Good morning my friends,
Consequences are difficult to swallow sometimes yet every action we take has a consequence. The question is, is our character strong enough to stand and face those consequences be they good or bad? It seems few people are willing to do that these days. We look for quick fixes, short cuts, back doors, anything to avoid facing the consequences of our actions. This is what we have taught our youth.
The saddest thing is when we won’t even admit that the consequences are a result of our actions or words, or even our thoughts. We blame other people or circumstances or anything to avoid taking the ownership of those consequences. It is one thing to sin; it is entirely a different thing to blame someone else for that sin. I use the word sin but maybe you feel that is too strong a word. Perhaps you would prefer I use the words “Error in judgment”, “misguided action”, “well intentioned”, mistake.
In our reading this morning we found that God had a simple solution to the problem of his instructions not being followed. God expected his instructions to be followed precisely as he gave them. In some of the simplest things the consequences were exact and severe:
And wherever you live, you must not eat the blood of any bird or animal. If anyone eats blood, that person must be cut off from his people. (Leviticus 7:26-27)
To go against God in some of the things that God considered major instructions resulted in being cut off from God’s people. Why? Because the instructions were clear. To not obey them was a deliberate act against God which was sin and God could have nothing to do with sin. That speck of sin had to be removed from God’s people. This is how precise and demanding our Holy God is. It is the reason that none of us could make it under this law. It is the reason we needed the grace of God in the form of his Son sacrificed on the cross.
We live in an age where science and medicine are working hard to help us avoid natural consequences of our sins. Science is coming up with cures to sexually transmitted diseases. Medicine is dong away with unwanted pregnancies. Families split and psychologists spend years trying to put the children back together so the male and female do not have to face the consequences of their sin. We have lawyers who try to make judges believe their twisted version of the law so their clients can avoid facing the consequences of their sin. It goes on. We are left to freely pursue a life that is contrary to the will of God. We are a people with little character to stand to face the consequences of our actions; to own them; to try and make restitution; to apologize and seek forgiveness.
Yet, here is the truth of this entire matter; we cannot avoid God’s judgment of our actions. There may be natural consequences here and now that we try to avoid but there is a much more severe consequence that is coming that cannot be avoided. Even if we manage to not “pay” for our actions here we will still have to “pay” for it. That is going to be such a terrible day for so many people. Too many people think they will get off on a technicality. They think that the good they do will out balance the bad. Listen to the words of Jesus:
"Then you will say, 'We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.'
"But he will reply, 'I don't know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evil doers!'
"There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. (Luke 13:26-28)
There is only one way to be redeemed from our sins against God. He knew our hearts. He knew the impossibility of us living according to his holiness. He knew so he gave us the perfect sacrifice. To receive this sacrifice means we have to die. We must die to what we want, to our sinful nature, our tendency to do all the things contrary to God’s will, and to live for Jesus Christ. It is only in this manner that we will make it through the Day of Judgment that is coming. If not, we will have to live for eternity with the consequences of our sin and if you think it is hard now to live with a guilty conscience just wait until you feel the weight of it for eternity.