Believer: God Is Not Punishing You For Your Sin

“Did I give my grandmother cancer?” One of my students asked this as tears began to well up in her eyes. My heart broke as I realized she thought God was punishing her for sin and lack of faith by making her grandmother sick. What a horrible thought to live with!

This question is one I have heard many times from a variety of people. When horrible things happen to us or to the people we love, is God punishing us? This is a deeply perplexing and troubling question. The thought that our sin might have caused a calamity or hardship can be spiritually and emotionally crippling. Here are three biblical truths that encourage and comfort us when we begin to wonder if God is punishing us.

1. Bad things happen to good people.

It may seem odd to claim that this truth brings encouragement and comfort, yet it is extremely good news! Hardships and trials are part of life for everyone, good or bad, Christian or not. If something terrible happens in your life, it does not mean that God is punishing you for specific sins. Perhaps the clearest place we see this truth is in the story of Job.

Job was a righteous man. The Bible describes him as “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1). He was a devout believer, yet still, God allowed Satan to put him through incredible suffering and pain. Job’s friends believed that God was punishing him, but Job knew he was innocent. Understandably he wanted to get answers from God. Why had his home, family, and good health been taken from him? Was he being punished? Or was God unjust to allow these evils to befall a righteous man?

Neither Job nor his friends get the satisfaction of an answer. Instead, in one of the most terrifying and awe-inspiring moments in the Bible, God appears in a whirlwind and bellows, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me” (Job 38:2-3). What follows this challenge is a 126-verse verbal smack-down. God asks question after question, demonstrating his sovereign power as creator of the universe. Through all of this, he never once explains to Job the reason for his suffering.

By the end of this barrage Job is left with one response: to trust in God’s sovereign goodness. God doesn’t tell Job, and he doesn’t tell us why we suffer. It is presumptuous to demand that he do so. Instead, we ought to respond to God the way Job did: “I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me which I did not know… I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:3-6).

When we suffer, we should come humbly before God, trusting that he knows what he’s doing. Bad things happen to good people, and suffering is not always the effect of our sin. We should not claim to know the ultimate reason behind the suffering in our lives or the lives of others. This is encouraging when we begin to think that our sins caused bad things to happen.

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Andrew Menkis | “Is God Punishing Me for My Sin?” | September 28th, 2023


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Posted by Andrew Menkis | Monday, March 11, 2024 | Categorized in Christian Life, HeidelQuotes. Andrew Menkis. Bookmark the permalink.

About Andrew Menkis

Andrew is a Theology & Rhetoric teacher with a passion for helping others see and experience the truth, beauty, and goodness of God and his creation. Andrew's poetry and prose has been published by Core Christianity, The Gospel Coalition, Modern Reformation Magazine and Ekstasis. You can find more of his writing at

One comment

  1. Not only does he not punish us for our sin, somentimes he leaves us in our sin for our own good. WCF 5.5 is very comforting in this area.


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