If you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways, the Lord will establish you as his holy people as he swore he would do. … But if you refuse to listen to the Lord your God and do not obey all the commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overwhelm you.[Deuteronomy 28:9,15 (NLT)]

UPSIDE DOWNWith John’s purchase of his sporty new car, I thought I was done writing about Lynn Johnston’s comic strip For Better or For Worse and temptation. I’d forgotten all about Ted, John’s friend, who suggested a “spicy dish” and some “after hours recreation.” Shocked, John had said, “Your wife wouldn’t put up with you messing around!” Ted smugly replied, “Oh she suspects…The trick is—never let them know for sure!!” Six weeks after appearing in that comic, Ted reappeared in another one. When Ted grumpily refused a ride in John’s new car, John wondered if he’d gotten out of the wrong side of the bed. No longer smug, Ted dejectedly responded, “Doesn’t matter what side of the bed I get out on anymore…My wife left me.” I didn’t see that coming and, apparently, neither did Ted!

When we yield to sin’s temptation, there are consequences, apparently something Ted learned a little too late. Then again, mankind has had trouble with that one since the beginning of time. God clearly told Adam and Eve what would happen if they ate that apple yet they did it anyway. Time and time again, the Israelites were warned in detail of the consequences of unfaithfulness to God and yet the Old Testament is a chronicle of their disobedience and the punishing consequences they endured. We want what we want but don’t expect we’ll have to pay for it. When God tells us we’ll reap what we sow, He’s not being cruel—He’s just being honest! When we suffer consequences, He’s being true to His word! Face it—when we sin, life gets difficult.

Ted cheated on his spouse and lost his marriage but what if Ted sees the light and becomes a born-again Christian? If he repents his sins, God will forgive him. Forgiveness, however, doesn’t mean God will bail him out of the consequences of his actions. The adulterer, even when born again, won’t necessarily get his wife and family back any more than the born-again criminal gets released from prison wthout serving his sentence. While coming to Christ erases the eternal consequences of our sins, we still have to deal with their earthly consequences. Fortunately, we don’t have to do it alone—God is with us. Nevertheless, we still have to expect and accept the consequences of our actions!

Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences. [Robert Louis Stevenson]

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. [Galatians 6:7-9 (NLT)]

Whoever sows sin reaps weeds. [Proverbs 22:8a (NLT)]

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