How do we avoid the idea that God punishes us for sin and rewards us for being “good”?
You plan great things and you do mighty deeds. You see everything people do. You reward each of them for the way they live and for the things they do. –Jeremiah 32:19
You reward each of them for the way they live and for the things they do. You can actually read both the positive and negative into this. I would say based on the entire context that it is OK to do this.
So I will use what I actually know about my own life and additionally what I perceive in the lives of others. When I am in sin, it seems as if things are going wrong in all aspects of life. When I do not see myself as being inside some blatant sin, it seems as if things are going well in life. This is a general perception and not absolute. But we know that God does not necessarily punish us for sin nor does He necessarily reward us for any “good” we do. So why then is it my perception that this is occurring?
It just seems natural that we should be rewarded for good and punished for bad. We have been raised like that from birth so is it societal?
So then, God has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, and he hardens whom he chooses to harden. —Romans 9:18
The madness is beginning to creep in so I must stop writing.