THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES FOR OUR ACTIONS! by Earl Sutton

 

In 1996 a grain ship, “Bright Field,” was heading down the Mississippi River near New Orleans, when it lost control, veered toward the shore and crashed into a riverside shopping mall. The impact demolished parts of the wharf and injured 116 people. According to the Coast Guard investigation, the ship’s owner and crew had failed to repair long-standing engine problems. This is a clear example of not doing what you should do and receiving the consequences of bad decisions.

            The Devil deceived Eve into thinking that there would be no consequences for eating the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:1-7). God said, “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, ye shall not eat of it lest ye die” (v.3) The Devil said, “Ye shall not surely die.” (v.4) Eve dilly-dallied with the temptation and contemplated the possibilities that the Devil had suggested and threw away all restrain and ate the fruit!  Why?  The Devil deceived her into thinking that there would be no consequences for sin.

            The Devil continues to lie to us today and tells our society that a little sin won’t hurt, a little indulgence is not a problem, a little transgression will never hurt anybody! The Devil tells us that we are only human and go ahead and enjoy sin. The Bible says, “The way of the transgressor is hard.” ( Prov. 13:15)

            Our society believes that it can live in disobedience to God’s will by practicing homosexuality and never suffer the consequences. The scriptures teach that there will be consequences for our actions. “Be not deceived: God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth unto his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption: but he that soweth unto the spirit shall of the spirit reap eternal life.” (Gal. 6:7-8) This basic principle applies to the physical world and spiritual realm as well. The word, “mocked” is a Greek word (mukterizete:) which means to turn one’s nose up at God. The point is that if a person sows to the flesh (homosexuality and sinful living) and turns up his nose at God, he shall go the way of all flesh, -- die and face the judgment of God where there will be consequences. (reap destruction – Gal. 6:8)

The scriptures emphasize the consequences of sin in other verses. Ezekiel said, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ez. 18:4) Paul said, “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23)  Over and over, again and again, the Bible under all circumstances, emphasizes that we reap what we sow and that sin is always followed by consequences.

            There is rebellion in the hearts and in the behavior of many people in our society today. In view of the fact that sin will always have consequences, what can we predict for the future? According to the basic law of sowing and reaping, the answer can best be given in the words of the prophet Hosea, “They sow the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind.” (Hos. 8:7) There is one time of sowing (while alive), and there will be two times of reaping. We reap in this life and also reap beyond this life in the hereafter. Sin brings forth its consequences both here and hereafter.

            People may do things without realizing the consequences of their actions, but one day there is going to be an accounting! (Rev. 21:8)                                                                                                                                                                                           

INDWELLING OF HOLY SPIRIT by Earl Sutton

 

That the Holy Spirit dwells in Christians is an undeniable fact. “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Paul is saying that the Spirit of God is the Holy Spirit and when one becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit is given to dwell in him (Acts 5:32; I John 3:24). The Holy Spirit to dwell in Christians is a proof of being a Christian.

          The fact of the Holy Spirit is proven beyond a doubt, but the method of indwelling is two different things entirely. The Spirit either dwells in Christians directly, or else He does so indirectly. There is no middle ground. It cannot be both ways at the same time.

          It is my firm conviction that the method is indirect. He indwells through the truth and the means is the Word of God. When the Holy Spirit works directly, the results must be considered a miracle. This would have far-reaching consequences, some of which very few would be willing to accept. For if the Holy Spirit dwells in us miraculously, the period of miracles has not passed; and this conflicts with other scriptures which teach that miracles have passed.

          If the Spirit works directly on the human mind to influence, direct, guide, impress, nudge, then a miracle is performed. If we concede that the scriptures teach that miracles were wrought only to establish the Christian system, then ceased, then we must also concede that the Holy Spirit dwells in Christians now indirectly.

          Many good brethren believe that the Spirit indwells personally, but that He works in them only through the means of the written word. This is an impossible position to defend and is a compromise between error and truth. This compromise opens the door to all kind of Pentecostal practices. The bottom line is we cannot choose the direct method and expect to reap the consequences of the indirect, because the consequences of each method goes with the method.

          The Christian’s awareness of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is not based on his/her “feelings” or by any physical manifestations. A child of God knows that the Holy Spirit dwells in him/her just as we know that Christ dwells in us by faith! Paul said, “that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3:14). The same apostle declared that faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). In Ephesians 5:18, Paul exhorts, “Be filled with the Spirit” and tells us how in Colossians 3:16. “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” To be filled with the Spirit; therefore, is to have the Word of Christ richly dwelling in a Christian!

          One of the great difficulties in understanding the fact that the Holy Spirit is a person who dwells in the child of God, is the fact that so many people don’t recognize Him as an influence, a power, or an ideology. Any theory of the direct operation of the Holy Spirit, through miraculous intervention, separate and apart from the Word of God, would nullify the scheme of redemption that is taught in the New Testament. Paul said, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us” (Rom. 5:5).

          When the Holy Spirit, as God’s gift, reigns on the throne of a Christian’s heart, the deeds of the body will be none other than the fruits of the Spirit which are good, because the Spirit does not dwell where sin dwells! The Bible says Christ dwells in our hearts by faith (Eph. 3:17). God dwells in our hearts by faith (II Cor. 6:16).

          The indwelling of God and Christ is not literal or direct but by the medium of the Word --  the same way that the Holy Spirit indwells!