What Does God Do When You Sin?
I used to think God turned His back on me every time I sinned. It was up to me to figure out some way to get Him to turn around.
Here is what I did. I confessed my sin, asked God to forgive me and then hoped He would turn around to face me again. Sadly, I was never sure He ever turned around. If He did, the next sin turned Him back around.
What was really important to me back then was figuring out what I was supposed to do when I sinned. I never really asked the question, “What does God do when I sin?”
According to the Bible, He does not punish us when we sin. Jesus took the punishment we justly deserved. Here is the good news. God has already done something about my sin and your sin.
The writer of Hebrews gives us the full implications of Christ’s death for us. “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin” (Hebrews 10:17-18).
But what about today? What does God do today when we sin? Here are seven actions God takes on our behalf. (This isn’t an exhaustive list, simply the seven that have been most beneficial in my life.)
- He reminds us of Christ’s death on the cross and the forgiveness we have in Him – “I write to you dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of His name” (1 John 2:12).
- He assures us that we are children of God — For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:15-16).
- He shows us the consequences of our sin, how our actions have affected others and moves us to be reconciled to those we have hurt – “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:10). God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10).
- He teaches us to say “no” to sin – “It (grace) teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…” (Titus 2:11).
- He encourages us to put off the old, and put on the new — You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24). (See also Colossians 3:5-14)
- He works all things together for our good – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
- He continues to fulfill His promise to complete the work He began in us – “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
Contrary to what most people think, God does not turn His back on us when we sin. He actively loves us and works in us to “will and to act according to His good purpose.” This is what God does when we sin.
Knowing what He does when we sin better equips us to know what we should do when we sin.
In what ways have you seen God work in your life when you have sinned?
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