For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
(Romans 1:18 – ESV)
(Romans 1:18 – ESV)
Do you ever wonder why someone gets back out into the world and then it goes worse for them than ever (2 Peter 2:20-22)? Doesn’t it always seem to be the case when someone was a professing Christian as a young person, but then they go off and live any old way, that they always seem to have car trouble, job trouble, money trouble, and every other kind of trouble? Wonder why? The truth will only set you free if you continue in it (John 8:31-32 / Mark 4:26-28), if you suppress it this will cause you to be in even worse bondage than before.
Of course, you can’t just see someone in trouble and conclude that they are out of God’s will, that would be being like Job’s so called friends, but we must be mature enough to know the difference, and its easy to tell sometimes. When someone won’t read the bible, won’t go to church, won’t commit to prayer, and wants to justify their lifestyle, its easy to see why they are in so much trouble. We need to tell them its going to stay that way if they are called by God to be a Christian, because once they get out of God’s system and back into the world’s system, then Satan can and does have a field day with them (Ephesians 4:27), and we need to tell them to wake up (Ephesians 5:14). What Satan wants to do to you as a Christian, as a called out person, is to destroy your joy, ruin your witness, and cast doubts on your assurance of salvation.
God is not mad at you. If you are a Christian, He is not against you for your sin; He is for you against your sin. He isn’t charging the sin to your account any more. So then why do bad things happen when you sin? Because sin has its own penalty here on this earth, it has consequences, the death that naturally occurs (Galatians 6:8 / Romans 8:13). He reminds you of what others are going to get. If you are indeed His, God will get your attention one way or another.
Going back into worldly habits is like stepping out from under the umbrella in the rain – sin has its own consequences. When you are called of God but then go back into the world, no wonder you get beat up worse than before. The whole world is indeed against you, you must realize that you are in a war and that is what work out your salvation with fear and trembling means. Don’t you realize nor wonder why new believers who go back get the tar beat out of them worse than ever, also why people that have been further into God have farther to fall when they stray? If they are out from under the umbrella they fall further; no wonder Paul says to work it out with fear and trembling. The farther you are up into God, the further you fall when you let go. Now God won’t let go, but He will let you drop. He will let you get spanked.
Why does He let you get spanked but others who don’t know God or who do but don’t want to follow God seem to have it oh so well? Those others don’t have it so well, anyway; they are without God, without hope, without heaven. They can gain the world but lose their soul. How many gain the world and are still miserable anyway? They can never be satisfied (Ecclesiastes 3:11), they just move from one thing to another. More, more, more, but its never enough; only God can truly satisfy your hungry soul. If He loves you He spanks you, if He doesn’t spank you He doesn’t love you (Hebrews 12:8,11). Some people just don’t learn, even when spanked, so God has to continue to use more drastic measures, by allowing sin to run its course, and the world and the devil to beat you up and/or keep you down. Some of these people will indeed make it to heaven, but they will never lead anyone else there.
If a child of God won't repent of some sin in their life that God has brought to their attention, then He will deal with them in their sin. When we say He spanks you, it isn’t that He puts His hand on you, it’s that He takes it off. First He speaks (through His Word, through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, through preaching, and through the witness of others and through circumstances), then He spanks (this would be light chastisement, such as a temporary sickness or trial to get their attention), then He scourges (this would be heavy chastising that is often permanent and scarring, such as losing a loved one, losing a limb, a heavy financial or material loss, etc.), and lastly if all this chastisement is not heeded, the Lord takes His final step, He separates (by death, this is referred to in 1 John as the sin unto death, and seen in Acts 5 and 1 Corinthians 11). The wrath of God is revealed when you step back into the world system; you are operating according to a different principle now. You have to live by it, and you can only live by it, and you will die by anything else. When we backslide we need to get back to the gospel.
It isn’t that God won’t let you suffer if you are a Christian (Philippians 1:29), but we should suffer for doing well not for doing wrong (1 Peter 2:19-20, 3:17). We are supposed to grow in the faith, and grow in grace. If not we backslide, and God lets us taste it. Is your life revealing the righteousness and glory of God, or the wrath of God?