You may wonder how many times the Lord will forgive you for indulging the same sin again and again. Rest assured, His incredible forgiveness is unlimited. Every time you sin, you can go to Jesus and find deliverance. Yet the Lord’s forgiveness is not unwise or blind. To be sure, our heavenly Father forgives us, but at a certain point He punishes us to keep us from continuing in sin.

When my four children were growing up, I had to punish them for doing wrong. I would call them into my room for a spanking and they would burst into tears, crying, “No, Daddy! I'm sorry. Please, forgive me!”

I did forgive them but that did not stop me from applying the spanking. I knew if I didn't apply it, it would become meaningless to them, a joke rather than a source of discipline. Likewise, God's law is always there to remind us of His holiness to us, reminding us of His ways—and that He means what He says!

Let me leave you with a word of hope. If you are in the depths right now because of your sin, be encouraged. He is chastening you because of His tender love. He wants you to know what it is to fear Him!

What, exactly, does it mean to fear the Lord? It means being able to say, “I know my Father loves me. I am safely, forever His, and I know He will never abandon me. He feels my pain whenever I struggle and He is patient with me as I war against sin. He is always ready to forgive me whenever I call on Him, but I also know He is not going to allow me to keep disobeying His Word. My heavenly Father will not spare me—because He loves me deeply.”

That is the point of it all. God wants us to accept His forgiveness so that we may fear Him. “There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared” (Psalm 130:4). Once we fear the Lord, we will want more than just to obey Him. We will want to please Him, to put a smile on His face. That is the blessed result of the holy fear of God.