ACST 29. Sin: The Consequences

 

SDC11274b

The sinful inclination – what the Bible calls the flesh – is present within everyone – believer and unbeliever alike. Although believers have the choice to follow the Holy Spirit, we do not always take advantage of that option. So each of us is in danger of the consequences of personal sins that we commit. For someone not led by the Spirit, sins are like dominoes. Once one has toppled, it starts another, and then another. Paul describes this kind of life as “foolish, disobedient, misled, enslaved to various passions and desires, spending our lives in evil and envy, hateful and hating one another.”[1]

Murphy’s Choice

Most people are familiar with Murphy’s Law, “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” It is a humorous bit of pessimism, but it can also be helpful advice, encouraging people to build evaluation into their production plans, and look for glitches. One of the consequences in the human life as a result of sin is that Murphy’s law rules. Sin causes people to do the wrong thing most of the time. Humans have lost an innate hesitancy that would cause us to stop and ask important questions before making the choices that we make. We put too much trust in our own ability to evaluate between options, and we fail to take God’s desire into consideration.

Unauthorized Personnel Only

The sinful inclination also causes humans to mistrust or oppose those in authority more often than not. In most cases, personal experience has proven that those in authority cannot be trusted as a matter of course. Those in authority are naturally suspected of having ulterior motives, or of being corrupt or inept. Paul taught the Roman Christians to let “every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”[2] These were the very same authorities who were persecuting Christians, some even to death. It was a dangerous thing for the Roman Christians to submit to these rulers. But doing so demonstrated to the authorities that Christians were not a subversive cult.

Breathing Out Lies

The book of Proverbs speaks of some to whom deception is so habitual that they are said to breathe out lies.[3] Their words are taken to be reflections of their inner character, and assumed to be false. They are like the Cretans, whose own prophet said that they are always liars.[4] Such statements pose a dilemma for listeners. If a person who admits that his race is composed of habitual liars tells you that his people always lie, can you believe him?

But this problem is bigger than Crete. It affects us all, because we have all been influenced by the kingdom of Satan. He is “a liar and the father of lies.”[5] He has taken the creative powers given him by his creator and turned them to the task of deception on a cosmic scale. He deceived an untold number of angelic beings into rebelling against God’s authority. He deceived humanity into rebelling against God’s prohibition in Eden. He leads nation against nation in violent conflict with one another by deceiving both sides. He leads individuals to lie to one another, and does not stop to explain to them that they are lying to God as well.[6] Lies are like traps that catch the person who sets them.

Believing Lies

Those traps catch us all at times. As much as believers try to live by the truth, we are also caught at times by the deception that permeates this world. We tend to believe things that we are told, and do not have enough “Murphy’s Law” wariness to check the facts before coming to a conclusion. We tend to reject the truth when it comes in conflict with our own selfish desires.[7]

Slavery, Please!

Humans are also quite accustomed to some forms of slavery, and tend to choose bondage over freedom when given the choice. Ironically, many of the freedoms that humans hold dear are the opportunities to enslave ourselves. Our addictions to substances and experiences, to sexual lust, to bombastic speech, to fame and fortune – are all choices that we tend to eagerly make. Those choices take away our freedoms and keep us in bondage to the very things we celebrated as freedoms.

In reality, freedom is extremely limited during this age. I am free to travel to the other side of the world, but I am limited by my bank account. I can do it, if I can afford it. I am also limited as to my means of travel. I can go where others go. I am also limited by my present responsibilities and commitments, because travel takes time, and my available time is limited. Paul taught that believers will one day “obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”[8] Our limits will be destroyed along with the sin that created them. We will know true, unhindered freedom then, because we will have been set free from the sources of our present corruption and limitation.

Hiding From God

After Adam and Eve rebelled in Eden, they immediately started playing hide and seek with God. Sin has disrupted the casual and deep relationship our first parents had with their creator. The one who knows all things went along with this game and asked them where they were.[9] He knew where they were. He wanted them to realize where they were as a result of what they had done.

As a result of sin, we tend to hide from God. We tend to adopt a secular mindset, and treat this world as if it is a hiding place where we can take a vacation from God’s presence, and the relationship that God wants. We need that relationship. We were created to be in God’s presence. He is everywhere, so we really cannot escape his presence, but we can pretend to. That is another thing that sin does to humanity.

Ashamed of Ourselves

The clothing made of fig leaves in the garden also speaks to the consequences of sin. From that time on, humanity has felt personal shame due to a disruption of personal relationships. Clothing was a good idea, but it failed to solve the ultimate problem. The problem was not that Adam and Eve were naked. They had been naked and unashamed in God’s presence before. The problem was that they were naked and ashamed. Their understanding of themselves was drastically altered. To this day, psychologists tell us that many human problems are caused by an improper self-image.

Misc.

In many other ways, sin “diminishes and thwarts the great potencies with which God endowed human beings.”[10] We live with those consequences every day. They have become so natural that it is difficult to imagine a world where they do not exist.

But that day will come when sin and its consequences will no longer be part of God’s universe. Christ came into this world and endured the consequences of sin himself, including death on the cross. He did this so that he might destroy the devil.[11] God plans for this universe to be restored and glorified. We may not even be able to imagine the half of what that restoration entails. But we can certainly see the damage that sin is causing now. What we see today makes us long for and “haste the day when the faith shall be sight.”[12]

____________________________________

[1] Titus 3:3 NET.

[2] Rom. 13:1.

[3] Prov. 6:19; 14:5, 25; 19:5, 9.

[4] Tit. 1:12.

[5] John 8:44.

[6] Acts 5:4.

[7] 2 Thess. 2:12.

[8] Rom. 8:21.

[9] Gen. 3:9.

[10] Joe R. Jones, A Grammar of Christian Faith. (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), 362.

[11] Heb. 2:14.

[12] Horatio G. Spafford, Hymn: “It is Well With My Soul”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s