Got this question just recently.
“Does God punish us for sins of the past?”
The answer is “no”. God does not punish us for sins of the past if we are in Christ. The punishment we deserve, death, was given to Christ. He died once for all. So now, there is no condemnation for those in Christ (Romans 8.1). If you feel condemned for past sins you can be sure that this is not coming from God. When Jesus spoke to the adulterous woman in John 8 he said, “Neither do I condemn you, now go and leave your life of sin.” If there has been a pattern of sin in your life or one “big” sin, if you are in Christ, Jesus has paid for that sin. You are now called to leave it or that lifestyle behind. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” We are no longer bound by that sin. Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”
For those not in Christ, God’s wrath still rests on them. Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” Fortunately, John 1:12 says, “to all who receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” So, God’s wrath that we deserved was poured out on Jesus so that we wouldn’t have to live eternally separated from God.
Assuming that you are in Christ, you could be feeling one of three things.
1) Guilt. That’s not from God. Satan is an accuser and will use whatever he can to hinder you.
2) Consequences. Many times the consequences of our actions continue to remind us of our mistakes. For example, you shoot your wife because you are angry at her for burning the toast. Consequently, you are not going to have any more toast made by your wife. Our actions carry consequences.
3) Discipline – God will bring trials and tests into our life to purify or refine us. That discipline could feel a little like punishment because at the time it stings. Read Hebrews 12:11. But it is intended for our ultimate good. God chastens those he loves. He isn’t bringing tough things into your life because he is angry at you. God is taking you through a season of refining because he wants the best for you.
Be encouraged that the bible says that God who began a good work in you is able to complete it (Philippians 1:6). He casts away our sin as far as the east is from the west never to be remembered (Psalm 103). God never remembers. He gives us the ability to remember past mistakes so that we won’t make them over and over. So, remember that you screwed up, stop kickin’ yourself in the tail and get on with your purpose for being on the planet.
Here are some bible verses that might help in your study.