I once wondered as to how long the consequence of our sins stays with us… Shall such distressing problems be with us, after we have sincerely repented? Shall God immediately and totally remove these consequences from us, after we have truly realized the foolishness of our ways? Will we always have painful and sobering reminders of our sins to humble us and bring us always at the foot of the cross?
I would have to say that there are really times that the Lord shall restore to us the fortunes of our lives as they were, like in the book of Job. In fact, the Lord did not simply bring back the fortunes of Job back to him, but even increased it. God did not simply restore, but He blessed even further. The Lord can make all things new, as He does with a believer’s heart and life. He has given us a new heart, a new way of thinking and feeling for Him, for His name. But it does not mean that the consequences of our sins shall be removed immediately, sometimes not at all.
Even when we go back to the book of Job, though the Lord might have restored to Job his fortunes, it does not deny the fact that the children of Job still died. It does not erase the fact that the livestock remained stolen and his servants remained very much dead. God did not resurrect them from the dead. The reality and the pain of their deaths remains. In the same way, many consequences of the sins we have committed, the mistakes we have made, the worldly wisdom we have chosen to follow, shall remain with us.
When Pharaoh chose to be hard hearted towards Moses, in freeing Israel, Scripture presents his great lack of the fear of God, throughout the ages. When Demas chose to turn away from Christ and go back to the world, the Bible forever records his backsliding. When preachers of God’s Word today fall into all sorts of things as their congregation does, it is forever etched in the memories of God’s people. The stain of sin, and the resulting consequence, just like the stain on our clothes remains. The infamy of many, many names through church history is because of sin—consequence of their sins.
Does this mean that the Lord has not forgiven us? Do we see God as unfair because He has not changed the circumstances in which we belong to? Certainly not. If we are in Christ then truly and surely we have been forgiven in Christ. And surely God is not unfair by allowing such distressing circumstances to abide with us. For, just as disobedient children are wounded when they fall down, or hurt themselves, because they have ignored the warnings of their parents, the wounds remain with us. In fact there are scars on our bodies to prove that we have disobeyed wise counsel. God is not unfair. We need to realize that sin, whether people know it publicly or not, shall always come in a package. Package? Yes, package. The package of temptation, satisfaction (whatever sin that might be), rebellion and God’s retribution on our sins. Sin will always come with its own prison. Ready to remind us that we have offended God.
Is God unfair, if He has not changed a particular situation in our lives? Certainly not. For it says in His Word…
Ps 103:10–He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
If God truly dealt with us according to our sins, then hell would have been the appropriate treatment, apart from Christ. Being fair, is something that God cannot do. It is simply inconsistent with His justice and holiness. If God were being fair to His name, we need to realize that we deserve more consequences. If God were fair, the Lord would surely not have sent Christ at all. To which, we have hope in His name.
Perhaps the reason why we struggle with consequences is because we think we deserve better as sinners. But on what basis do we deserve better? Because of our works for the Lord? To which we simply cannot do anything by His grace. We deserve better because we…what? What shall the end of that question be? Surely there is nothing in us that can make us brave enough to say that God should not treat us, or allow the consequences of our sins to remain. THE WHOLE OF THE HUMAN RACE WAS BORN IRREPARABLY RUINED WITH REGARDS TO RIGHTEOUSNESS. There is nothing to boast about.
So what do we do?
Let us first be thankful that the Lord has not dealt with us as He ought to. Second, let us continually ask His help to yield to His sovereignty in allowing the consequences to remain. Our sinful natures constantly need to be yielded to God’s ways. Without the grace of God, it is impossible to humble ourselves before God. Third, ask Him for wisdom as to what to do, and how to follow Him in worship in all that He allows to happen. I say worship, because external obedience or compliance is not the object of salvation. Worship is! The Pharisees obeyed in so many things and laws, and yet their hearts were absolutely nowhere near the cross of Jesus Christ. Then lastly, for now, let us ask the Lord to search our hearts, as to why we committed the sin that brought about the consequences.
From my end, such things are never easy but the Lord did say in Phil. 4:13—
I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM WHO STRENGTHENS ME.
May the Lord help us in all that He allows to happen, and may we find ourselves humbly worshipping at His feet.