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)                                                                                                                                                                                           

Do You Understand What You Are Reading?

First published in the weekly bulletin at the church of Christ at Elkins on 11/2/2014


            If anything is true about the Bible, it is that God intends for us to understand it. Jesus said, "But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it . . ." (Matt. 13:23). Paul prayed that the Lord would give Timothy understanding in all things (II Tim. 2:7).  It is a reflection on God's wisdom to assert that He gave us a book designed to lead us to salvation which cannot be sensibly understood.

            However, several nagging hindrances may be identified which can keep us from understanding the scriptures. Sometimes there is a deliberate determination not to understand. Jesus, speaking of certain ones said, "The heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes, hear with their ears and should understand with their heart (Matt. 13:15). It is a simple axiom of life, "If  you won't, you don't."

            An insincere motive will keep us from understanding. To use the Bible for personal and selfish reasons to prove ourselves right and others wrong is to short-circuit our understanding of its teaching.  The apostle Peter writes of those who would twist the scriptures to their own destruction (II Peter 3:16).  Almost anything can be "proved" by the Bible when it is read with a destructive and insincere attitude.

            Some read casually or carelessly and make little effort to comprehend the will of God in scripture. They have read the Bible all their lives and still do not understand its basic teaching.  Paul writes of those who, "Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (II Tim. 3:7).

            Jesus declared, "If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine . . . (John 7:17).

            To read the Bible is important, but to understand what we read is more important. The Ethiopian Eunuch is portrayed as an honorable man, worshipper of God, one who had traveled far to worship and was interested enough in things divine to read the scriptures as he traveled.  In view of dangers of misunderstanding and hindrances we ought to give diligence, take heed, and our prayer should be, "Open thou mine eyes that I may understand the word of God."

                                                                        -----  Earl Sutton