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        Punishment vs. God's Will
I am struggling with the fact that as a Christian I am to strive to be like Christ, sinless. However, I also read that we all sin; we all fall short of the glory of God; we all have strayed even in our Christian walk. With that, I have read in the Bible that God forgives us our sins and remembers them no more, if we ask and repent. I have also heard (but not read in the Bible) that there are consequences to our sins. My questions are 1.) If it is inevitable that we are going to sin, is it correct to assume that it's also inevitable that we are going to reap hardships in our lives b/c of sin? 2.) When hardships enter our lives, how do we discern whether it's a punishment from God for our inevitable sinning, or just the will of God? 3.) When we ask God for forgiveness for our sins, can we ask for freedom from the associated consequences? Lastly, 4.) when we are struggling to rid ourselves of a particular sin, do you think God will punish us anyway (after several attempts and slip-ups) when he knows we are honestly trying to obey, and we are GRADUALLY ridding ourselves of such sin? Desparately looking for the truth:-) 
Thursday, February 07, 2002 6:23:30 AM   steelers
      re:Punishment vs. God's Will   
Hello Steeler,

I find that the guest has already answered your questions quite well. I concur with most of the points, however I have some things to add.

My pastor recently asked us why God hated sin. He had an astonishing answer for that. God hates sin because He loves us. Sin by itself is destructive and brings natural consequences. Look at the example of the prodigal son. He wasted his life away with wild living. His father DID NOT cause the consequences. His own wild living did.

I think that is a very relevant parable. Our Father in heaven is no different. He is not going to make sure we SUFFER because we sinned. He LOVES us but the laws of sowing and reaping and all the natural laws is still in place.

Look at what happened to the prodigal son after he realised that he slipped up and he tried to come back to the father. The father came running out to receive him and threw a feast to welcome him. The whole spirit of the matter is that the father loves the son and does not seek to harm him. The same for our Father in Heaven, He wants only the best for us and He doesn't go around with a whip waiting for us to fall so that He can punish us.

Hope this helps. 
Sunday, September 29, 2002 8:32:51 PM waihun
      re:Punishment vs. God's Will   
My thoughts as pertains to my experience as a Christian...
1.) Yes
2.) The hardships in our lives are the consequence of living in a sin-filled world. Some of the bad things that happen to us are the consequence of our bad choices, some are the consequence of others' bad choices. Once we have asked forgiveness, our sin is erased from God's memory [Jer. 31:34], so our hardships that follow are not to be considered God's punishment, but they are the inevitable consequence of our own behavior. Example: If a woman lays with a man, outside of marriage, and becomes pregnant she can have a repentant heart and ask God's forgiveness--and receive it. However, after nine months a baby will still be born. Not as a punishment, but a consequence.
3.) We can ask for freedom from consequences, but we should pray for His will to be done. Jesus taught us that.
4.) God knows our hearts, and he LOVES us anyway! He knows we're not perfect and that's why He sent us his son. Jesus has reconciled us to God our Father through his death and resurrection. It's a done deal. Nothing YOU can do--even trying to be perfect--earns your salvation. It's a free bestowal of forgiveness upon all penitent believers.

We strive to be like Christ as a response to God's love, not because of fear of punishment. RELAX. TRUST. LOVE GOD. FORGIVE OTHERS. Don't worry about being perfect. All you have to do is the next right thing. 
Thursday, September 19, 2002 10:26:52 PM guest
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