There are also trials that are the consequence for sin. Chuck Swindoll says it so well: “We teach our children 1 John 1:9, ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,’ which may tempt them to coast on grace.” He goes on to say that “if we teach them 1 John 1:9, we must also teach them Galatians 6:8, ‘The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction.’”
Some of our trouble is a direct consequence of willful sin in our lives. Sin always brings consequences. Nobody is exempt. No one is clever enough, no one is subtle enough, no one is intelligent enough to sin and not bear its consequences. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). In the Old Testament we read, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Prov. 14:12). Sin always brings despair and trouble. Even long after we are forgiven, the consequences may remain. Some will not be removed until that final glorious day of redemption.
Paul, having murdered Christians, couldn’t shake the memories. In the first chapter of 1 Timothy he calls himself the worst of sinners. Yet he used that consequence as a springboard to worship and praise.
Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen (1 Tim. 1:13-17).
The troubling and sometimes lifelong consequences of sin ought to motivate and remind us of its awfulness so that we say, “God, this daily consequence reminds me of Your amazing grace to love, forgive, forget, and receive me.” It ought to be, as well, a protective shield to help us not to risk the path of sin again. And, significantly, it ought to make us take the focus of our hearts off this fleeting, fallen world and live for that grand and glorious day of redemption when all things will become new (Rev. 21:1-4).
First John 3:2 proclaims: “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” I love this verse. Take heart. The consequence soon will pass. When He comes and we meet Him face to face, it will all be new. Consequences, even in our tears and brokenness, can result in praise and glory and a deepening love for God and His appearing instead of a heart soured and angry with Him.