For some reason we think that to be forgiven means consequences are removed. But such is not the case. Forgiveness does NOT mean that the consequences of sin are not carried out. The fact that we believe they should be avoided shows how little we understand of the seriousness of sin. Most people want to be forgiven… and then left alone and not face up to the results of what they have done.
Thus the purpose of this post… to take a look into Scripture regarding sin, consequences, and restoration.
Forgiveness by God and/or men doesn’t remove sin’s consequences. David committed adultery with Bathsheba then, when he realized a baby had been conceived, he committed murder by having her husband killed (See 2 Samuel 12:1-14).
When Nathan confronted David, he confessed his sin. Nathan told him he was forgiven… HOWEVER… the consequences of his sin would remain in place because David had given the enemies of the Lord a reason to defame His holy name (12:14a). The consequences of David’s sin were…
1) For the rest of his life Daivd would be at war… he’d never know peace… he’d always be having to fight (12:10). 2) Members of his own family would rise up and rebel against him (12:11a… Absalom in 2 Sam 15). 3) David’s wives would be taken from him and raped in broad daylight (12:11b). 4) The baby born to David and Bathsheba would die (12:14b… 2 Samuel 12:15-24).
This shows how serious God is about sin. It cannot just be forgiven… it has to be paid for… there are consequences. What the Christian should realize is that sin’s consequences are NOT eternal, but they ARE temporal. Thus the importances of Hebrews 12:4-11 and 1 Corinthians 11:31. God’s discipline for sin brings about a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been traind by it.
Aside: Restoration after sin does NOT mean a return to a former place of responsibility or visibility. Restoration after egregous sin means inclusion in the fellowship of believers.
There was another time in David’s life where he sinned horribly… was forgiven… and serious consequences were kept in place. This is found in 1 Chronicles 21:1-19. David, contrary to the Lord’s command, took a census of Israel. This was sin because it caused David to rely upon the size and strength of his army rather than The Lord. As a result of his sin, God gave David three options of what discipline would be for his disobedience. Gad gave him the Lord’s options which were…
1) Three years of famine (21:11a), 2) Three months of being defeated by his enemies (21:11b), 3) Three days of plague ravishing all of Israel (21:11c).
David decided to place himself in God’s hand of mercy (21:13). The result was that God sent an angel and 70,000 people died (21:14). Then as the angel was about to strike Jerusalem, David and the elders cried out for mercy (21:16). The angel then directed David to build an altar on a parcel of Araunah the Jebusite’s land. Araunah offered to give David the land to which David gave the famous reply (21:24)… “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”
Again we see that there is a price to be paid for sin that has nothing to do with forgiveness. Again we see how serious God is about sin… specially in the lives of His children. Again we see that part of forgiveness are the consequences that follow. And again we see that in the midst of discipline we have a God who is merciful (See below).
Honestly… this has not been a fun post for me to write! I don’t like hearing these things any more than those who might read this post. But it is better to read, know, and learn these things SO AS TO avoid them than not be aware and suffer.
My prayer is that we will see in these passages God’s grace and mercy. WHAT?! Yes. It was after the baby died that David and Bathsheba had Solomon who was the wisest man who ever lived. Notice also that God relented of the punishment being brought by the angel and accepted the sacrifice David made. THIS is a God of justice AND mercy. This is the kind of God I can… and do… worship!
It is to our benefit to realize how serious God is about sin and it’s consequences. It is to our benefit to hate sin and flee from it to God’s glory and for our benefit. It is to our benefit to live holy lives unto God’s glory.