Although suffering consequences for things done and suffering God's judgment because of bad decisions we have made appear to be very much alike, they are two different things.
For example, if I drink something poisonous, I will get sick or die. The result is a consequence for my action. But if I choose to rebel against God and reject His authority in my life, I will be under His judgment (see John 3:36).
We are in a time when God is extending His mercy. Many times, we can get away with doing sinful activities, and seemingly we can get away with it. But in doing so, we are storing up wrath for the Day of Judgment. God is merciful in order for us to repent.
Sometimes, we think that someone is experiencing God's judgment when the person or group of people is suffering a consequence for their wrongdoing. We have to be careful and discern whether the result is a consequence or is God's judgment on him or her for their actions.
In the Old Testament, there were acts of judgment that God allowed to be done to His own people. Other nations were also destroyed under God's judgment as well. Remember, these Pagan nations did have the truth at one time, but turned away and received God's judgment on them. The world-wide Flood in Noah's Day was an act of God's Judgment on the people who rejected Him.
The point of what I am saying is this; we have to be careful in how we interpret a person's suffering. Is he or she experiencing tragedy or pain because God is judging him or her? Or could it be that the person is suffering the consequences of bad decisions that were made?
One other thought; Could it be that when we choose to pull away from God that we suffer the consequences of not being under His umbrella of safety? I am not saying that anyone who is a victim of being harmed by accident or danger of any kind is not under God's safety net. But, what about those who do not know the Lord? How can they be under the safety net of the Lord if God is not their Strong Tower?
What about those who have been part of a church, who have left the church because they want to go back into sin? Or those who have chosen to believe that God is ok with His people continuing in sin, because of the belief that says that God is all-loving and all-forgiving? When we choose to sin, no matter what excuse we give, we are opening the door to Satan in our lives, and we give the Enemy a foothold which could turn into a stronghold that will keep us in bondage to sin. How can we think we are under God's safety net if we regard some kind of sin in our lives? We can't live in the kingdom of Light and the kingdom of Darkness at the same time? If we continue living in sin, then we will suffer the consequences of not living under God's safety net. If we don't repent in this life, we will experience God's judgment after we die.
Those who trust in the Lord are under God's safety net. Everything that happens to them is under God's sovereign control. But the promises of God to His people of safety and protection do not apply to those who do not know Him. It is a dangerous thing to be outside of God's safety net.
God promises to take care of His people. He gives the invitation to all to come to Him. We must let go of our sinful paths and ways, and we must turn to Him in repentance and faith. God sent His Son to take the punishment for our sins so we can be forgiven. The death of Jesus Christ also provided the way to have victory over sin and the Enemy of our souls. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead shows the power of God that we can have to be forgiven of sin and to be free from the hold of sin.
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