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)                                                                                                                                                                                           

Can a Divorced Man Preach? - Earl Sutton

Originally published in the weekly bulletin of the church of Christ at Elkins on June 29, 2014 

 We are studying the Book of Malachi at Elkins on Wednesday evenings, and in Chapter 2, verse 16, God told Israel through the Prophet, “I hate putting away.”  This clearly means that God hated divorce in the Old Testament times and still does to this day! Our society has a shameful acceptance of divorce to the extent of threatening the holy institution of marriage itself!

      Our society is rapidly drifting into a state of godlessness from which there might never be any complete return. Our society doesn’t realize that any time there is a divorce, there is sin; because God intended that two people be bound to each other as long as both live (Rom. 7:1-4). God’s law concerning marriage and divorce has been the same from the beginning, one husband and one wife living together until death!

       But God does allow for divorce (Matt. 19:6-9), and the innocent party is free to marry again! Jesus clarified the marriage law in this passage and gave only one reason for a divorce which is fornication – Porneia (every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse). It is the same with God as though that one who destroyed the marriage bond had died! The survivor is then free to marry again.

      My friends, no one would have a problem with a preacher whose wife had died if he marries again and continues to preach!  Then why should we have a problem if his wife has been unfaithful and has forsaken the marriage bond, and the preacher divorces her for unfaithfulness and marries another?  In the sight of God, according to divorce, he has the same right to remarry! If he has the right to remarry, he has the same right to continue to preach the gospel!

      Marriage is a permanent arrangement intended to last throughout life and may be broken only by two things: (1) death (Rom. 7:1) and (2) fornication (Matt. 19:9) (engage in sex with another person outside of marriage) and in the eyes of God there is no difference!

      Some in our brotherhood use an erroneous definition of fornication (Porneia) to say it does not mean sexual intercourse but only covenant breaking of vows. The Greek term rendered “immorality” or “fornication” refers to every kind of sexual intercourse outside of marriage! The term “adultery” (Moicheia) is a more specific term and refers to intercourse where at least one of the married persons is involved with someone else!

      Also some in our brotherhood take the erroneous position that a preacher cannot remarry even if his wife has been unfaithful, because there is only one reason by which a marriage vow is broken and that is death! They fail to understand that “fornication” is death in the eyes of God!

      Anyone who would add to this or take from it, does so at the expense of their eternal soul! (Deut. 4:2) (Prov. 30:6) (Rev. 22:18)