How Does God Today React to Man’s Acts of Sinning?
In their effort to claim Israel’s laws of “blessings and cursing” many Christians ignorantly claim verses that pertain to Israel only. E.g., Since nearly 61,000,000 abortions have been sanctioned by the US government since Roe v Wade, many Christians say, “God will surely soon bring judgment on the USA.” Then they claim this verse; “If my people (Israel), which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (the land of Israel).” (2 Chron. 7:14). Of course, there is no mention of the USA in this verse; so, tell me; what kind of Bible hermeneutics (interpretive method) permits us to usurp Israel’s verses, as many Christians try to do. Such is the condition of Apostate Christendom today, even among the neo-evangelicals of today.
So, the question is; “Does God react to sin; yours, mine, or anyone’s sins today?”
- Does God react to gross sin or any sin by intervening with His O.T. ‘cursing’ (Deut. 11:26, 30:1) during today’s age of “the dispensation of the grace of God?
- Does God intervene with ‘added favor and blessings’ for the “good works” of Christians during today’s age of “the grace of God”?
The answer to both of these questions is; No, God does not react to man, nor does He intervene in the affairs of man in this day except to save the humbled believer in Christ as Savior from perdition.
We can never earn salvation or favor from God. Only Jesus’ obedience of the cross merits our salvation and eternal unconditional blessings of ‘the riches of His inheritance in believers’ today (Eph. 1:18).
Yes, God’s anger and wrath is clearly seen as recorded in the Bible before the Cross of Christ and even for a time after the Cross of Christ (in early the Acts period), and His wrath will be seen after the Rapture of “the church which is His body,” when He comes again to earth in ‘taking vengeance in wrath’ (Eze, 25:17).
“Behold, “I set before you (Israel) this day a blessing and a curse;” (Deuteronomy 11:26)
“The law brings wrath (Gk. orge, anger as seen in vengeance).” (Rom 4:15)
But, what about today, during this unique age of “the gospel of the grace of God” called “the dispensation of the grace of God”? Many say; “Grace yes, but, where is “the law” that brings God’s wrath on all the evil we see today?” Paul, as “The Apostle to the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:13) answers, telling us “the Law” with its “ordinances” was ‘taken out of the way’ by the cross of Christ!
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” (Colossians 2:14)
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Romans 10:4)
Today, under Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God,” believers today are securely saved, and now we…
“wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us (already) from the wrath (Gk. orge, the anger as seen in vengeance) to come.” (1 Thess. 1:9-10) “God did not appoint us (believers) to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Thes. 5:9)
The fact is that today, God is not reactionary toward sin today, not in the way that He was during the O.T. under “the Law.” In the Old Testament Israel suffered the consequent judgments for of either the barren womb, losses to enemies, crop failure, etc., when the nation had rebelled against the words of God. Then,
nothing changed when Jesus came, except He intensified the Law. He instructed Israel to keep the whole law of Moses, and that they must endure faithful to the Law “to the end” in order to “be saved.”
“For verily I (Jesus) say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (Matthew 5:18) “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” (Matthew 10:22) “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Mark 13:13)
“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matthew 24:13)
By contrast, Paul makes clear the fact is that today that the members of “the body of Christ” are “not under the Law” (Rom. 6:14) or the added laws of ‘the Sermon on the Mount,’ so they cannot be condemned. In fact, Paul says grace believers are “sealed (securely) with the Holy Spirit” forever within them.
“In whom (in Christ) ye (Gentiles) also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were (already) sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” (Ephesians 1:13)
Paul says God does not chastise believers who sin, during today’s age of “the dispensation of the grace of God.” He says “the Law” does not apply to us today. We live in the rarified atmosphere of grace whereby God no longer takes account of our unwitting sins… while He works in us to renew our soul’s minds. God’s reactionary chastisement only appears in the book of “HEBREWS,” for Israel, not then for grace believers.
“…for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14) “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1a)
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute (count his) sin.” (Romans 4:5-8)
Hence, we will never see the angry face of God. How do we account for this radical change in God’s reaction to evil and sin during this age?
It is only because we live under “the grace of God” that became available after the Cross of Christ... and with the Apostle Paul receiving “the revelation of the mystery (a God-kept secret plan)” of the Cross (Rom. 16:25), establishing a new relationship between God and man… based upon God’s pure grace.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Recall that Jesus on the cross said “It is finished!” Christ’s sacrificial cross-work fully placated the justifiable “wrath of God” satisfying the God’s demand for payment against the “sin-debt” of “the world.”
Christ death thereby destroyed “the power of Sin” for those who would believe. Today all men have been reconciled to God “through the blood of His cross” … now needing only one’s acceptance of this fact… ‘by faith in the resurrected Savior’… meaning faith in His cross-work, and His resurrection. (cf. 1Cor 15:3-4).
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him (in order) to Reconcile All Things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 2 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet Now Hath He Reconciled” (Colossians 1:20-21 (KJV)
“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;” (2 Corinthians 5:18 (KJV)
- Christ’s cross-work and shed blood provided full ‘expiation,’ the taking away our sins, He was the expiatory sacrifice for all sins of all men of all ages.
- He by His cross was the one all-sufficient “propitiation,” the payment for sin, paid by His suffering and death on the cross.
- (sin-payment) through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” (Romans 3:25)
These together constitute His act of placating or the satisfying of God’s righteous demand for sins; resulting in believers being now “accepted in the beloved.” (Eph. 1:3-4)
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)
Under pure grace man’s relationship with God has drastically changed. Instead of conditional acceptance based upon one’s ‘performance under the Law,’ which none of us can keep, we have full acceptance “in the beloved” … based solely upon placing our faith in the Lord Jesus’ cross-work… for us. God’s ongoing work today is in renewing the believer’s soul to righteous living… as their reasonable response to seeing His unconditional love and acceptance of us in Christ.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Phili. 2:13)
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6)
So, how exactly does God deal with the believer’s sometimes continuing sinful habits?
Today, gross Sins have consequences that are ‘self-limiting and automatic.’ All sin carries the consequences of that sin. Alcoholics, gluttons, and sexually immoral people usually die early due to their self-destructive behavior. Sin has taken its toll upon the lifespan of humans. Man’s lifespan limits man. Genesis 5:5 says Adam lived for 930 years. Methuselah lived the longest, to the age of 969 according to the Hebrew Bible. But today, on average, men only live about 78 years and women slightly longer. Thus, Sin is self-limiting – consider shortened lifespan of man today vs Adam and Methuselah.
“when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (Jas. 1:15)
During today’s grace age for believers, Sin’s consequences are also automatic and occur in our own lives… totally apart from and anger or vengeance on God’s behalf. Believers today are not chastened by God’s reacting to sin, but via sin’s consequences! Gal. 5:19-21 lists many of the ‘destructive’ self-limiting sins that bring suffering and shorten men’s lives.
“… for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh (sin nature) shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal. 6:7-9)
Having the foregoing in mind, let’s now examine some of the passages from the New Testament that are used to erroneously teach that God chastens believers today. We will see what the Scriptures really say and teach about chastisement during the Dispensation of Grace.
There are mainly only two sections of Scripture that supporter of chastening for today quote to support their false interpretation of “the word of God.” Those who claim that God chastens believers today by sending us troubling circumstances will often cite 1Cor. 11:29-32 to justify that belief.
“he that eateth and drinketh
unworthily (Gk. anaxios, irreverently), eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32But when we are judged, we are chastened (Gk. paideo, taught) of the Lord, (so) that we should not be condemned with the world.” (1Cor 11:29-32, cf. 11:20-22 below)
The chastening spoken of here is not a decision of God to punish believers during this age of the pure grace of God. This passage is misused to teach that God will cause sickness or even kill believers who habitually practice sinning, particularly when they abuse the Lord’s Supper (which was a meal, not a ritual). They ignorantly assert that God did this to the Corinthians, focusing on vs 32 when it says, “we are chastened of the Lord.” But v32, in light of the context of the whole passage, means to be taught by sin’s consequences.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption (decay); but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Galatians 6:7-8 (KJV)
We should not be isolating one of Paul’s writings from another. Note that Corinth was a wild seaport city, full of very loose living. Paul’s book of first letter to the Corinthians tells us they were gluttonous, drunken, adulterers, fornicators, etc. Certainly, some of the Corinthians here were getting drunk and being gluttonous even when observing the Lord’s Supper.
“When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. 21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not...” (1 Cor. 11:20-22)
Now let’s think about these sins, we know that alcohol, gluttony, and drunkenness are known to cause illness, accidents and shorten lives. However, please understand that God was not punishing the Corinthians for their bad behavior; they simply reaped the consequence or results of their fleshly living, sowing to the flesh instead of sowing to the Spirit. God was not reacting to causing the Corinthians to get sick and/or to die. He simply let them, as He does us,… to reap the reward of the consequences for foolish choices.