Friday, December 07, 2007

The Consquences of Sin

Have you ever considered the impact sin has had on your life? Every once and awhile I will ponder the consequences of the sin in my life. What opportunities did God with hold from me because I lacked the character to properly respond? How have I hurt people, unknowingly, because of lies or gossip that have passed my lips? Have relationships remained dormant because of some sin I refused to acknowledge?

One of the reasons that have spurred me to ponder this question today is the fact that God is doing some wonderful things in my life and the church family I serve. I can’t help but wonder if these things are happening as the result of making an effort to deal with some specific sins in my life. It is my belief that we do not fully appreciate the power sin has to keep us from becoming the people God wants us to be. Sin always carries consequences and that means our sin always affects other people. From missed opportunities to serve to intentional harm our sin leaves an impact on this world.

Consider what Henry Blackaby wrote in Created to be God’s Friend:
"Sin carries awful consequences. Sin is devastatingly real in its consequences in every person alike. There are no favorites or exceptions" (p. 107).
There is no person who can escape the consequences of sin. You can’t and I can’t. Even the saints found on the pages of Scripture couldn’t. As history records their sins carried far reaching consequences.

Take for example Abraham. God had promised him a son, but after years of waiting Abraham and his wife Sarah were still childless. To help God out the couple decided to go ahead and have a son by an acceptable cultural method. Abraham and Sarah had a son through Sarah’s servant. While this may have been acceptable to the culture it was disobedience to God, and the consequences of that decision are still felt today in the Middle East. Abraham’s sin had far reaching consequences. David’s sin with Bathsheba assured that David’s family would always have trouble and sexual transgressions would be a part of his family’s legacy.

Because of God’s grace I believe that Satan has led us to believe that our sin is no big deal. "After all," we rationalize, "God will forgive us of our sins anyway." Sin is a big deal and it prevents us from living the life God created us to live. I want to throw out two truths for you to consider:

Sin destroys our witness.

As followers of Jesus we realize that we are called to make disciples of all nations. We tell others about Jesus not only by word but also by deed. Our righteous actions can spur curiosity in Jesus and act as evidence of the message that we proclaim. People are more willing to accept the message of Jesus if they can see that it has made a difference in our lives. Because of this dual nature of disciple making the authors of the New Testament cautioned their readers to pay attention to how they lived.

For example read what the apostle Peter wrote:
11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:11-12; ESV)

Sin destroys our credibility. The result is that sin distracts for the message of Jesus Christ. How can people put their faith in Jesus if they have not seen a change or difference in our lives? Sin hinders the cause of Christ in the world.

Sin prevents service.

James writes:
27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27; ESV)

The will of God, the life He created us to live, is a life which has compassion (shown through service) on other people. One of the aspects of sin is that it is self-seeking and self-serving. In other words sin keeps us from obeying the two great commandments. Since sin is disobedience we are not loving God (which is primarily seen in our obedience) and since sin is self-seeking we are not showing love (though compassion) to other people.

Sin is the opposite of what God wants for our lives. God desires that our lives touch others for good, but too often sin touches others for evil. God desires that we serve those in need, but sin tells us to use others for our own needs. God wants to use us to restore life, but sin seeks to destroy life.

We don't consider how destructive sin really is. If we acknowledge sin at all we acknowledge it as a problem in our 'personal relationship' (whatever that means) with God. Sin is more destructive than that, because sin always carries consequences that affect the people around us. It is seen in the good we are prevented in doing as well as the destruction of relationships and lives that are left in the wake of our sin. The sad reality is that we will not realize the full impact of our sin until that day when we see Jesus face to face and finally understand how terrible sin really is.

  • Point to Ponder: Sin is a big deal and it prevents us from living the life God created us to live.
  • Passage to Remember: 1 Peter 2:11-12
  • Question to Consider: Has your sin prevented you from doing good?

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