Yes and no.
We don't suffer the eternal consequence of spiritual death (Romans 6:23).
But Scripture tells us three important things about earthly consequences:
1. Sin, by it's very nature, has consequences (Galatians 6:7-8).*
2. God uses consequences to punish and discipline Christians (Hebrews 12: 5-11).
3. Consequences are worse when we sin with a full understanding of what we're doing (Luke 12:47-48).
Scripture says those who truly love Jesus will obey His commands (John 14:23-24), repent when we fail (1 John 1:8-10) and make deliberate efforts to change (Philippians 2:12-13).
We may not be able to repair all the earthly damage we do when we ignore God's commands, but we can always restore our relationship with God. And we can find comfort in the fact that Jesus makes it possible to live sin-free and consequence-free in eternity. Hallelujah!
* See Harmless Sin
The life of King David is an excellent study in forgiveness. David committed serious sins even as a believer. What do these passages tell us:
The Prophet Nathan brings God's rebuke to David:
2 Samuel 12:7-14: Nathan said to David...Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’ 11 “This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’” 13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the LORD, the son born to you will die.”
The Psalm David wrote after Nathan's rebuke:
Psalm 51: 3-4, 10-12, 17: I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge ... 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me ... 17My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.
Note especially verse 5 in the following passage: 1 King 15:1-5: In the eighteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijah became king of Judah ... 3 He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been. 4Nevertheless, for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son to succeed him and by making Jerusalem strong. 5 For David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord’s commands all the days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.
I encourage you to work through the Bible study on your own before reading the insights.
Sometimes Christians falsely assume that God does not judge our sins because we are redeemed, but that's not true.
verse 9: When we violate God's commands, we are "despising God's Word" and "doing evil in God's eyes."
In Romans 6:1-2, Paul is shocked that some Christians have a casual attitude toward sin: "Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?"
Verses 10-12: This was David's earthly consequence--"the sword would never depart from his house." Read the story of David's life and you will see that Nathan's words came true.
Verses 13-14: This is what sets David apart--his immediate admission of guilt without excuse or justification. This restores his relationship with God, but does not remove his earthly consequences.
Psalm 51: 3-4, 10-12, 17:
David makes no excuses for his sins and admits he has offended God first and foremost. He has no resentment about his punishment, saying God is right to punish him. Then he asks for purity of heart and restoration of his relationship with the Lord.
1 King 15:1-5:
Because he sincerely repents, David restores his close walk with the Lord, and the Lord continues to honor him as a standard of godliness. When we acknowledge our sins, we can also restore our relationship with God....and nothing is more important.
copyright 2015, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted
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