There has been a word burning in my heart for a few months now; a word concerning consequences. I've been hesitant to write about it because the topic is kind of "downy" and I've been attempting to be more positive these days. :)
However, I keep running into this subject in discussions with good friends. So here are some opening thoughts. Scripture declares:
Gal 6:7-10 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
I love the NLT in verse seven:
Gal 6:7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.
Because of the overwhelming love, mercy, and grace of God (Hallelujah!), sometimes there is this thought in the mind of well-meaning believers: because God forgives our sin He also forgoes the assignment of consequences. In other words, because we are positionally covered by the blood, we also practically escape punishment.
Now, thankfully, God doesn't give us the full measure of what we deserve. Again, GRACE! But do you know ANY father worth his salt who, for the love of children, does this? Lord forbid! Good dads love and forgive, but also discipline their disobedient children...for their own growth and good. The writer of Hebrews describes this issue of parental consequences (or sowing and reaping) perfectly:
Heb 12:5-11 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
God in love and mercy, exhorts (or encourages) us in the reality of chastening, rebuke, and scourging. Doesn't sound fun but it comes from love! Indeed, this is one way God deals with "sons" or His children: He disciplines them. Earthly fathers do the same. God sends consequences for "our profit."
When it comes however, it is tough. But there is something wonderful God does through chastening.
So I suppose my initial point in considering consequences is that Romans 8:28 still applies. God does, in fact, allow the fruit of sin to manifest. He nevertheless loves us and instructs us even in our failures.
But make no mistake. The fruit of sin and rebellion DOES manifest. God will not be mocked.
Yes the devil is busy. Yes fallen angels are active. Yes unclean spirits may be involved. But when we sow unto our flesh, we reap corruption, but when we sow unto the Spirit we reap life everlasting. (Gal 6:8)
These "natural" sinful consequences, in my opinion, plague the Body of Christ. May the LORD help us practically live for Him in daily holiness.
More later! :)