By Jack Glover
From the beginning of time, the cost of sin has been high. It cost Adam and Eve the right to the tree of life (Gen. 3:24). It cost Israel the lives of all those over 20 their right to the Promised Land (Num. 32:11-12). And as we read below, it cost Judah 70 years of captivity in Babylon (Jer. 25:3-11).
“From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, these 23 years the word of the Lord has come to me, and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened. And the Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets again and again, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear, saying, ‘Turn now everyone from his evil way and from the evil of your deeds, and dwell on the land which the Lord has given to you and your forefathers forever and ever; and do not go after other gods to serve them and to worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the work of your hands, and I will do you no harm.’ Yet you have not listened to Me,” declares the Lord, “in order that you might provoke Me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm.
“Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Because you have not obeyed My words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about; and I will utterly destroy them and make them a horror and a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. Moreover, I will take from them the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon 70 years.
The Bible contains numerous examples, as well as teachings, warning that sin is not free. In the book of Jeremiah the phrase “you did not listen” or “you did not hearken” are found many times. It is apparent that they were refusing to listen to the prophet, or prophets. Many warnings were given, but few, if any, were heeded.
Most of us have heard the warning “There is no free lunch.” Everything has some cost. When making decisions about life, especially the Christian life, we need to count what the cost is before going ahead with a sinful action (Luke 14:28). Is committing adultery really worth breaking up your family, ruining your reputation or getting incurable diseases? Are the consequences of stealing, cheating and lying worth losing your job, going to prison or offending friends? Is the pleasures of any sin worth the cost of your soul?
God has asked His people repeatedly to listen to the warnings He sent through the prophets, Christ and His apostles. They all tell us that sin will bring punishment in the form of losing our eternal reward. (Rom. 6:23) Although we are not under the Old Testament (Mosaic) law today, its examples are still there for our learning, and there are many examples of punishment to both individuals and nations (including God’s chosen nation) for disobedience to his commands and teaching.
Why do men think that God will ignore disobedience? Every scripture indicates otherwise. Here is how God really looks at it:
- “But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them” (Eph. 5:3-7).
- “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” (I Cor. 6:9-10).
- See also Heb. 2:2-4 and Heb. 4:11-13.
Have we become hardened to sin? (Heb. 3:13) In our nation that certainly seems to be one reason. Long ago Paul predicted that “in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (II Tim. 3:1-4).
Do we think God does not know what we are doing? Again we are told, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13). Do we think His grace will overcome our willing sin? Paul indicates that is not safe doctrine. “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Rom. 6:1-2)
God simply will not accept any reason for disobedience. This is shown many times in His dealings with Israel all through the Old Testament and by many New Testament scriptures. Do not be fooled by the false idea that God is too loving or kind to punish sin. His very nature will not allow Him to to lie (Titus 1:2, Heb. 6:18), and that is what he would be guilty of if he did not punish sin when He said He would.
Remember, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? (Num. 23:19) Rest assured, you will lose eternal life if you sin. What are you giving (or doing) in exchange for your soul? (Matt. 16:26)