I have been reading through our church covenant as I mentioned last Sunday evening and I came across the statement that we engage to walk circumspectly.
____________, you’re a member of the church, are you walking circumspectly? I’ll admit, I had to look that one up to see exactly what it meant.
When we say we walk circumspectly we are saying that whatever we choose to do today, we are aware that there will be circumstances. Whatever we do today, we do with the knowledge that there will be future consequences.
I wonder if we truly walk circumspectly. Do we really go through life with it on our consciences that there will be future consequences to what we do now? I don’t think we always do because if we did, we would try harder not to sin. We would try harder to have the mind of Christ. We would ask ourselves more, “What would Jesus do?” before we did things, before we made decisions.
Sin is rebellion towards God. It comes in several forms: disobedience, accusation, ignoring God. Sin has many consequences. So often when people sin, they don’t realize how that sin impacts them and God. So, if we realized how sin impacted others, THEN we would be walking circumspectly. God wants us to know, before we leave here, what the consequences of our sin are.
So let’s get started. First, sin has an undesirable and even catastrophic effect upon the sinner. Sometimes the person who is sinning can feel the impact of their sin; sometimes the impact isn’t felt. Understand this, whether this impact is felt or
not, IT’S STILL A REALITY.
There are MENTAL CONSEQUENCES when we sin. When we sin, we affect our conscience. We call it feeling guilty. Have you ever felt guilty about something you said or did? People have actually killed themselves because they couldn’t stand the guilt that they felt.
Do you know that God didn’t give us a conscience so that we would feel guilty? He gave us a conscience so that we could and would recognize our problem and be driven to do something constructive in dealing with that problem. Without the remedy for Sin that God has given us, this guilt can, and does, pile up and overwhelm us. This guilt can produce all kinds of side effects like worry, fear, sadness, a sense of loss, a sense of not being in control of our own lives, despair, rejection, and much more.
Another consequence of sin is PHYSICAL CONSEQUENCES. We deal with
physical consequences all the time. Sin produces all kinds of diseases. Sexual sins produce sexually transmitted diseases.
Other sins cause people to spend time in prison. Some sins can cause brain damage (alcohol abuse). Some sins can bring about some immediate physical punishment, NOW! Smoking causes cancer. Smokeless tobacco causes cancer of the mouth, tongue, and throat. Eating too much, or gluttony, causes weight gain and that leads to a host of physical problems.
But I think the most serious of consequences that sin produces are SPIRITUAL CONSEQUENCES. Sin will separate us from God. It robs us of the eternal reward that God has purchased for us. Sin will bring spiritual death to any and all who refuse to change, who refuse to repent, and refuse to submit themselves in obedience to God and seek out the remedy that God has given us.
Let me enlighten you on something about sin and its consequences. Nobody will escape. God knows how to punish the wicked, and he knows how to reward the righteous. Which brings us to our Scripture passage. READ 2 Peter 2: 4-9.
Heb. 2:2-3 – “The message God delivered through angels has always proved true, and the people were punished for every violation of the law and every act of disobedience. What makes us think that we can escape if we are indifferent to this great salvation that was announced by the Lord Jesus himself?
Rev. 20:15 – “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” How much clearer can God be? Through one man (Adam), sin was brought about...and through the blood of one man (Jesus Christ), we have been justified and set free from the bondage of sin.
Now here is where people are wrong. There are many who might say, “There it is. You just said it. I might be a sinner, but Jesus Christ paid the price of that sin. So, I am cleared.” WRONG! You are only cleared of that sin once you admit it, and then personally accept the One who paid that price. You have to accept Jesus Christ to be forgiven. You have to accept Jesus Christ to get to heaven
YOUR SINS WILL AFFECT YOU IN TERRIBLE WAYS! You will be affected physically...and more importantly...you will be eternally condemned to a tormenting place...a place that is designed for the devil and the fallen angels who followed him. And if you refuse to get rid of your macho or macha pride and publicly announce that you have accepted Christ as your Savior, then you are no different that the fallen angels.
Do you think God likes it when people are condemned to hell? God takes no pleasure in seeing His people punished in hell.
Ezek. 33:11 - “Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’
God takes no pleasure in seeing the wicked punished, but understand this: ALL SINNERS WILL BE PUNISHED! And that includes everyone if they don’t turn to Jesus Christ and turn away from their sins and ask forgiveness. God’s word tells us very plainly that, “The wages of sin is death...” (Rom. 6:23). In other words, if you continue to sin, you deserve to die. Repeat verse.
BUT, turn away from that sin, and turn to Jesus Christ, and you will not only deserve to live forever, you WILL live forever. You will be rewarded with eternal life with Jesus Christ, both here on earth, and in heaven. Here we live by our faith in Jesus, in heaven we will literally see Jesus face-to-face.
Now let’s look at the 4th and most important consequence of sin even though the spiritual consequence is very important. The 4th consequence of our sins is that OUR sins have cost God. Our sins have caused the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
And now you say, “Wait a minute. Jesus died on the cross over 2000 years ago. I wasn’t there. You can’t blame me.” Let me ask you, do you think your sins are any different from the sins of the people in Jesus’ day? No! They’re the same sins. Jesus paid the price of ALL sin, sin past, sin present, and sin to come. And remember that Christ didn’t do this because He was forced to...but because He loved us so much and only wanted good for us.
You see, it was this same Christ who placed us in the Garden of Eden, originally. It was He who supplied every need of Adam and Eve. With all of this going for
mankind, the first man and woman introduced sin into this paradise and defied God. That is...they defied Jesus Christ. God still loved us and was willing to pay the full cost for getting us back.
And we need to know clearly...there was a cost...a consequence, if you will. Jesus Christ redeemed (bought us back) with His own blood. This was a consequence for our sins.
And the Bible says, “Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing. He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross.”(Phil. 2:5-8)
Since it won’t be long before Easter is upon us, let’s be reminded now of what our sins cost God. Our sins caused God to sacrifice greatly. The Father sacrificed His son. Our sins were responsible for the unmerciful beating of Jesus Christ. The soldiers spit on Christ. They did not simply spit in His direction. They spit, repeatedly, full in His face!
The cat-o-nine-tails was the name of the wicked whip devised to punish and torture Roman prisoners. The man who wielded this device was a member of the Roman army. He did nothing but whip prisoners. This man had a cruel heart. The only restriction on him was that he must not kill the prisoner. He could bring him to the
brink of death but he could not kill the prisoner.
The cat-o-nine-tails had nine leather strips that were about six feet long each. Each strip has sharp things imbedded in it. Bits of glass, bone, metal, and whatever else was at hand. Jesus is stripped naked and tied in a spread eagle fashion. The whip is dipped into saltwater. When it cuts open the flesh, it will cause more excruciating pain as the salt works into the muscles.
When the whip is pulled upon, it will unwrap from that body, but in the process, the bits of glass, metal, and bone will rip and tear large pieces of flesh and muscle from the body of Christ each time the whip is laid across His body. And Christ did that for you. Graphic, isn’t it?
You and I have caused this to happen with our sins. THERE WAS
ABSOLUTELY NO OTHER REASON FOR THIS TO HAPPEN TO CHRIST...BUT FOR THE FACT THAT WE SINNED AND THIS WAS
A CONSEQUENCE OF THOSE SINS!
Finally, at “Golgatha”, Christ is stripped stark naked...HE WAS STRIPPED NAKED AND PLACED IN PUBLIC SHAME AS A DIRECT RESULT OF OUR SINS. The artists who paint and sculpt this image had mercy and painted a loin cloth on Him. But in reality, he was stripped naked.
He was placed on his back on the cross and while soldiers held Him down, massive spikes were driven through His wrists and His feet. When He was finally fastened on the cross...the soldiers raised it up and DROPPED IT INTO THE HOLE
THAT WAS PREPARED FOR IT.
All of Christ’s weight was placed on those nails and the agony must have been excruciating. But, you see...it had to be. Our sins demanded this kind of agony and torture. On the cross, a little step was placed where the feet were. This was so that the person on the cross could push himself up. The reason that he would want to push himself up was because he would suffocate if he didn’t push himself up.
When the Romans had their fun with the crucifixion, they would break the condemned’s legs. This would insure their immediate death. Sometimes they would just let the condemned linger on the cross for days until total
exhaustion would insure that he would not be able to push
himself back up and would suffocate.
This was the form of torture that God deemed necessary to deal with the consequences of our sins. They didn’t break Christ’s legs because He died before it was necessary to do so. He died of a broken heart, for you and me. He died because of our sins. His side was pierced and His blood was shed for you and me.
You see, sin has consequences other than just disease, guilt, physical and spiritual death. Our sins have cost the life of our dearest friend. They have caused God to take on the form of a human being and to be put to a cruel death. He took upon Himself our guilt and shame. By his stripes we are healed. He was despised and rejected of men. He tasted the hell that we deserve; because of our sins.
Sin may have physical consequences that will follow you to the grave, but you can be free from the guilt of sin and of the eternal and spiritual consequences of sin.
I am so thankful that God has provided a remedy for sin. This remedy is the blood of Jesus Christ. And contacting this blood is necessary for the forgiveness of your sins. The way you contact that blood is by asking Jesus Christ to come into your life and be Lord of your life.
And that’s the message we need to share with those who are lost. They, too, need to know that there are consequences for their sin. I am pretty sure that most parents teach their children in one way or another that there are consequences for the wrongs that they do. Those who are not Christ’s, too, need to be taught to walk circumspectly, knowing that their continued act of sinning will reap consequences. Those consequences can or will be mental, physical, or spiritual.
They need to know that their sins will eventually affect them in terrible ways. They need to know that all sin will be punished. But more than all of that, they need to know that their sin cost God. Their sin is what caused God to sacrifice His own Son.
But God did all that to provide a way for us. A price had to be paid. Christ paid that price for us. And when we truly accept Christ, and live our lives according to His Word, only then are we walking circumspectly.
So, I ask again, are you walking circumspectly?