The apostle John clearly defined sin as “transgression of the law” (1 Jn. 3:4). The prophet Isaiah told us that sin separates men from God. Said the prophet, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:2). From Genesis through the Revelation, God warned mankind of sin’s consequences. Additionally, the inspired apostle Paul wrote, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), and “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10; cf., Psalm 14:1-4; 53:1).
Very early on, God’s book revealed His plan to provide a Redeemer to save men from their sins. What man lost because of Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden, he regained through Christ. While one man brought sin into the world, another man–Christ–made hope and forgiveness possible. In Genesis 3:14 and 15, the text says, “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, ‘Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.’” The seed of woman (Christ) would deal a major blow to Satan, in that Christ would become “Obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8), and by His resurrection on the third day would provide the means of forgiveness for all men who are obedient to His gospel and who abide in His doctrine (Mk. 16:15, 16; 2 Jn.9).
Paul wrote, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ)” (Rom. 5:12-17).
In the articles section of this web page entitled “Three Things Sin Will Always Do,” I noted and discussed the following points regarding sin:
1. It Will Take You Farther Than You Wanted Or Intended to Go!
2. It Will Keep You Longer Than You Wanted to Stay!
3. It Will Cost More Than You Wanted to Pay!
In that article we focused on sin’s deceptive nature. God has provided sinful man with a Savior– Jesus Christ–and He will forgive all our sins if we are obedient to His terms. However, God has not promised to fully remove the consequences of the sins we commit.
Several prominent Bible characters illustrate the fact that sin has consequences. One notable case is David, described by Samuel as a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22). In 2 Samuel 11, we have the record of David’s adulterous relationship with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah. After observing Bathsheba’s beauty as she bathed on the rooftop, David lusted after her, sent for her, and committed adultery with her. Despite the fact that he confessed his sin before God and Nathan, this pleasurable moment resulted in a number of undesirable consequences. God promised that David would not die as a result of this sin (2 Sam. 12:13), but his life was filled with turmoil. Note a few of the incidents that followed:
1. Bathsheba became pregnant and reported to David that she was expecting his child (2 Sam. 12:5).
2. David, hoping to cover his sin with Bathsheba, attempted to get Uriah to go home and lay with her so it would appear the child was fathered by Uriah (2 Sam.12:6-13).
3. When this planned cover-up failed, David arranged to have Uriah placed in the “forefront of the hottest battle” and then deserted so that he would be smitten and die (vs. 14-21). In essence, David arranged for Uriah to be murdered!
4. Nathan confronted David and told him that by having Uriah killed, he had despised the Lord’s commandments (2 Sam. 12:1-9).
5. The prophet told David that “the sword would never depart from his house” (2 Sam. 12:10).
6. The child that David fathered when he committed adultery with Bathsheba died, and David greatly grieved the child’s death.
7. Tamar, David’s daughter by Maachah, was raped by Amnon, her half-brother. This incident incensed Absalom, and he eventually arranged for Amnon’s murder (2 Sam. 13).
8. Absalom revolted against David and was eventually slain by Joab’s armor bearers as he tried to escape during the battle with David’s troops in Gilead (2 Sam. 15-18). Again, David grieved over the loss of a son, Absalom (2 Sam. 18:33).
9. On numerous occasions, Saul sought to take David’s life (2 Sam. 15:18).
Because of David’s sin, he and his family suffered many difficulties and hardships!
Other Bible Examples
In Leviticus 10, when Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire–that is, fire they had not been commanded to offer, God smote them with fire. Evidently, they had not considered the consequences of disobeying God and, thus, were smitten with fire from heaven.
When Moses smote the rock, rather than speaking to it as God had commanded, God gave the people water, but because Moses smote the rock, God did not permit him to enter the land of Canaan (Num. 20:1-12).
When Uzziah the king entered the temple to burn incense on the altar (a duty to be performed by the priests who descended from Aaron), God struck him with leprosy. In 2 Chronicles 26:16 we read that after Uzziah became strong, his heart was lifted up and it caused his destruction. Apparently, his pride overtook him, and he thought that since he was king, and God had blessed him, he could do as he pleased. Uzziah was a leper for the remainder of his life, the consequence of sin that God imposed upon him.
In 1 Samuel 15, God commanded Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites and all their possessions. He told Saul to totally obliterate Amalek. But, Saul, fearing the people, obeyed their voice rather than God’s command. Even though he confessed that he had transgressed the Lord’s commandment and obeyed the voice of the people, God repented that He had made Saul king. Saul lost favor with God, and David succeeded him as king (2 Sam. 2:1-4).
In Acts 5:1-11, Ananias and Sapphira his wife conspired to keep back part of the price of the land that they sold. As a result of lying to God, both suffered the consequences and punishment for their sin–before they had time to utter an excuse, God smote them dead.
The consequences for some sins may be minor, but other sins bring greater consequences, which can be devastating. As noted earlier, David’s sin with Bathsheba brought all manner of grief to him and his household.
Since sin often brings pleasure “for a season” (Heb. 11:25), the sinner sometimes forgets that consequences can spring forth at a later time. When they do begin to bud and unfold, then grief and turmoil begin. What was so pleasurable for such a short period of time ends with turmoil, shame, and loss that can last a lifetime.
Of the sin of adultery, the wisdom writer said in Proverbs 6:27 and 28, “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?” The answer to these questions is obvious–NO! Committing adultery is like playing with fire; the players will get burned! When I was a child, my mother could tell when I had been around a mud hole–my clothes were muddy.
The Proverbs writer used fire and hot coals to illustrate that the sin of adultery brings serious consequences. Beginning at verse 20 of the same chapter, he warned the young man to heed the teaching and advice of his father and mother–to beware of the evil woman. Solomon, himself, had fallen prey to this temptation, so he spoke from experience. The strange woman would be any woman who is not his wife. Solomon warned the young man not to lust in his heart for her or be influenced by her beauty or luring and seemingly innocent stares; he described this sort of woman as “whorish” (Prov. 6:26).
The man who falls victim to a strange woman is brought to ruin and will suffer hurt just as one who takes fire in his bosom or walks on hot coals. The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife puts his soul in jeopardy and dishonors God, the woman, and all others concerned. He can also invoke the wrath of a jealous husband. So, Solomon spells out the consequences that lie ahead for those who commit adultery.
From the first sin committed by Adam and Eve until this very moment, those who sin suffer consequences. Even though we repent, confess our sins, and are forgiven by obeying the gospel and being washed in the blood of the Lamb of God, we still live with the consequences of our past sins. Paul wrote in Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” Please heed the Bible examples that so clearly illustrate that sin damages our souls and causes grievous results. The few we have cited show that sin’s consequences are real and that it is deceptive!
Sin’s short-term pleasure brings long-term consequences, such as heartache, ruin, shame, despair, anger, embarrassment, grief, divorce, monetary loss, neglect, mental and physical health problems, and numerous others, not to mention the loss of one’s soul. May we all heed the apostle Paul’s words, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Rom. 6:11-13).