* Consequences of even a small sin is deadly
Adam and Eve’s disobedience and fall from God’s gracious presence affected all creation, including the environment. Years ago people thought nothing of polluting streams with chemical wastes and garbage. This seemed so insignificant, so small. Now we know that just two or three parts per million of certain chemicals can damage human health. Sin in our lives is similar to pollution in streams. Even small amounts are deadly. (NLT)
Genesis 3:17-19 – And to Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate the fruit I told you not to eat, I have placed a curse on the ground. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. All your life you will sweat to produce food, until your dying day. Then you will return to the ground from which you came. For you were made from dust, and to the dust you will return.”
* Consequences of Shechem’s rape
When Shechem raped Dinah, the consequences were far greater than he could have imagined. Dinah’s brothers were outraged and took revenge. Pain, deceit, and murder followed. Sexual sin is devastating because its consequences are so far-reaching. (NLT)
Genesis 34:27-29 – Then all of Jacob’s sons plundered the town because their sister had been defiled there. They seized all the flocks and herds and donkeys—everything they could lay their hands on, both inside the town and outside in the fields. They also took all the women and children and wealth of every kind.
* Consequences of living with the choices we make
We all know that there are consequences to any action we take. What we do can set into motion a series of events that may continue long after we’re gone. Unfortunately, when we are making a decision, most of us think only of the immediate consequences. These are often misleading because they are short-lived.
Abraham had a choice to make. His decision was between setting out with his family and belongings for parts unknown or staying right where he was. He had to decide between the security of what he already had and the uncertainty of traveling under God’s direction. All he had to go on was God’s promise to guide and bless him. Abraham could hardly have been expected to visualize how much of the future was resting on his decision of whether to go or stay, but his obedience affected the history of the world. His decision to follow God set into motion the development of the nation that God would eventually use as his own when he visited earth himself. When Jesus Christ came to earth, God’s promise was fulfilled; through Abraham the entire world was blessed.
You probably don’t know the long-term effects of most decisions you make. But shouldn’t the fact that there will be long-term results cause you to think carefully and seek God’s guidance as you make choices and take action today? (NLT)
Genesis 15:6 – And Abraham believed the Lord, and the Lord declared him righteous because of his faith.
* Consequences of sin last a long time
Reuben’s sin was costly, although not right away. As the oldest son, he stood to receive a double portion of the family inheritance and a place of leadership among his people. Reuben may have thought he got away with his sin. No more is mentioned of it until Jacob, on his deathbed, assembled his family for the final blessing. Suddenly Jacob took away Reuben’s double portion and gave it to someone else. The reason? “You slept with one of my wives; you dishonored me in my own bed.”
Sin’s consequences can plague us long after the sin is committed. When we do something wrong, we may think we can escape unnoticed, only to discover later that the sin has been quietly breeding serious consequences. (NLT)
Genesis 35:22 – While he was there, Reuben slept with Bilhah, his father’s concubine, and someone told Jacob about it.
* Consequences of sin are passed on to loved ones
Why would sins affect grandchildren and great-grandchildren? This is no arbitrary punishment. Children still suffer for the sins of their parents. Consider child abuse or alcoholism, for example. While these sins are obvious, sins like selfishness and greed can be passed along as well. The dire consequences of sin are not limited to the individual family member. Be careful not to treat sin casually, but repent and turn from it. The sin may cause you little pain now, but it could sting in a most tender area of your life later—your children and grandchildren. (NLT)
Exodus 34:7 – I show this unfailing love to many thousands by forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. Even so I do not leave sin unpunished, but I punish the children for the sins of their parents to the third and fourth generations.”
* Consequences of disobedience to God
After repeated warnings, Pharaoh still refused to obey God. He hardened his heart every time there was a break in the plagues. His stubborn disobedience brought suffering upon himself and his entire country. While persistence is good, stubbornness is usually self-centered. Stubbornness toward God is always disobedience. Avoid disobedience because the consequences may spill onto others. (NLT)
Exodus 8:15 – But when Pharaoh saw that the frogs were gone, he hardened his heart. He refused to listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had predicted.
* Consider consequences before making a choice
Moses tried to negotiate and reason with the Edomite king. When nothing worked, he was left with two choices—force a conflict or avoid it. Moses knew there would be enough barriers in the days and months ahead. There was no point in adding another one unnecessarily. Sometimes conflict is unavoidable. Sometimes, however, it isn’t worth the consequences. Open warfare may seem heroic, courageous, and even righteous, but it is not always the best choice. We should consider Moses’ example and find another way to solve our problems, even if it is harder for us to do. (NLT)
Numbers 20:21 – Because Edom refused to allow Israel to pass through their country, Israel was forced to turn around.
* Sin has a domino effect; once a sin is committed, a series of consequences follows. God will forgive our sin if we ask him, but the consequences of that sin have already been set in motion. David pled for mercy, and God responded by stopping the angel before his mission of death was complete. The consequences of David’s sin, however, had already caused severe damage. God will always forgive our sins and will often intervene to make their bitter consequences less severe, but the scars will remain. Thinking through the possible consequences before we act can stop us and thus save us much sorrow and suffering. (NLT)
1 Chronicles 21:13-14 – “This is a desperate situation!” David replied to Gad. “But let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is very great. Do not let me fall into human hands.”
So the Lord sent a plague upon Israel, and seventy thousand people died as a result.
* God’s warnings help us avoid tragic consequences
These curses were a series of oaths, spoken by the priests and affirmed by the people, by which the people promised to stay away from wrong actions. By saying Amen, “So be it,” the people took responsibility for their actions. Sometimes looking at a list of curses like this gives us the idea that God has a bad temper and is out to crush anyone who steps out of line. But we need to see these restrictions not as threats, but as loving warnings about the plain facts of life. Just as we warn children to stay away from hot stoves and busy streets, God warns us to stay away from dangerous actions. The natural law of his universe makes it clear that wrongdoing toward others or God has tragic consequences. God is merciful enough to tell us this truth plainly. Motivated by love and not anger, his strong words help us avoid the serious consequences that result from neglecting God or wronging others. But God does not leave us with only curses or consequences. Immediately following these curses, we discover the great blessings (positive consequences) that come from living for God (Deuteronomy 28:1-141). (NLT)
Deuteronomy 27:15-26 – ‘Cursed is anyone who carves or casts idols and secretly sets them up. These idols, the work of craftsmen, are detestable to the Lord.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is anyone who despises father or mother.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is anyone who steals property from a neighbor by moving a boundary marker.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is anyone who leads a blind person astray on the road.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is anyone who is unjust to foreigners, orphans, and widows.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is anyone who has sexual intercourse with his father’s wife, for he has violated his father.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is anyone who has sexual intercourse with an animal.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is anyone who has sexual intercourse with his sister, whether she is the daughter of his father or his mother.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is anyone who has sexual intercourse with his mother-in-law.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is anyone who kills another person in secret.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is anyone who accepts payment to kill an innocent person.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’
‘Cursed is anyone who does not affirm the terms of this law by obeying them.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’
* Forgiveness of sin may not stop its consequences
David confessed and repented of his sin, but God’s judgment was that his child would die. The consequences of David’s sin were irreversible. Sometimes an apology isn’t enough. When God forgives us and restores our relationship with him, he doesn’t eliminate all the consequences of our wrongdoing. We may be tempted to say, “If this is wrong, I can always apologize to God,” but we must remember that we may set into motion events with irreversible consequences. (NLT)
2 Samuel 12:14 – “But you have given the enemies of the Lord great opportunity to despise and blaspheme him, so your child will die.”
* God often allows believers to sin and then experience the consequences. He does this for several reasons: (1) to show us our potential for sinning, (2) to encourage us to turn from sin and more constantly depend on him, (3) to prepare us to face other, even stronger temptations in the future, and (4) to help us stay faithful and keep on trusting him. If believers need earthly discipline (judgment) from God, how much more will unbelievers receive it? If the righteous are barely saved (only because of God’s mercy), what chance do those have who reject Christ? (NLT)
1 Peter 4:17-18 – For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin first among God’s own children. And if even we Christians must be judged, what terrible fate awaits those who have never believed God’s Good News? And “If the righteous are barely saved, what chance will the godless and sinners have?”
* All your decisions have consequences
Samson, the mighty warrior, became a slave. Rather than kill him, the Philistines preferred to humiliate him by gouging out his eyes and making him grind grain. Samson now had plenty of time to wonder if Delilah’s charms were worth spending the rest of his life in humiliation.
Although God did not completely abandon Samson, he allowed Samson’s decision to stand, and the consequences of his decision followed naturally. We may choose to be close to God or to go our own way, but there are consequences resulting from our choice. Samson didn’t choose to be captured, but he chose to be with Delilah, and he could not escape the consequences of his decision. (NLT)
Judges 16:21 – So the Philistines captured him and gouged out his eyes. They took him to Gaza, where he was bound with bronze chains and made to grind grain in the prison.
* Pilate wanted to release Jesus, but the crowd loudly demanded his death; so Pilate sentenced Jesus to die. No doubt Pilate did not want to risk losing his position, which may already have been shaky, by allowing a riot to occur in his province. As a career politician, he knew the importance of compromise, and he saw Jesus more as a political threat than as a human being with rights and dignity.
When the stakes are high, it is difficult to stand up for what is right, and it is easy to see our opponents as problems to be solved rather than as people to be respected. Had Pilate been a man of real courage, he would have released Jesus no matter what the consequences. But the crowd roared, and Pilate buckled. We are like Pilate when we know what is right but decide not to do it. When you have a difficult decision to make, don’t discount the effects of peer pressure. Realize beforehand that the right decision could have unpleasant consequences; social rejection, career derailment, public ridicule. Then think of Pilate and resolve to stand up for what is right no matter what other people pressure you to do. (NLT)
Luke 23:13-25 – Then Pilate called together the leading priests and other religious leaders, along with the people, and he announced his verdict, “You brought this man to me, accusing him of leading a revolt. I have examined him thoroughly on this point in your presence and find him innocent. Herod came to the same conclusion and sent him back to us. Nothing this man has done calls for the death penalty. So I will have him flogged, but then I will release him.”
Then a mighty roar rose from the crowd, and with one voice they shouted, “Kill him, and release Barabbas to us!” (Barabbas was in prison for murder and for taking part in an insurrection in Jerusalem against the government.) Pilate argued with them, because he wanted to release Jesus. But they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
For the third time he demanded, “Why? What crime has he committed? I have found no reason to sentence him to death. I will therefore flog him and let him go.”
But the crowd shouted louder and louder for Jesus’ death, and their voices prevailed. So Pilate sentenced Jesus to die as they demanded. As they had requested, he released Barabbas, the man in prison for insurrection and murder. But he delivered Jesus over to them to do as they wished.
* Consequences of intentional sin more severe
Eli’s sons knew better, but they continued to disobey God deliberately by cheating, seducing, and robbing the people. Therefore, God planned to kill them. Any sin is wrong, but sin carried out deliberately and deceitfully is the worst kind. When we sin out of ignorance, we deserve punishment. But when we sin intentionally, the consequences will be more severe. Don’t ignore God’s warnings about sin. Abandon sin before it becomes a way of life. (NLT)
1 Samuel 2:23-25 – Eli said to them, “I have been hearing reports from the people about the wicked things you are doing. Why do you keep sinning? You must stop, my sons! The reports I hear among the Lord’s people are not good. If someone sins against another person, God can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede?” But Eli’s sons wouldn’t listen to their father, for the Lord was already planning to put them to death.
* Consequences ignored when we want something bad enough
Samuel carefully explained all the negative consequences of having a king, but the Israelites refused to listen. When you have an important decision to make, weigh the positives and negatives carefully, considering everyone who might be affected by your choice. When you want something badly enough, it is difficult to see the potential problems. But don’t discount the negatives. Unless you have a plan to handle each one, they will cause you great difficulty later. (NLT)
1 Samuel 8:19-20 – But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will govern us and lead us into battle.”
* Consequences of David’s sin with Bathsheba
The predictions in these verses came true. Because David murdered Uriah and stole his wife, (1) murder was a constant threat in his family; (2) his household rebelled against him; (3) his wives were given to another in public view; (4) his first child by Bathsheba died. If David had known the painful consequences of his sin, he might not have pursued the pleasures of the moment. (NLT)
2 Samuel 12:10-14 – From this time on, the sword will be a constant threat to your family, because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own.
“‘Because of what you have done, I, the Lord, will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man, and he will go to bed with them in public view. You did it secretly, but I will do this to you openly in the sight of all Israel.”
Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “Yes, but the Lord has forgiven you, and you won’t die for this sin. But you have given the enemies of the Lord great opportunity to despise and blaspheme him, so your child will die.”
* Consequences of sin caused ruined lives
Reuben’s sin of incest was recorded for all future generations to read. The purpose of this epitaph was not to smear Reuben’s name, but to show that painful memories aren’t the only results of sin. The real consequences of sin are ruined lives. As the oldest son, Reuben was the rightful heir to both a double portion of his father’s estate and the leadership of Abraham’s descendants, who had grown into a large tribe. But his sin stripped away his rights and privileges and destroyed his family. Before you give in to temptation, take a close look at the disastrous consequences sin may produce in your life and the lives of others. (NLT)
1 Chronicles 5:1 – The oldest son of Israel was Reuben. But since he dishonored his father by sleeping with one of his father’s concubines, his birthright was given to the sons of his brother Joseph. For this reason, Reuben is not listed in the genealogy as the firstborn son.
* Think before you act
Jesus’ formal accuser wanted to drop his charges, but the religious leaders refused to halt the trial. When he betrayed Jesus, perhaps Judas was trying to force Jesus’ hand to get him to lead a revolt against Rome. This did not work, of course. Whatever his reason, Judas changed his mind, but it was too late. Many of the plans we set into motion cannot be reversed. It is best to think of the potential consequences before we launch into an action we may later regret. (NLT)
Matthew 27:3-4 – When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and other leaders. “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.”
* Consequences of rejecting Christ’s offer
When people deliberately reject Christ’s offer of salvation, they reject God’s most precious gift. They ignore the leading of the Holy Spirit; the one who communicates to us God’s saving love. This warning was given to Jewish Christians who were tempted to reject Christ for Judaism, but it applies to anyone who rejects Christ for another religion or, having understood Christ’s atoning work, deliberately turns away from it. The point is that there is no other acceptable sacrifice for sin than the death of Christ on the cross. If someone deliberately rejects the sacrifice of Christ after clearly understanding the Good News teaching about it, then there is no way for that person to be saved, because God has not provided any other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them. (NLT)
Hebrews 10:26 – Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received a full knowledge of the truth, there is no other sacrifice that will cover these sins.
1 Following the curses in Deuteronomy 27:15-26, we discover the great blessings (positive consequences) that come from living for God. These give us extra incentive to obey God’s laws. While all these blessings may not come in our lifetime on earth, those who obey God will experience the fullness of his blessing when he establishes the new heaven and the new earth. (NLT)
Deuteronomy 28:1-14 – “If you fully obey the Lord your God by keeping all the commands I am giving you today, the Lord your God will exalt you above all the nations of the world. You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God:
You will be blessed in your towns and in the country. You will be blessed with many children and productive fields. You will be blessed with fertile herds and flocks. You will be blessed with baskets overflowing with fruit, and with kneading bowls filled with bread. You will be blessed wherever you go, both in coming and in going.
“The Lord will conquer your enemies when they attack you. They will attack you from one direction, but they will scatter from you in seven!
“The Lord will bless everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.
If you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways, the Lord will establish you as his holy people as he solemnly promised to do. Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the Lord, and they will stand in awe of you.
“The Lord will give you an abundance of good things in the land he swore to give your ancestors—many children, numerous livestock, and abundant crops. The Lord will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens to bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them. If you listen to these commands of the Lord your God and carefully obey them, the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always have the upper hand. You must not turn away from any of the commands I am giving you today to follow after other gods and worship them.
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