Romans 6:23 NIV
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.
For those who die without accepting Jesus as Savior, the consequence is clearly spelled out in God’s Word. Death brings banishment from God and eternal damnation in hell.
For those who have accepted Jesus as Savior, but turn away, living in sin, the consequence is the same. Paul taught the Jews in Galatians and elsewhere that if they turn away from Christ and go back to the law, they are lost and without hope. It has to be the same for everyone else.
Lastly for those who accept Jesus as Savior, but fall away into sin once or more, returning each time in repentance and living in obedience at death, they are the recipients of the gift of eternal life with God. However, there will be consequences in this life for their sins.
Let us look at the story of King David.
2 Samuel 12 NIV
12 The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 9 Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’
11 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”
13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for[a] the Lord, the son born to you will die.”
15 After Nathan had gone home, the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. 16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth[b] on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.
18 On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.”
19 David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked.
“Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”
20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.
David repented of his sins and turned to God as his refuge and strength.
However, his remaining life was full of trials, which included a son raping his half sister; a son killing his half brother and a son claiming power and trying to murder him. Yet, through his trials, David remained true to God and was “a man after God’s own heart”
There are consequences for our sins.
Yes, our sins are forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ, if we repent and ask for God to forgive and cleanse away our sins.
However, even for the believer, there are consequences for our sins.
We Reap What We Sow
This scripture passage makes it abundantly clear, that with disobedience comes punishment and “we reap what we sow.”
Most everyone has heard the scripture about reaping and sowing.
Galatians 6:1-7 NIV
6 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
Dr. Charles Stanley has an expression that he uses often. He says “we reap what we sow, more than we sow, later than we sow.”
The consequences for disobeying God are what Dr. Stanley is referring to.
God Abhors Sin
God abhors evil and sin. God hates sin because it is the very antithesis of Him, His nature and His being.
Proverbs 6:16-19 NIV
16 There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
Understand however, that God loves the sinner. He longs for the sinner to repent of their sins. However, He hates the sins of the sinner.
Yes, God can love us, but hate the sins that we commit at the same time.
What God wants is repentance and belief from the sinner, then obedience to His word. He wants us to be a light to the world by adhering to His laws and the teachings of Jesus. He wants us to be set apart from the world. He wants us to be holy.
Hint: He wouldn’t tell us to be holy if it wasn’t possible.
1 Peter 1:15-16 NIV
15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”[a]
Yes, we can live holy lives, as God wants us to.
Galatians 5:16 NIV
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
If we walk by the Spirit, are led by the Spirit and are obedient to the Spirit, we will be holy and righteous children of God.
We can do this. We must do this. This is pleasing to our Father in Heaven.
As outlined earlier, I am not a proponent of once in grace always in grace. I believe that God’s Word tells us time and again that we can fall away and be lost. I also do not believe God will let us sin and repent, sin and repent, sin and repent as believers, without chastisement.
As David and other found out, there are consequences for our sins. As Dr. Charles Stanley says, “we truly do reap what we sow, more than we sow, later than we sow.”
Consequences Reach Others Too
In conclusion, our sins not only have consequences for us, they also have consequences for those around us. Those who see that we are not living the life we profess to live are negatively impacted. To these folks, the damage can be long lasting or permanent.
As a child of God, let us desire and succeed at living holy and righteous before Him.