When we do wrong (knowingly or unknowingly) or get ourselves in messy situations are there consequences? If so, how do we explain grace for it is written where sin abounds grace abounds and where sin is more grace abounds much more?
Can someone draw the line between ‘Consequences for sins done’ and ‘Grace when someone is in sin’?
What exactly is the work of grace? To avoid/ escape consequences?
I need clarity on this matter.
Grace isn’t the absence of consequences. There are still consequences for sin (if one were to have sex before marriage, a consequence might be an unplanned child). Grace is God saying, “I have not counted your sins against you, because my Son took on the punishment you deserve. Your debt has been paid.” What Paul is referring to when he talks about grace abounding all the more, is that there is no sin a true follower of Christ can commit that grace cannot cover.
I think there is a difference that has to be pointed out. The grace of God is regarding the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus for example in Mathew 2:9 said “All your sins are forgiven”. Now, this means that through his sacrifice in the cross we do not have to pay for our sins and we are not condemned as Paul teaches in the letter to Romans If we ask for forgiveness. Now, consequence is a different matter. God forgives our sin but he lets consequences go on. I think there is not a line here, for example if you’ve been drinking alcohol for 10 years and getting drunk, God will forgive you. But he the natural consequences might be that we will have liber problems in the future. I think there is no line here, things just will happen because of our actions.
Hi, @Kamau-Gicheru. This is really a great question that I have heard people grapple with quite frequently, so thank you for bringing this to the table!
I love what @ashtonbrewer94 and @juansebravo95 had to say. Ashton is correct to say that grace is not the absence of consequences, and Juan added another point that grace means no condemnation.
I think many people equate consequences with punishment. Though punishment can be a consequence, consequence does not always equal punishment. In fact, the way God uses consequences is an act of grace and love. God allows consequences and hardship to discipline. Check out this comforting passage on God’s discipline from Hebrews 12:4-11 (New International Version):
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as a son.’ Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined-and everyone undergoes discipline-then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. It is true many people equate consequence to punishment, I being one of them.
So, consequence means results or effects of our actions while we receive grace because Jesus took upon Himself the punishment of our sins.
I am still wrestling with the thought that Jesus was punished for our sins but we still face consequences, why is that the case?
From the verses you have quoted, it implies that our consequences are meant to discipline us.
Am also, reminded of what Ravi said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. –”
Hey, @Kamau-Gicheru, yes consequences can mean results or effects of our actions, and yes, consequences can take the form of discipline or punishment, and that can be either active or passive. In other words, God can allow (passive) the difficulty that naturally comes from our consequences in order to use it to discipline us, or He can bring something to pass (active) as a consequence of our actions for the purpose of discipline.
So let me explain a little more about discipline and punishment. Discipline is probably the word I should have compared to punishment, because discipline and punishment are types of consequences. Punishment has more of a negative connotation (nuance or variance in meaning) and a different goal than discipline. Punishment has the goal of giving someone what is deserved by their actions. It is condemnation and does not usually have restoration, rehabilitation, or reconciliation in mind as a goal. It is typically an end in itself and not a means to an end. This is what Jesus took on for us.
On the other hand, discipline has a positive connotation and a different goal. Discipline is not an end in itself but a means to an end. Discipline is a consequence used to restore, rehabilitate, and train. The consequence of discipline is an act of love and grace, whereas the consequence of punishment is basically an act of wrath. Punishment would have condemned us in our fallen state, as we justly deserved, but because of God’s grace, mercy, and love, He chose to take that on Himself, and discipline us by giving consequences in order to take us through the process of restoration and rehabilitation from our fallen state.
Yes, this was really good to bring up here, because this is why God disciplines us. Jesus took our punishment (what we deserved), but the Father chooses to rehabilitate and restore us using consequences so that we can be freed from our sin.
When Jesus died for us, he took on what we deserved for our sin. When Jesus rose, we were justified before God with Jesus’ righteousness. In the moment we accept Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, we are free from God’s wrath and punishment for our sins. However, we still have a flesh nature that we have not been completely freed from that is harmful to us. So begins the process of sanctification. God loves us too much to allow us to live in the sinful state in which our fleshly nature would keep us, and so He uses the the discipline of consequences to rehabilitate us.
It’s like if my toddler ran towards the busy road. If I tell him no, and he continues to try to do it, I need to give him a consequence, not to punish or condemn him, but in order to train him not to do that for the purpose of protecting him from harm.
My understanding is there is consequence for our choices. If we make bad choices in God’s sight, He is going to displine us with the consequences we are not happy with because He loves us. However, God is not forsaking or abandoning us because of our sins. When we realize how sinful our choices are, we repent in Him and He forgives us. Then we move on without being burdened by that strong sense of sins. His grace sets us free from our sins and the wrongdoing. Both His displine and grace are for our own good–we enjoy a life that glirifies Hos name!
And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”(Hebrews 12:5-6 NIV)
Hi, @Kamau-Gicheru. This is an important and frequently asked question lately. While we read in the Bible that sickness, natural disasters, and aggression from other nations are sometimes used by God as consequences for sin for the purpose of discipline and turning people back to Him, they aren’t always. So I think it is important not to make a strong statement either way. None of us are prophets in the Old Testament sense so that we get a word directly from God absolutely assuring us that what is happening (Covid-19, for example) is a consequence for our sins. I would be wary of someone preaching that this or that has come about because of our sin. No one can really claim to know absolutely, however strong his/her opinion may be.
That being said, however, a good question to ask is, “What is God trying to say to us in all this?” Often times, whether something like this is a consequence for sin or not, God will use crises to get our attention about sin in our lives or the need to refocus our lives on Him. Using time during a crisis to talk to Him about it in prayer and read His Word helps us to focus in the fact that none of what is going on now has the final say. All of this is temporary, and focusing more sharply on God and what He has done for us in Christ’s death and resurrection helps us to view our circumstances through the lens of eternity. We can be assured that whether or not Covid-19 is a consequence for sin, we have an eternal home awaiting us in the heavenly realm–one free from disease, natural disasters, and death because of His great love, care, and mercy for us.