This is the fourth blog on the subject of false beliefs. I encourage you to go back and read the previous three blogs (part 1, part 2, and part 3) to get a sense of the overall context. All of us have false beliefs, things we believe to be true, but they are false. We have already looked at six of these lies, “My relationship with God is dependent on how I perform,” “God’s favor must be earned,” “I must have everyone’s approval,” “Because I am a Christian, God will protect me from pain and suffering,” “My value is determined by my work, my achievements, my income, or my appearance”, and “A good Christian doesn’t feel angry, anxious, or depressed.” Now let’s look at another common lie we believe. A more complete list of these lies can be found in Chris Thurmond’s book, “The Lies We Believe.”
7. Problems are God’s way of punishing me for my sins.
(Colossians 2:13-14; Psalm 103:8-14)
It is clear from Scripture that God’s payment for our sins was sufficient in every way. “Having forgiven us all our trespasses”. (Colossians 2:13) When Jesus died on the cross, He made full payment for all our sins. His death was an atonement for all our sins. This means that all our sins of the past, the present, and the future have already been covered by the blood of Jesus. How much of your sin was on the cross when Jesus died? All of it. How much of your sin was in the future when Jesus died on the cross? All of it. If Jesus died for all your sins and God accepted His payment for all your sins (God raised Jesus from the dead as proof that He had accepted the sacrifice on the cross.), then why would He be punishing you for sins that have already been forgiven?
Does God discipline us? Yes, He does but His discipline is done in love as a matter of training and not of punishment. Punishment implies condemnation and there is “NO CONDEMNATION” for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
Why do we have problems? Let me suggest four possible answers to that question:
- We have problems in order to build our character. James tells us that trials (problems) test our faith and build our character.
- We have problems to expose the real us. When you are under pressure, the inside comes out. It exposes our fears, anger, insecurity, and unbelief.
- We have problems to help clarify our values. Hardship and problems should lead us to value eternal things. When you are going through a hard time, the stuff you have accumulated doesn’t bring comfort and peace. Only God and His Word can do that.
- We have problems to draw us to the Father. I am convinced that God often allows problems to occur just so we will turn to HIM. He longs to reveal Himself and His all-sufficient grace to us.
Pastors, you may be facing some really tough challenges right now. Please know that you are not alone. Care for Pastors exists to help you navigate the unique challenges of pastoral ministry. Reach out to us. We are here for you.