Here is where it becomes difficult for us to wrap our mind around.
When Jesus died, He was beaten suffered & died for sin.
The difficulty we have is realizing that is was for ALL sin - past, present and future. At the moment that He died - all of 'my' sin was future. He was dying for my sin, none of which has come to be yet. At the same time, He was dying for all of the sin of every human that was alive before Jesus' day. And, even more, He was dying for every person that is yet to live.
To me now, some of my sin is future and some is past...but He died for all of it once and for all time.
And, not only my past, present & future sin...but for ALL of humanity's past, present, and future sin. I can't wrap my head around the vastness of the Love of God - but to declare God's Word that 'Christ died for sin once and for all, the righteous and for the unrighteous, to bring me and everyone else to God...(1 Peter 3:18)
It has been said that forgiveness is for those who believe and repent. This is true, in part, but the reality is...Jesus died once, for everyone...no matter if they believe and repent or not. The forgiveness is there, and the judgement has been made through Jesus that ONE TIME. It is up to every person to believe & receive that grace...that forgiveness...that restoration. It is there, available, free, and so full of love without reprimand or condemnation.
To think that today God is judging a person, a group of people, or even a nation is to say that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross wasn't sufficient for all....To think that somehow Jesus' sacrifice wasn't intended for one person because they have not yet believed and repented is wrong, a prideful and self-righteous attitude. Remember, Paul tells us (every single person that ever lived and ever will live) that 'once you were dead because of your disobedience and your sin.' (Eph 2:1)...and yet somehow we preach that although Jesus' sacrifice is sufficient for the redemption of man-kind, there is somehow someone, some group, that is beyond that grace - and that they need an extra boost of judgement before they can get the fullness of the same grace that has been offered so freely to me.
Yes. We must decide, believe, chose....whatever you want to call it....to receive the grace and forgiveness that comes from the sacrifice of Jesus. But we can not, even for a moment, think that we or anyone is being punished or judged now today for the sin that Jesus already paid the price for. We can not teach that God is punishing even a nation for their sins, because Jesus died and took the punishment already for the sin of the very people that make up that nation.
Jesus died for my sin. The sin that I hadn't done at the time that He died...He died to defeat the very power of sin over all humanity. He died so that the punishment of sin is no more. The consequences of sin are still evident in the world today - but that is because there are so many who have not come to fully realize that the very power and nature of sin has been broken - no longer having any authority.
Here is a great song that speaks of the truth, that Jesus' sacrifice was judgement, once and for all, for sin.
We cannot close the doorJesus died for my sin, 2000 years before my sin was conceived. He also died for the sin of those yet to be born. He also died for the sin of all those prior to His life. His death was complete, and the full judgement for all sin...once and for all.
That isn't why He fought the war of this place
Everyone can be free