The Cost of Sin

Sin is a word you rarely hear outside of church these days. It has fallen out of proper vocabulary because of what the word “sin” implies. It implies a moral standard that you and I do not define. It implies black and white; right and wrong. Most of all it insists on future judgment.

But sin is as necessary to the message of the Bible as love and grace. Grace loses its meaning if not for sin.

We may seldom use the word, but sin is evident everywhere we look. Where we find sin, we often see its present costs. Homes broken by selfish parents. Relationships destroyed by gossip. People torn down by slander. Hatred. Greed. The incessant drive to justify ourselves before one another. There are typically present costs to our sin; whether it be in our level of happiness and satisfaction or in the consequences of our choosing to walk outside of God’s will for our lives.

Proverbs 7 warns of the present dangers that we face when we are led by our senses and desires down a path of sin. Hebrews 11:25 speaks of the “fleeting pleasures of sin.” If there were no pleasures to be found in sin, no one would do it. When I would go fishing as a boy, I often wondered how good the worm must taste until the hook bit in. Verses 16-23 speak of the allure and cost of sin.

Proverbs 7:16–23 (ESV) — 16 I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen; 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love. 19 For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; 20 he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home.” 21 With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. 22 All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast 23 till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.

One reason God warns us of sin is not to deprive us of pleasure but to protect us from pain. But there is another reason as well. God also warns us of the future cost of sin. When God showed His glory to Moses on Mount Sinai, He said of Himself:

Exodus 34:6–7 (ESV) — 6 …“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty…”

In declaring Himself to be merciful and gracious, patient, faithful, loving, and forgiving to sinners, He also says that He will not look the other way from our sin.

David knew sin all too well, but He also knew the heart of God, knowing Him to be merciful, gracious and forgiving to the repentant. Psalm 7 is a wonderful picture of a repentant man. David declares his dependance on God (v.1). He asks God to examine and judge his heart (v.3,8) He trusts in the protective hand of God over the upright (repentant) in heart (v.10) and in the righteousness of God as the judge of sin (v.11). Finally, as one who knows the blessing of repentance and obedience, he calls on all people to repent that they might not face the wrath of a just and holy judge.

Sin often has present consequences, but it will always have future consequences, because we will each stand before a righteous God. Let us repent and believe that we may enjoy the grace, mercy, faithfulness and love of God.