Cross, the only punishment you could take now which would satisfy divine justice is for you to go to hell forever.
b. The legal relationship established at the new birth -- rights and privileges of sonship -- does not change.
c. The vital relationship established at the new birth -- literally being born of God -- does not change.
2. You must understand that when you sin as a Christian, it does not change what you are by birth -- a holy son of God.
a. When you sin, you are a holy person who has acted in an unholy way.
b. When you sin, you are a righteous person who has acted unrighteously.
c. When you sin, you are a saint who has acted like a sinner.
3. What happens is that your fellowship or interaction with God changes. God does not change toward you. You change toward Him.
a. When Adam and Eve sinned, God did not run from them. They ran from Him. Gen 3:7,8
b. When you sin, your own spirit which is now alive with the life of God condemns you. I John 3:21
1. Condemn = KATAGINOSKO = to note against, i.e., to find fault with.
2. When that happens, you lose your confidence before God.
4. The Bible recognizes the fact that, as believers, as saints, we do sin from time to time. I John 2:1
a. Note the approach the Holy Spirit through John uses toward our sin. I write to you so that you do not sin, but if you do, here's what to do. Our goal should always be not to sin.
b. I John 2:1,2--The Holy Spirit through John goes on to say, when you sin, remember, you have an Advocate with the Father and He is the satisfaction for our sins.
c. Our Advocate is not holding back the wrath of God. He doesn't have to, it has been exhausted. It was poured out at the Cross on Jesus. His presence at the right hand of the Father is a continual reminder that our sins are paid for. Heb 1:3
5. In chapter one of I John we get more insight into what happens when a Christian sins. It is important that we read in context. The context is fellowship or interaction with God and with each other.
a. v6--If we say we have fellowship with God, yet walk in darkness, we lie. It can't be done. Fellowship (not the legal, vital relationship, but the interaction) is broken by sin.
1. v8--If we say we have no sin when we are walking in darkness, we lie.
2. v10--If we walk in darkness and say we have not sinned, it's a lie.
b. v7--If we walk in the light, in obedience, we have fellowship with God and with each other, and there is an automatic cleansing action of the Blood for any sin we unknowingly commit.
c. v9--If we knowingly sin we are to confess it or admit it is wrong. When we do that, God forgives and cleanses.
1. This is not a legal action in the sense that our sin is being dealt with legally at that moment. Our sins were dealt with legally at the Cross.
2. This is a relational action. I have wronged my Father, and when I acknowledge it, He tells me, “It's okay”.
3. He can legally do that because the sin has already been paid for. He is therefore just and righteous to do it. And, because He is faithful, I know He will do it.
d. From God's point of view it is forgiven and forgotten because of the Cross. And, when I accept and believe that, my confidence before Him is restored and our fellowship or interaction returns to what it was before I sinned.
E. This raises some questions. Does that mean I can keep sinning if I want to? NO! Does the fact that my sin is already paid for mean that nothing bad is going to happen to me for sinning? NOT NECESSARILY!!
1. If you want to keep sinning there is a very good change you've never been born again.
a. I John 3:6--No one who abides in Him -- who lives and remains in communion with and in obedience to Him, [deliberately and knowingly] habitually, commits (practices) sin. No one who habitually sins has either seen or known Him -- recognized, perceived or understood Him, or has had an experimental acquaintance with Him. (Amp)
b. This verse is not talking about someone who keeps falling in the same area over and over, but about someone who sees no wrong in it and has no intention of stopping it.
2. You must understand something about the consequences of sin. Rom 8:1 tells us that we are no longer guilty of sin before God (no more condemnation) and that is correct.
a. But, there is more to it than that. The word condemnation means to judge against, pass sentence on, 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.
b. Through the Cross of Christ the vertical consequences of sin have been removed -- even the sin you might commit tomorrow.
c. But, the horizontal consequences of sin can and do still come our way. These could include punishment from society and other people, fear, worry, guilt, depression, lack, sickness, etc.
3. Gal 6:8 tells us that if we live according to the dictates of our flesh (which is what we do when we sin) we will reap corruption -- not from God, but from the flesh.
a. In other words, God will allow you to reap the consequences of your sin.
b. If the trouble you are experiencing is somehow connected to a sin you have committed, it is not God punishing you for that sin, it is God allowing you to reap the consequences of that sin.
4. Yes, but doesn't God chasten us for our sin? He most certainly does.
a. We studied this subject several weeks ago (#486). God rebukes and chastens us with His word, not with tests and trials. Ps 94:12; Rev 3:19; II Tim 3:16,17
b. The purpose of rebuke and chastening is to identify and expose unacceptable behavior so it can be corrected. Words must be involved in the process so instruction can occur.
5. The word chasten is used one time in the NT in connection with sickness. I Cor 11:29-32
a. The Corinthians were taking communion irreverently (unworthily). They were getting drunk and gorging themselves. They were not recognizing the value of Jesus' sacrifice.
b. As a result, many were weak and sickly and many actually died. This is called judgment or chastening of the Lord. v31,32
1. When God judges people on earth He allows them to reap the consequences of their sin.
2. Note, the Corinthians could have stopped the judgment or consequences of their sin at any time by judging themselves -- by acknowledging their sin and stopping it.
6. What about in the OT where God sent punishment on people for their sin?
a. Remember, there is a Hebrew verb tense where God is said to do what He in fact only allows.
b. The OT is pre-Cross. God, in His mercy passed over sin on the basis of what was going to happen at the Cross (Rom 3:25), but sin has not yet been paid for and removed.
c. Much of what we see in the OT came on people for unbelief in the face of tremendous demonstrations of God's miraculous power and for continued worship of false gods after years of warnings from the prophets.
d. You cannot take those verses out of context and apply them to Joe Christian who is doing his best to serve God, but keeps messing up in an area of his life.
e. If you want to know what God is going to do to you for your sin, look at the Cross, at what He has already done, and look at the NT, specifically the epistles which are written to the church.
F. Conclusion: God is a holy God who must punish sin to be true to His nature.
1. But, it is good that He punishes sin.
a. It means you can count on Him to be true to Himself, to His nature. You can trust Him not to change -- and that's good.
b. It means that all sin -- the source of all our troubles will eventually be removed from God's creation -- and that's good. Matt 13:37-43
2. God has punished our sins in Jesus. There is no punishment, no wrath, for those who are in Christ Jesus -- and that's good.
a. Proper understanding of what God has done with our sin and our sin nature should inspire us to holy living. Rom 2:4; Titus 2:11,12
b. As a Christian your goal should be to remove sin from your life, to live in a way that is pleasing to God, our wonderful Father, who came up with such a marvelous plan to make sinners into saints.