“For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
1 Peter 4:17
2 Chronicles 7:14
Romans 5: 9-10
It appears today by moral standards the ungodly are allowed to flourish and go unpunished, and with the increase of lawlessness the love of many is waxing cold.
(Psalm 73, Matthew 24:12)
God deals with the sins of the believer by grace through faith. God deals with the sins of the unbeliever by wrath through disobedience.
God is a just God and punishes sin. If He ignored sin He would not be just, therefore He begins first by cleansing His temple with His blood. Then He exacts discipline rather than punishment. God deals presently with the believer’s sin for cleansing and to refine their faith through trials and tribulation (1 Peter 1:7). He delays His punishment to the unbeliever to bring them to faith. God’s punishment for sin is eternal death. (Romans 6:23). One day all will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Those who went through the testing of their faith to prove their righteousness is in Christ will be justified by His grace. Those who refused and rejected God’s way of salvation which produces unrighteousness are condemned. (John 3:18). Christ has atoned for all sin by His blood sacrifice but it has to be accepted.
God first deals with our sin, then our works and our faith. (Ephesians 2: 8-9). In 1978 as a young mother I was caught up in building a ministry to be recognized by man and God. What started out as a sincere desire to help others turned into a way to be prestigious earning a name for myself. (Genesis 11:4)
God loves us too much to allow us to go astray from abiding in Him. It is what He has created us to be as one with Him in Christ Jesus (John 17: 20-21). He is faithful to deal with anything getting in the way of our relationship with Him. My unfruitful work manifested itself as judgmental and religious; thinking, believing I was spiritually superior through vain imaginations
(Romans 12:3, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Hebrews 13:9).
The Lord was merciful to judge my sin and discipline me so I could return to my first love-Jesus (Revelation 2:4). Therefore, for a season, He separated me from family and friends and even the Word which became twisted in my mind during this painful trial. My faith in Christ was tested as the Lord began to identify my sin and establish my faith. As I had judged I received judgment and my hypocrisy was revealed (Matthew 7:1-2). Satan was allowed to sift me and what was not of God belonging to faith in Christ was removed (Luke 22:31-32). When the cleansing of my soul was complete, the only thing remaining was the foundation of Jesus Christ whereby the Lord began to rebuild with His tools of grace (Isaiah 33:6, Colossians 1: 16-17, Ephesians 1:12-13, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). All my works went up in smoke and I began all over again drawing closer to the Word of God. I came out of this fiery trial with God’s unconditional love healing my failures while again embracing Christ’s victory on the cross (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). I also developed spiritual discernment by studying His Word, whereby, I could detect teaching motivated to lift-up Christ from teaching motivated to lift-up self (Hebrews 5:14). I learned to Avoid teachers who’s motivation is to develop a dependency on their teachings, rather then teaching dependency on God (1 John 2:7). Teachers of the Word will guide believers into knowing how to study the scriptures for themselves, hearing God’s voice personally, rather than a dependency on their instruction. If when you hear a teaching and the teacher is being lifted-up rather than Jesus, or you are lifted-up and magnified, then it is false teaching.
I believe if a person belongs to Jesus Christ, any trial experienced in the believer’s life will result in strengthen faith and discipline whereby the Lord works it for good (Romans 8:28). The Lord is zealous and jealous over His flock, and will guard those who belong to Him from deception (Matthew 24:24).
The Lord disciplines those who belong to Him and is committed to presenting them to the Father without spot or blemish. The believer who yields to the Lord’s discipline has a testimony of His mercy and grace. The believer who refuses His discipline will suffer lost in rewards and in testimony, but because of their belief and Christ’s faithfulness they will be saved.
(Ephesians 5:27, Hebrews 12:6, 1 Corinthians 11: 29-31)
The Lord deals with His church so His body does not suffer the judgment coming upon the whole world through God’s wrath. There will be some who will come to repentance and faith through God’s wrath instead of His grace. This will occur during the tribulation period. And there will be those whose hearts are so hardened they will never come to faith having rejected the only way to salvation. (Revelation 3:20, 1Thessalonians 5:9, John 14:6)
But the Lord will complete the work of salvation in the believer’s life and trials and tribulations only come to humble, sanctify and bring the child of God to surrendering their life for Christ. So rejoice, for the Lord is preparing you for His eternal purpose and know trial or failures can never separate you from the love of God found in Christ Jesus.
(Romans 8: 31-39)