For many years, I often thought that the fear, anxiety and panic attacks I experienced were the result of God’s punishment. Surely, God was mad at me and I was deserving of such punishment. I would often quote Paul, “Oh, wretched man that I am!” (Romans 7:24). I figured if I just felt bad enough for being a sinner, then surely God would see my humility and brokenness. I’m learning more and more that this way of thinking is wrong.
Yes, we have sinned.
Yes, we deserve punishment.
Yes, there will be punishment.
It’s true. We are all sinners. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We don’t need anyone to tell us that we’re not perfect. We’ve all made mistakes. And many of us have felt guilty for those mistakes. And, those mistakes must be punished. According to God’s righteous requirements, all sin must be punished.
If we stopped right now, this message would not be very encouraging. All have sinned and all sin must be punished. But thankfully, that’s not the end of the story.
By God’s wisdom and glorious plan, he did punish sin. All sin. Jesus was afflicted, bruised, beaten and punished for our sins. Reads these words from Isaiah 53:
Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him… (v4-7, 10a)
Did you catch that? “The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” All of our punishment was put on Christ. This punishment “pleased the Lord”. Why was God pleased to afflict Christ? So that you would be free to come to the Father completely free from sin in your time of need (Hebrews 4:!6).
What’s left for us? Grace!
When you start to think that your anxiety, fear and panic attacks are the result of God’s punishment, you must renew your mind to know that God is not punishing you. There is no punishment left for you. All punishment was placed upon Christ.
God is for you. He is fighting on your behalf. He desires for you to be free more than you do. Invite God into your battle and trust that he is with you!
Prayer: Father, help me renew my mind to know that you are with me, not against me. Reveal to me your grace!