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Monday, February 4, 2013

Consequences Aren't Always Evident

Genesis 3:6 (ESV)
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Eve spoke with the serpent who was seducing her to do what she knew that she must not do. He convinced her that God didn't have her or her husband's best interest at heart. He challenged whether or not there would be any bad consequences and promised that there would be benefits in defying God's words. Adam stood by and watched. He didn't stop the proceedings. In fact, he let Eve take a taste of the forbidden fruit to see if she died. She didn't so he accepted the fruit she gave him.

I have led men's groups in the past who said that Adam wanted to see if it killed Eve before he took a bite. They said that he let her take the risk. Did Adam think that lightning would strike her the moment she took a bite? Did he think that she would shrivel up and die right on the spot?

I have always said that there would be a whole lot less sin if God's judgement was immediate. Fire from heaven at the point of sin would just about eliminate all sin.

But what kind of people would we be if God judged every sin at the moment it was committed? No one would really love or worship God. We would all walk in fear afraid that anything we do would displease Him. It would be a horrible existence. There would be religion but it would lack fellowship. 

So, God allows us to sin without an immediate punishment. We are given the opportunity to repent. 

I get the impression for some that they think that they are getting away with their sins. I have talked with so many people who are having affairs and think that things will go alone nicely as long as their spouses never find out. They don't see the downside because they haven't yet seen the consequences. They don't realize what has already happened to their own hearts toward God and their spouses. They think they can continue in their faith as if nothing has happened. They justify their actions so that the spouses appear as villains in their sinful stories. It appears to me that they believe their confession to me absolves them of their sins.

Honestly, I am often disgusted with those who justify their sins. I am tired of them asking me if God wants them to be happy. I want them to wake up and realize that they are rotting on the inside. I want them to see that the consequences of their sins are simply not worth the sin.

Sin rarely has an immediate consequence which will stop the sinner. Sure, there may be remorse but it will fade if there is no real conviction, confession and repentance. Most people never realize that their sins have moved them away from their Lord.

Yes, there are immediate consequences but only those who are walking close to their Lord will ever recognize them. The unrepentant, unconfessed sinner calls out to God and is met with silence for he has not listened to the Holy Spirit who has sought to convict him of his sin.

Thus, our days should begin and end with:

Psalm 139:23-24 (ESV)
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! 

Try me and know my thoughts!

24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, 

and lead me in the way everlasting! 

3 comments: said...

God said, “You will surely die”. That was what God said to Adam concerning the eating of the fruit from the Tree of knowledge of good and evil. On face value, it is no surprise that some of us venture a proposition that Adam was waiting to see if Eve would die or NOT, on taking the fruit! But really, it isn’t it, if we think a little deeper! Unless you hate your other half or the one close to you, would you do that – use him or her as the guinea pig for such a dangerous test! Adam was with Eve alright (Gen 3:6 stated that), but it was NOT, I believe, “Ok, let her take it first, if she dies, that is alright; that would be good riddance.” Rather, I would say that Adam went along; in other words, he was in agreement with Eve to believe the serpent, and so, disobeyed God.

What did God mean when He said that – that “You will surely die”? How did Adam understand it to be? Did he understand it as physical death? We can only guess; perhaps, he really thought it was referring to physical death, and so, on seeing that Eve did NOT die, he was willing to take of the fruit, too. Or perhaps, he knew there was the meaning of death other than physical death, but still he took the fruit after Eve.

Some argue that Adam loved Eve so much he would NOT let her die (whatever the definition!) alone, he would join her because he loved her. This love is NOT acceptable, as far as my understanding of love as understood from the Holy Scripture. The love of God is love unto righteousness (`ahab love), and if Adam was in exercise of that (before the Fall), he would NOT have allowed Eve to sin, and then he, himself, joined her in sin. The most appropriate answer, in my belief, was that Adam was in agreement with Eve, and so, he was correctly held responsible by God for the Fall.

In fact, Adam has stewardship over Eve, and he was accountable to God for what happened to Eve. To me (called me old-fashion-whatever), no matter what definition you assigned to “helpmate” (Eve was created as the helpmate to Adam), Adam has stewardship over Eve; at the least, they have joint stewardship over each other.

Now, what did God mean when He said, “You will surely die”? On hindsight, it should be apparent to us all, that God was NOT referring to physical death, particularly; He was referring to the 2nd death or banishment to the Hell fire, eventually; eternal separation from God. But of course, physical death is in that pathway to Hell. If Man does NOT die physically, he goes NOT, to Hell; and so, at some point in time, Man has to die the physical death. That Adam and Eve had disobeyed God’s First Prohibitive Law or Commandment, and the consequence was the punishment to Hell fire; they, Adam and Eve, had to die physically, and NOT allowed to live forever, mortally (and so, the keeping of them away from the fruit from the Tree of Life). God could have immediately, then, struck Adam and Eve dead physically, but He did NOT, not that He was NOT entitled to (in order to go to Hell, Adam and Eve must die, physically, first), but that God was gracious (yes, it was the grace of God) to let Adam and Eve live on (physically), so that Mankind could be perpetuated.

Cont... said...

cont. from above

The above was the first sin or the Original Sin, as many of us would call it, and so, does it reveal a pattern of God? Yes, it does. What did this pattern involve? We see the love of God; we see the grace of God being extended; and we see the righteousness and holiness of God (you actually can see more, others, like faithfulness of God, etc.). We see the harmonization of the nature-attributes of God, with holiness of God taking supremacy. There is a subjugation of various nature-attributes of God to the fundamental nature of God – God is holiness. God could not, just for love, when Adam and Eve actually sinned, went back on His word, and let them off the hook, so to speak.

Some might think this: “Yes, God did let them off the hook, see they did NOT die immediately. God did NOT mean what He said or that He did change his mind, when elsewhere in scriptures, it was said that God is unlike men that He would change his mind!” Many people want to think, “it is maybe, with God; maybe, He will punish like He said, maybe He won’t; and so, maybe I will take my chances!” Some even may think that God can lie! No, God did NOT say, “You will surely die, as in you will summarily be struck dead, physically”; the “die” in “You will surely die” did NOT refer particularly to physical death. So, God did NOT lie, God did NOT change His mind; but God did choose to give Adam and Eve some more time to live, physically. That was grace, yes, that was grace. But for that grace of allowing men to live on, physically, God had to mete out the secondary punishments in the form of punishment in chastisement. These were the punishments for men and women while they live mortally or physically, and they were recorded for us in Genesis 3. The primary punishment was already given before the Fall, and it was recorded in Gen 2:16-17 – “You will surely die” – go to Hell fire, eventually.

Understand the pattern of God here. There is the punishment in finality – that’s the Hell fire, eventually. This has primarily to do with the holiness of God. The demand of holiness of God cannot remains unsatisfied forever. Yes, God is longsuffering, but it is NOT forever, or there is no meaning to demand of holiness or holiness itself. Punishment in chastisement is reformative in nature; it is given in love, to reign in, to reform. Scripture said it, those God loves, He chastises. Why? Because, ultimately, the demand of holiness must kick in. Chastisements of God are to conform us to the likeness of Christ Jesus; for only when it is so, that the demand of holiness of God would not find us short, at the end.

The grace of God is at work; it is at work to give 2nd chances. It is at work because God still loves you and I; it is at work because God is still faithful to you and I. It is at work to bring us to be in alignment with satisfaction of the demand of holiness.

Cont... said...

Cont. from above

The consequences of sin aren’t always evident, because the grace of God is at work. It is because God is long-suffering; it is God is still loving you, as far as holiness still permits it. All believers who have NOT numbed their conscience until the conscience is insensitive to the Holy Spirit, they can know they have sinned or done wrong, deep inside of them. Righteousness of God is revealed to us, in His Word, and is in the Holy Spirit. It is you got to want to be righteous, even when you do have the imputed righteousness of Christ Jesus. It is you got to want to get right with God. All of us need to know that God cannot be fooled or mocked.

Some people say that they don’t know what to do with this subject of righteousness of God; they heard many preachers saying to do nothing about it, arguably, righteousness is only of standing, and that is all that matters. Who are we to pattern after? Christ Jesus. What is Jesus’ pattern with regard to this? 1 John 3:7 speaks it well: Those who practise righteousness are righteous in the same way as Christ Jesus is righteous. Right standing or right living? Jesus’ pattern is both. What did Jesus repeatedly say of His living? “I do what my Father wanted done”, in a nutshell. In other words, He lived according to what the Father wanted done, and that is right living, living in agreement with God, with what God wants and when He wants it.

Ps Prentis put it succinctly – if God punishes immediately all the time, poof, sins no more! Why God does NOT do that all the time (so, NOT that He cannot punish immediate; He can!)? Again, Ps Prentis got it right – there can be no love of us for God. Love necessitates the element of choice. If I put a gun at your head, and say “I will put the trigger if you don’t say or do the right thing”, can there be love? Love is when I will do it even if I forfeit my life (discerned from John 15:13), NOT when I have to do it, otherwise I will lose my life. Why can God put it as the Greatest Commandment to us – to love Him with our all? Because He does NOT hold a gun at our head at all times, and pull the trigger to kill (physically) us, the moment we sin; even as scriptures said that the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23a), much along the line of “You will surely die” if you take of the fruit from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

I know Ps Prentis made entry on this verse before; it is true, and is worth stating it here again, on this subject of “consequences aren’t always evident” – Gal 6:7 - Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

How does it take to reap a mango fruit from a mango seed sown? 3 years or 2 -4 years? When you reap, is NOT so definitive, but what you reap is definite. From a mango sowing, you get mango, even if it is after a long, long, long time -

Anthony Chia, high.expressions – live an honest and honourable life, and leave the rest to God.