“Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is ‘real life’ eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.”
Romans 6: 23, The Message
“There Are Consequences”
“Consequence:” That which logically or naturally follows from an action or condition. The relationship of a result to a cause.
However many and however great and burdensome your sins may be, with God there is greater mercy.”
Tikhon of Zadonak
“The pleasure of sin is soon gone, but the sting remains.”
When I was about nine years old, my friends and I were talking at school about methods we had used to get our parents to “cave in” to our childish demands. One of my little friends informed all of us, with a great deal of pride, that if her mom told her to do something like clean her room or wash the dishes, all she had to do was say, “I won’t.” Then she said she would stomp off and do whatever she wanted to do. Of course, we were all impressed by her courage and defiance. I was especially taken with this idea. So I explored the subject further. “Does your mom do anything to you? Do you ever get in trouble for acting like this?” I questioned.
“Absolutely not,” my friend exclaimed. “My parents just laugh at me.”
Well – and you can probably already guess what’s coming -- Dorothy, the little genius, decided to go home and try this experiment on my mother.
That evening after supper, my mother very kindly asked me to clear the table. Under my breath I softly whispered, “I won’t.” My mother turned and said, “What was that you said?” Emboldened by my first act of defiance, I said emphatically, “I won’t!” At that moment a look came over my mother’s face that I had never seen before or since. She walked over to me, and let’s just say I found out that my mother didn’t think a “sassy mouth” was very becoming on nine-year-old girls! It is the only time my mother ever laid a hand on me in my life. And she never had to again because I found out very quickly that there were consequences to misbehavior. My friend’s mom and dad may have thought her shenanigans were funny. But as my sister and I used to say, “I don’t think our parents found anything humorous about disobedience.”
I’m thankful they thought that to disobey meant to suffer. For when I have chosen to walk my own path and choose my own way – I have found that, indeed, the Apostle Paul knew what he was talking about when he wrote the letter to the Romans and warned them that “sin pays a wage – it is death” (Romans 6: 23).
If we think about the events in Eden we see that God warned Adam and Eve that sin would cause death. He made it clear. However, Adam and Eve hadn’t seen death before. And so they began to wonder, “What is death?”
Add to this a wily serpent who immediately contradicted God when he informed Eve, “And the serpent said unto the woman, ‘Ye shall not surely die’” (Genesis 3: 4 K.J.V.). But the serpent didn’t stop there. He elaborated and embellished his lie. “God is only denying you this tree because He knows when you eat of it you will be wise --- as smart as God – and God doesn’t want any competition in the wisdom department!”
When I read these words, I shuddered because I know how the serpent has gotten away with saying the same thing to God’s daughters and sons for generations. “God is a liar. Sin doesn’t have consequences. God is only denying you something that will make you smarter…make you feel better…make you look better. God’s a spoil-sport. He doesn’t want you to have any fun.” Sound familiar? By now, you’d think we’d recognize the serpent’s smooth line for what it is – a lie. But we don’t! Adam and Eve didn’t get it. Neither do we. So with great suffering, we all – every one of us – lives every day of our lives with the consequences of sin and disobedience.
Unfortunately, God’s beautiful, wonderful and perfect daughters have paid an extremely painful price, down through history, as the consequence of believing a lie.
Thankfully, the Apostle Paul, who wrote that sin pays a terrible wage – death – also wrote to his friends in Rome this blessed promise: “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5: 20 K.J.V.). I love how this text is paraphrased in The Message, “But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down” (Romans 5: 20). These beautiful words, penned by Jerry Bridges tell the entire story: “Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.”
While sin paid a tragic wage, God’s grace abounded as He rescued, delivered, and empowered one after another of His fallen daughters and sons and restored them to their proper, created place within His universe.
“Grace is the gift of Christ, who exposes the gulf which separates God and man (and woman, too) and, by exposing it, bridges it.”
At times, we all feel that the separation brought on by sin in our lives has so disrupted our relationship with God that it is not repairable. May the words of our Saviour, Jesus, bring the comfort and peace to your heart that you long for today.
…“ (She) that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast away.”
John 6: 37, King James Version
To be there before you Lord, that’s all.
To shut the eyes of my body,
To shut the eyes of my soul,
And to be still and silent,
To expose myself to you who are there, exposed to me.
To be there before you, the Eternal Presence.
I am willing to feel nothing, Lord,
to see nothing,
to hear nothing.
Empty of all ideas,
of all images,
In the darkness.
Here I am, simply
To meet you without obstacles,
In the silence of faith,
Before you, Lord.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.