This may only be an anecdote, but it illustrates truthfully how God chooses to deal with sin in our lives. It isn’t by punishing us. Rather, it’s by forgiving us of any last vestige of our sins, past, present and future. When we seek God’s forgiveness in Christ, we’re cleansed from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Not just some.
Therefore, it’s not just that God withholds judgment of us. He willingly gives up his right to judge on the basis of our sins, or to even recall our instances of injustice. When we accept God’s gift of salvation, our sins are “nailed…to the cross” (Colossians 2:14).
We must not confuse natural consequences with God’s anger.
In Romans 2, Paul reminds us that “there will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil.” These consequences are not divine punishment from God for having wronged Him or acted against His will. Rather, they’re natural effects of our actions and decisions. While divine punishment is withheld—now and forever—neither do we have an excuse to continue in sin and expect to get away with it. Saint Paul asks in his letter to the Romans whether we should continue sinning in order to see the profound effects of God’s grace over and over (Romans 6:1-2). The question, of course, is rhetorical. He exclaims, “By no means!”
But these consequences aren’t meted out by God like some sort of cosmic scorekeeper when our sins reach a certain number or magnitude. When God allows for us to get caught in sin, He is simply not shielding us from correction and reproach, which allow us to re-enter into a clear and honest relationship with Him.
The medieval concept of God reigning destruction and terror over us is one that’s far removed from God’s character, which is always marked by love, mercy and grace toward us, and never with anger or malice. Through His son’s victory over death, we are marked (and treated) as God views us—sinless.