The Consequences of Sin
No Way to Treat a Sinner
"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt
to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God
peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and
that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken
captive by him at his will." II Timothy 2:24-26
When we serve the Lord, it is easy to be drawn into a trap. We are called to
avoid it. What is that trap? STRIFE. This is a serious sin which is listed as a
work of the flesh, and it is strictly warned that those who practice it without
repentance "shall not inherit the kingdom of God." We must guard our tongues, so
that even the kind of questions we ask, or the spirit in which we ask, does not
give birth to contention. We must take every precaution to avoid such
conversations. If we will be servants of the Lord, the path God sets out before
us includes some Christ-like qualities. What are they?
Gentleness - God does not give us permission to drive a Sherman tank over
those with whom we disagree, but rather to show kindness and respect toward all.
Ready to teach - I don't have to agree with someone to be gentle. In fact, I am
called to speak the truth--in love. I can instruct those who are opposing
themselves by pointing out God's ways. Patience - We are a people who want
immediate results. We grow frustrated when we don't see them. Then we intrude
into territory that belongs strictly to God--changing men's hearts. What we need
to do is wait on God's timing. When a friend of mine, a new Christian, was still
involved in activities that did not honor the Lord, how I wanted to lecture and
place conditions upon him. But I knew he was growing in his relationship with
the Lord, and the Lord could deal with it. One day, my friend told me that there
were some things that he was going to withdraw from because he was convicted
they did not please the Lord. This was God's work and God's time. Meekness - We
have a right to be respected. We have a right to have our good name
un-slandered. But when we serve the Lord, we will have many opportunities to
exercise the grace of forbearance--to step back when we are being trampled--to
surrender our rights to God. When Abraham stepped back and gave Lot the first
pick of the land, his nephew took the prime territory. But then God took Abraham
aside, and God gave him everything--as far as he could see, and beyond. "The
meek shall inherit the earth."
These are the tools God uses to change men's hearts and to recover them out
of the devil's trap.
Consequences of Sin
There is a story of a king who made a law that if anyone were guilty of a
certain crime, he would forfeit two eyes. The first one discovered guilty of the
crime was the king's only son. When it came time for the sentence to be
executed, one of the young man's eyes was put out; but before the second eye was
destroyed, the king cried out, "Stop!" He stepped down from his throne and said,
"Take the eye from me." Do you think that the sacrificial love shown by this
father would encourage the son to continue to offend? NO! If ever he were
tempted, a look at the father's disfigured face would persuade him otherwise.
Look at your Lord, dear Christian! "What are these wounds in your hands and
feet? What are these scars upon your brow, your back, and in your side?" Hear
Him answer, "These are the wounds caused by your sin."
The consequences of sin are dreadful in their effect upon both ourselves and
others. We lose the sweetness of fellowship with God. The comfort of His
presence is diminished. The joy of salvation is lost. Our family, friends,
church, and society are affected. Those who despise the gospel are given
opportunity to speak against God. All of these considerations should serve as
deterrents against continuing in sin.
But the effect of sin we must always keep before us is the effect upon our
Divine Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ. Is not this itself a deterrent to sin
in the life of every thoughtful Christian? If it does not affect you, where is
your conscience, man?
Next time we are tempted, let us recall the open wounds of Jesus; His plea,
"Father, forgive them..."; His agony, "I thirst"; and His torment, "My God, my
God, why have you forsaken me?"
With forbidden pleasures would this vain world charm, Or its sordid treasures
spread to work me harm, Bring to my remembrance sad Gethsemane, Or in darker
semblance, cross-crowned Calvary.
To Treat A Sinner
He was notorious for his wickednes--an abandoned profligate creature--one of
the worst sinners. The people had a right to complain. Their grumbling was not
so much about the "Ogre," as they had dubbed him. No, they were murmuring about
another...another who had moments before been the hero of this crowd. They had
been having such a fine time, too, on their way to a wonderful holiday
celebration. "This can't be a holy man," they complained. "Has he lost all sense
of decency?" It is true; their hero had shocked their sensibilities.
You see, this venerated man had actually invited himself to be the guest of
the Ogre. Everybody knew what kind of a man this sinner was. He had cheated,
extorted and oppressed every family in their village. He had reduced some of
them to poverty, and he had amassed vast riches to himself. How could the
people's hero escape the charge of encouraging the worst and most despised kind
of sinners? After all, to take up lodging in such a one's home and to dine with
"scoundrels" was to partake of their evil deeds, wasn't it? Yet he ignored their
The crowd should not have been surprised, though. The hero had accepted
invitations to such banquets before. In fact, he was becoming well known as "the
buddy of the creeps and low-lives." When he ate at the table of one, a whole
herd of them came over to join in. How disgusting!
But the hero was indeed holy. He was on a mission. He had come to seek Ogres.
He had come to meet them where they were and to be their friend, and to deliver
them from their bondage. The love of the Master for the sinner captured the
Ogre's heart--and changed him--really transformed him, forever. AMEN.