"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 6: 23, New International Version
"The Sin Problem"
"God's wounds cure, sin's kisses kill."
Have I ever felt the consequence of wrong behavior in a relationship in my life?
"Consequence" - Following a natural result or effect.
"The deceitfulness of sin is seen in that it is modest in its first proposals but when it prevails it hardens (our) hearts, and brings (us) to ruin."
When I was in college, long ago, they still had curfews. On the weekend it was midnight at the girl's dormitory where I resided.
On one particular Saturday night, at the very beginning of the school year no less, I was asked out by the guy who was captain of our school's football team. He wanted me to go with him to see a football game between two other colleges not far from ours. Well, the game got out late. The traffic was a mess. And you guessed it - I got back to the dorm at 12:15 a.m. I was just 15 minutes late. But the long ride home gave me plenty of time to "cook up" what I thought was a perfect excuse. Armed with my preplanned speech, I headed directly to the dean's office the next morning thinking I would have her understanding. WRONG! I was the one who received a preplanned lecture. "It's the beginning of the year," the dean began. "I'm not going to let you or anyone else think that the rules are bendable for any reason." And that, my dear friends, was the end of the conversation. The consequence of my action resulted in my having to be signed in at the dorm by 10 p.m. every night, weekends included, for one month. Believe me, I got the message and I never found myself missing curfew again. I had broken the rules and I had to suffer the consequences.
In Genesis 2, we find that God told Adam about one rule He had in the garden of Eden. "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden. But the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and blessing and calamity you shall not eat.'" (Genesis 2: 16, 17, Amplified Bible). Sounds simple enough. Everything was Adam's except the fruit on one little tree. God then continued with a warning: "For in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die." (Genesis 2: 17). This was God telling Adam in plain language, "See this tree? Don't mess with it. Don't get near it. Don't eat it, because there is a consequence. A very lethal consequence. You will die." My mom told me there were consequences to doing certain things, too. "Dorothy, don't touch the hot stove, you'll get burned." "Dorothy, don't play in the street, you could get hit." I can think of hundreds of things in our lives where for every action - there is a natural reaction. Something automatically happens because of what we did.
If I'm at the top of a mountain and I push a big snowball down the mountain, and the path is clear, it will roll to the bottom! Period! And the same thing happens with a great deal of the things we do in our lives. There is a cause and effect. And God warned Adam - don't eat of the tree because death will be the result.
Now let's go over to Genesis chapter 3. Another discussion takes place. This one is between a beautiful serpent and a perfect woman. "Now the serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature of the field…and he (Satan) said to the woman, ‘Can it really be that God has said you shall not eat from every tree of the garden?' And the woman said …‛We may eat the fruit from the trees of the garden Except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden.' God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.' (Genesis 3: 1-4, Amplified Bible).
Seems there is a difference of opinion.
God: You eat - you die.
Satan: You eat - you don't die.
And what is absolutely critical about this difference of opinion is that if you or I choose to take the wrong side - it could be lethal.
I've heard some people say this was an arbitrary rule on God's part. I look at it differently. When Lucifer, whom the prophet Isaiah says was "fallen from Heaven", said in his heart, "I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…I will make myself like the Most High," Lucifer decided he would put his will over God's will and decided he wanted to bring others with him on a path of destruction, because misery really does love company. This wily, wicked character decided he would harass the occupants in the garden of Eden. But in loving kindness, God limited Satan's access to the Eden pair, Adam and Eve, to one tree - the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Knowing there was a toxic, vile, villain in the tree, God went so far as to warn the innocent pair to stay away. He even said, "Don't touch." One might ask, besides tying the pair down, not letting them move, and turning them into robots, God did all He could to protect Adam and Eve. And yet, the allurement of, as the serpent said, having "your eyes opened and being like God and knowing the difference between good and evil," was so great, Adam and Eve couldn't resist the serpent's offer to try out a piece of the "magic" fruit.
The statement has been made that "sin wouldn't be so attractive if the wages were paid immediately." And for a while, God didn't look as though He knew what He was talking about. Adam and Eve didn't fall over dead the minute they ate the fruit. But, oh, the pain that followed. Having never seen death, just imagine picking a flower and watching it wilt in your hand. And tragedy of all tragedies - how about finding out that your son Cain slaughtered his brother Abel in a jealous rage. Sadly, God's words were all too true.
Sin pays a wage - it is death.
But our Father - our dear loving Father - would not stand by and leave all His children to the natural consequence of rebellious behavior. While Romans 6: 23 states that sin pays a horrid wage---it also says that God gave us a gift. Not what we deserve - which is death. But what we don't deserve - which is mercy.
Nearly 30 times in the book of Psalms, King David, a person who knew from personal experience what it was like to have God's hand of mercy extended to him, uses the phrase - "for His mercy endureth forever." I guess so. David was on the receiving end of a God who forgave his philandering, murderous ways. And you know what, when we repent (turn around in the direction toward God) He never withholds His mercy from you or me, either. In the beautiful words of the prophet Isaiah, "Let the wicked (guilty) forsake (her) way and the unrighteous (her) thoughts and let (her) return to the Lord, and He will have love, pity, and mercy for (her), and to our God for He will multiply His abundant pardon." (Isaiah 55:7, Amplified Bible).
"No mother could be quicker to snatch her child from a burning building than God is compelled to bring help to a penitent soul, even if the person has committed every imaginable sin a thousand times over."
The Paschal Way
"You said that if I walked your path with you
I would experience the blossoming of heaven.
I thought that you meant flowers,
blooms of celebration strewn
along the Hosanna road,
or arranged by flickering candles
in a church filled with peace,
or clustered fragrant in a heart
made into permanent summer by prayer,
or handed to me by friends
who valued flowers as much as I did.
You said that if I walked your path with you
I would discover the sweetness of God
and I expected to be given flowers.
But actually you were talking of thorns
and a cross on the road to dying
and hands and feet pierced by a truth
that I did not want to own
and a feeling of forsakenness
and a letting go
and a love so terrible it came
like a sword in my struggling heart
and finally, nothing but you and I
in the silence of the tomb.
You asked me to walk your path with you
and yes, you did mean flowers
But not the fragile things of a day.
Something of permanent fragrance
and a beauty that can't be measured
by a panacea of small comforts.
You were talking of the tomb transformed,
imprisonment into freedom,
crosses into wisdom,
suffering into compassion,
darkness into light,
You were talking of your presence
in a life made large by your journey.
You were talking of resurrections without end."
Psalms Down Under
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.