In a previous post I introduced the idea that God never punishes sin. He disciplines and judges, but He does not punish. I said that the first reason was Biblical: Though some English translations use terminology of “punishment” this is not the best way of translating these texts. Instead, they should be translated as “judgment” which can be a positive or negative judgments.
Here are some other reasons God does not punish sin.
2. Sin Isn’t That Big of an Issue for God
Sin should be an issue for God, because of how holy and righteous He is, but in Jesus, the sin issue has been completely dealt with.
Do we still sin? Of course! Is sin still wrong? Yes. Should we still confess and repent of our sin? Absolutely.
But it is not like God is on his throne, getting angry at us every time we sin. It is not as if God is shaking His head, saying, “I can’t believe he did that again! One more time and I’m going to squash him like a bug!” No, that is not the God which Jesus reveals to us.
I think that we often get way more worked up about sin than God does.
When we sin, God is not surprised. He is not shocked. He is not embarrassed by us, or turn away from us in shame. No, He saw your sin coming from billions of years away, and He still sent Jesus to die for you because He loves you.
God is not going to hate you because you sin. His love for you will not change, and is always enough to cover all your sin.
Sin isn’t an issue with God because sin of humanity, as great as it is, is less than a tiny speck of sand in the vast ocean of God’s loving-kindness and grace.
3. Sin is a Problem Because It’s a Problem for US
I don’t mean to make sin sound less serious than it is. Sin is a problem.
Sin hurts God. It saddens Him. It grieves Him more than it grieves us.
But sin grieves God, not because of how much He hates sin, but because of How much He loves us.
Sin grieves God because He knows how much it hurts us. Sin hurts people. It enslaves families. It destroys lives. It ruins relationships. When these things happen as a result of sin, God is grieved because, like a loving parent, He does not want His children to experience pain and suffering.
And the pain and suffering we do experience is not because God is inflicting it upon us as punishment, but because this pain and suffering is a natural consequence of sin.
4. God Doesn’t Punish Sin Because Sin is It’s Own Punishment
In light of points 1-3, we can see why God doesn’t punish sin. God is not vindictive toward us, but infinitely loving, so He has no desire to punish sin.
Quite to the contrary, He is hurt by sin, not because it somehow damages Him, but because He loves us so much and He knows how much sin hurts us. And since sin hurts us so much, He sent Jesus to die for us. If God had not done this, we would have forever been suffering the consequences of our sins, but since Jesus died for us, though we still suffer from sin in this life, a day is coming when we will be freed from the presence of sin, and will no longer experience the pain, fear, and loneliness that comes with it.
Let us also not “Punish” Others
So lighten up. Others make mistakes, just as you do. Let it go! Forgive! If it is glorious to overlook an offense (Prov 19:11), let’s overlook them! After all, that is what God does for our offenses.
It is not our job to point out every sin, correct every error, and be the one who sets everyone on “the straight and narrow.” We can trust the Holy Spirit to do His job (not ours!) of convicting people of their sin, and forming them to look more like Jesus Christ.
Do you want to show other people a “better way” of living? Then do what God does: love extravagantly, give generously, forgive graciously, serve joyfully. This sort of life is the life that Jesus lived, and this is why so many people were attracted to Him, and at the same time, were changed by Him. Maybe, as the Body of Christ on earth, we can live similar lives.