Limiting Beliefs: God is punishing me.
Empowering Truth: No, God is patient with me.
Upon a hill, a perfect Saviour.– Upon Him by Matt Redman
Upon that day, the greatest love.
The punishment that should have fallen on us.
Upon Him, upon Him.
Martin Luther thought God was out to get him. His picture of God was one of a wrathful and vengeful God. God was someone who was intolerable. But Luther had yet to discover the grace of God.
Even after the Reformation, this is the way that many people see God. They see him as someone who has high expectations that are impossible to live up to. They think that God is just waiting for them to slip up.
Many of us transpose the character of our fathers upon “God the Father.” And some of us had fathers who we could never please, who would become angry, and punish us for falling short of the impossible expectations.
But you need to know that God the heavenly Father is not your earthly Father. Your Heavenly Father is also all that your earthly father was not.
God is not out to get us. He is not waiting to punish us. He is patient with us.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.2 Peter 3:9, ESV
He is a God who is slow to anger and abounding in love.
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.Psalm 103:8, ESV
There are certainly times when we suffer. Some of the suffering we endure is the consequence of our actions. God does not necessarily protect us from the consequences of our actions. That is part of being a good parent. We learn to make better decisions through suffering the consequences of our actions.
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?”Hebrews 12:7, ESV
Sometimes we suffer because of others. Then there are those times when there is no explanation to our suffering. We may be tempted to think that God is punishing us for something that we did. But the Psalms remind us:
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.”Psalm 103:10, ESV
Each Sunday, our church joins together in confession. In one confession we commonly use, we state, “we deserve God’s temporary and eternal punishment.” We recognize that we are sinners that stand accused before a holy and righteous God.
Furthermore, we believe that there will be a judgment on the last day. We do not believe our sins will go unpunished. God does not just overlook our disobedience and rebellion.
But this is where Jesus steps in. Jesus took the punishment that was ours. He died on the cross. For those of us who believe in Jesus as Savior, Jesus has already taken our punishment. We are not punished because he was.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.Isaiah 53:5, NIV84
The point is that God is not fair. He is more than fair. Jesus got everything we deserved. We get everything he deserved. It’s not fair. Grace is not deserved. We deserved God’s punishment, but we get his patience.