Is it sin or the consequences that I hate
John Piper once said “People that come into my office weeping are generally weeping because of the consequences of sin not because of sin. Very few people today are weeping because of their deep offense of the living God by the attitudes that they have and the unbelief that they have.”
Man oh man, did that one hit home. Why? Because that is so me. If it is not you might be dead in your sins, Ephesians 2:2-3, or perhaps you simply do not have the understanding why that quote is so profound. It is important to discern which it is.
Imagine if you will that a man named Phil is married to your sister. They are married for 10+ years. Yet for the last 5 years Phil has been cheating on her. She discovers it and leaves. Phil is now broken over that fact that he has lost his wife. But the real motivation over his brokenness is the fact that he now has to cook his own meals, do his own laundry, pay alimony and child support, face all of her family and friends. You get the point. This would be so offensive to you, your sister, your family, your friends, pretty much everyone you know. Now exactly why would you be so upset? Of course the reason is that he did not really care about his relationship with his wife. He cared about the benefits that came with the relationship. The consequences of his sin he is sad over but only because it brought discomfort and perhaps some sense of guilt. If he was truly broken over the split he would immediately try to reconcile.
Now back to the quote. We do the very thing that Phil did in our fictional story everyday hundreds of times when we sin against God, and yet we are rarely broken up over the sin itself. More often than not we need to experience the consequences of our actions before we come to genuine repentance. The repentance, like in our story, is motivated by pain and discomfort rather than an overwhelming sense of how greatly we offend the Holy God when we sin against His Law.
God talks about this spiritual adultery many times in Scripture. Jeremiah 5:7-10 “How can I pardon you? Your children have forsaken me and have sworn by those who are no gods. When I fed them to the full, they committed adultery and trooped to the houses of whores. They were well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for his neighbor's wife. Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the Lord; and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this?” Ezekiel 16:38 “And I will judge you as women who commit adultery and shed blood are judged, and bring upon you the blood of wrath and jealousy.” God is just as serious today as He was 3,000 years ago in regards to His Holy Name and demands that it not be profaned by peoples’ sin.
God saved believers from their sins so that His Name would be glorified. Romans 1:5 “Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations.” Isaiah 49:8-11 “For my name's sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my namebe profaned? My glory I will not give to another.”
So are you enthralled with God? I mean so in love with Him that the thought of sinning against Him troubles you? Or are you one who is broken after the consequences come down upon you? The sad truth is that we are more often the latter. Yet the love that I have for Jesus is growing and I can honestly say that tonight I am more in love with Him than I was when I woke up this morning. So as I keep falling more in love with Him the more often I come to Him in genuine heartfelt repentance because “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10
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