To listen to Nancy’s answer recorded from Moody radio, click below.
When I hear a question like this, it makes me wince. The insinuation is that it is no big deal that Jesus died the most painful, gruesome death known to humans by being whipped and then hung from a cross and die for the purpose of forgiving us of our sin and opening up the possibility of having a loving and eternal relationship with Him. That kind of entitlement is not only a sin, but it shows that those who live by such a worldview do not know Jesus. No human could do what Christ did. Only Jesus could set us all free from the penalty of sin and give us the hope for eternal life.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
Even though we are free of the penalty of sin, there are natural consequences for sin. If you kill an innocent person, God will forgive you, and you are going to jail. If you steal and get caught, God forgives, but again the consequences for your sin will be on you and perhaps others. God determines consequences. Born-again Christians who sin by committing adultery may lose their families, careers, and friends, even after they confess and turn away from their sin. Coming to Christ does not erase the temporary effects of sin; but our salvation does guarantee that we will not face the eternal consequences of sin.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
The Christian response to sin’s consequences is to embrace God’s grace, go to people we have hurt, learn and turn from our sinful ways, accept God’s forgiveness, and accept the temporal consequences. Sin has brought havoc and continual pain and disorder to God’s creation.
“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:22,23).
We are born with a sinful nature that was passed down to all humans from Adam. Universal consequences are weeds, thorns in our gardens, natural disasters, illnesses, Covid, aging, and death resulting from man’s sin, not from God. There is no way of avoiding the effects of sin.
“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).
When we sin, confess, and turn from our sins, God is faithful to forgive us of our sins. God often allows some of the consequences to remain in our lives to remind us of the horribleness of sin, juxtaposed to the awesomeness of God’s amazing grace. In light of what God did for all of us, we best not take sin lightly. We need to accept God’s discipline, humble ourselves, and seek to love and obey God despite temptations that are always with us.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippines 4:11-13).
God is always love, truth, grace, and the one true God. Without God’s Holy Spirit working through us, there would be no hope or truth for us to embrace. God allows us to suffer consequences, not out of hate, but out of His desire for each of us to have an eternal, loving relationship with Him beyond human imagination. If God never disciplined His disobedient children, He would not be a good Father. If we were never held accountable or never suffered the consequences for our sin, we would never rightly appreciate God’s holiness, justice, and amazing grace.
“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name” (Hebrews 13:15).
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! (Psalm 115:1)
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation” (Isaiah 12:2).