I was scrolling through the cable stations the other day, and I heard something that caught my attention, to paraphrase, “The Lord does not punish, He corrects. The intention of one is to destroy, and the other is to heal.” This is profound because we tend to blame God for punishing us when things do not go the way we want them to go. We are audacious enough to accuse the Lord of punishing us, when the reality is, we are looking for someone or something to blame.
2 Peter 3:9 (CJB) states that God does not punish, “the Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some people think of slow; on the contrary, he is patient with you; for it is not his purpose that anyone should be destroyed, but that everyone should turn from his sins.”
The important concepts are:
- God is patient, He does not want us to perish.
- His purpose is not to destroy us or allow us to be destroyed.
- God’s desire is for us to have eternal life and have it more abundantly, to receive salvation.
God wants to give us the chance to change our lives. He is allowing us to live through our mistakes and heal. How do we heal? Emotional healing requires that we acknowledge our faults and learn how to overcome them. We heal through correction. Spiritually, we repent, ask for forgiveness, and work hard to stop committing the sin. Our actions rarely change overnight. Correction requires time. I read somewhere that when changing habits it takes six months of continuous correction before it is embedded in your psyche.
Before and After the Cruxification of Christ
In the Old Testament God punished us for our sins. There was no opportunity to overcome and heal from them. Sin was a type of death sentence, you suffered spiritual and often physical death when you sinned, but God does not want us to perish. He no longer wanted to punish us for our sins, but to ensure that we have the opportunity to change. He reconciled our relationship with Him by sacrificing His son, Jesus Christ, who bore our sins at Calvary.
We are fortunate to live in the New Testament dispensation. God gives us the opportunity to learn from our misgivings, repent and move on. He has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west. Psalm 103:12 NIV. He will cast all our sins into the depths of the ocean! Micah 7:19 ESV. We can recover from our sins and heal. This process is a test of our faith. We must learn that everything in life is a test of faith. Hebrews 11:6 NLT states,
“Without faith, we do not have the opportunity to learn through our trials, and we do not have the opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the Lord.”
Without faith, we are lost, without faith, we are subject to life’s failings, trials, temptations, and tribulations. Without faith, it is impossible to please God.
“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:7 NLT h correction, you can taste the Lords kindness.” 1 Peter 2:1, 3 NLT
What should we look out for? Most refer to sin as failing to follow the Ten Commandments. I think sin is much broader. Sin is failing to act like Christ, failing to engrain His behavior in our actions. These behaviors are listed in the Bible as the Fruit of the Spirit. When we fail to follow them, we suffer the consequences. Here are some examples: We decide that cutting corners at work will increase the profit margin; we fail to be honest and trustworthy. We cheat on a test in school; we are not honest or trustworthy. We mistreat loved ones, constantly bringing up their faults and disrespecting them, we are not showing love or kindness. You see someone in need, and you rush past them trying not to look them in the eyes, you are not showing affection, love or kindness to others. You are fraught with anxiety and worry when everything is falling apart; you are not demonstrating peace. You want everything today and rush through life; you are not patient; another word for patience is forbearance. Your speech is colored with cussing, and gossip is part of your conversations, you do not walk in integrity. When you are hard and legalistic, you are not demonstrating meekness or being gentle. You are not disciplined, you succumb to bad habits, large and small, deadly and barely perceptible, you lack self-control.
Our failing to use Christ-like behaviors cause us to suffer in two ways, 1) through our failings to apply the characteristics of Christ in itself and, 2) living with the consequences. How often do you hear a quiet voice (of the Holy Spirit) or feel that something is not right when you are getting ready to say or do something out of character? When we sin, we suffer. When we suffer, we should examine our motives and actions and compare them to the Fruit of the Spirit and determine how we sinned, which is part of the process of correction. It is not God’s intent to punish us. God’s intent is to allow us to learn and correct our actions and through this process, it is His intent to allow us to heal.
We are no longer in the dispensation of punishment, we are in the dispensation of correction and healing.
The Holy Spirit is glowing within all those who receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and are saved through grace.