There are Consequences

(Update of a devotional from 1998)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9.

For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. – Romans 3:23.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 6:23.

Are there any consequences for our sins if we ask God to forgive us? If we are cleansed from unrighteousness, washed and made as white as snow, and our sins are put as far as the east is from the west and remembered no more; are there any consequences for sins that have been forgiven?

Remember King David in the Old Testament and how he committed adultery, ordered the murder of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah? After David is confronted by the prophet Nathan, David then cries out to God in Psalm 51, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me (Psalm 51:1-3).” I believe that David would tell you that even after God had forgiven him there were some consequences for his sins.

What were the consequences? They are spoken from the lips of the prophet Nathan who says beginning in 2 Samuel 12:10, “Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. Thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’ So David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.’” All of those things spoken by the prophet Nathan came to pass as is recorded in Scripture even though David had been forgiven of his sins! If we sin there are consequences and those wages must be paid.

You may be thinking but that was in the Old Testament and that God does not do things like that now after Jesus died on the cross. In Acts chapter five, Ananias and his wife Sapphira lied about the amount they received from selling property they owned. The consequence for their lying to the apostle Peter and in actuality to the Holy Spirit was the immediate supernatural death of Ananias and Sapphira.

You may think that you can knowingly live in sin and that there will be no consequences for you. Sadly, there are always consequences for sin – those wages must be paid. You may not think that you are paying them but you are by living beneath your privileges as a member of the royal family of the King of kings and Lord of lords. When you are living outside of the will of God there are always consequences and those consequences affect everyone and everything around you because the wages of sin must be paid.

The good news, the great news is that you do not have to live outside of God’s will for your life. You can turn back. You can begin again. You may have wasted years of your life but you do not have to waste the rest of your life. Change now. Begin now. 1 John 1:9 is the place to start. Do it now. Please don’t risk another day of disobedience to your Lord because the wages must always be paid.

(There are always consequences for sin because the wages of sin must be paid (Romans 6:23).)

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