Consequences

Consequences

And the Sovereignty of God

Isa 56:4-7 Sabbath… foreigner … house of prayer

Authored: Sr. Airport Chaplain: Pastor Tom Kartzmark -613 248 2019 – achapel@ottawa-airport.ca

Deut 28 is a great chapter and well worth the read. In 68 verses God articulates to the nation of Israel consequences of choice. The first fourteen verses is about the blessing of following after God, then the remaining fifty four verse cite explicit curses that will befall them as a nation should they not follow and observe His commandments wholeheartedly.

Choice – God gave them plainly defined choices that needed to be made.

Deut 30:11-20

11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

(from New International Version)

It must be understood that God gives His commands based on His creative design. God knows the best rules to experience the best life. Humanly we think we know how to get the best experience of living.[1] So it is not that God will get even if you don’t do what He tells us; do it my way or else. But God declares the consequence if we do the wrong thing for two reasons: 1. There is a natural scientific cause and effect that can have negative effects on your well-being; drink poison the label says Do not swallow and you die! 2. He will not withhold negative consequences for rebellion but even in some cases orchestrates severe consequences. He does this to send a message to the receiver and the human race to dramatically force people to understand the consequences.[2]

Love is almost impossible to ever fully define. The “I command you today to love the LORD your God” seems odd. Can YOU command your wife or your husband to love you? Can you command your children to love you as you apply discipline (as we say to them, “I’m doing this for your own good”)? If I may take a stab at an aspect of defining this command to love God with all our hearts:

Trust God for who He is, the creator, the author of life, the God whose character is beyond description in perfection and application; God who is love and all that that means. Part of what God means by commanding we love Him is to adore His perfection that is FOR us not against us. Oh, that our children would trust our love and motives as we distastefully apply discipline necessary for their ultimate good – that is why the scripture says:

Prov 13:24

24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

KJV

Heb 12:1-11

Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.

2 Keep your eyes on Jesus, our leader and instructor. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterwards; and now he sits in the place of honor by the throne of God.

3 If you want to keep from becoming fainthearted and weary, think about his patience as sinful men did such terrible things to him.

4 After all, you have never yet struggled against sin and temptation until you sweat great drops of blood.

5 And have you quite forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you, his child? He said, “My son, don’t be angry when the Lord punishes you. Don’t be discouraged when he has to show you where you are wrong.

6 For when he punishes you, it proves that he loves you. When he whips you, it proves you are really his child.” 7 Let God train you, for he is doing what any loving father does for his children. Whoever heard of a son who was never corrected?

8 If God doesn’t punish you when you need it, as other fathers punish their sons, then it means that you aren’t really God’s son at all-that you don’t really belong in his family.

9 Since we respect our fathers here on earth, though they punish us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to God’s training so that we can begin really to live?

10 Our earthly fathers trained us for a few brief years, doing the best for us that they knew how, but God’s correction is always right and for our best good, that we may share his holiness.

11 Being punished isn’t enjoyable while it is happening-it hurts! But afterwards we can see the result, a quiet growth in grace and character. TLB

Think of the kindest person you know – God is not like that. Think of the smartest man you know – God is beyond smart. Do you know someone who has a lovely personality – God is beyond that loveliness. Gentle, just, powerful, ungullible, and many more such qualities can be mentioned.

Our parents tell us, not to cross the road without looking both ways? You may run across the road often and get away with it and say in your heart, “My parents just annoy me with rules.” But then one day you get hit by a car, and are paralyzed for the rest of your life, then you would be angry with the stupid driver, or blaming others. Maybe being bitter at God for allowing this to happen, but God will tell you, “I gave you parents to care for you, why didn’t you listen?”

“I gave you sermons about life. I gave you a conscience to feel my presence. I gave you the whole universe to see My wisdom. I gave you My Son hanging, beaten, bleeding, dying on the cross to show you my love for your good and well being, but you thought you knew better than me and so are dying inside”

Theology is right when it says we are incapable of obeying the Law, the theological phrase being ‘total depravity’.

“Total moral depravity is an attribute of selfishness, in that sense that every selfish person is at all times just as wicked and blameworthy as with his present light he can be.” FINNEY

In other words every human being without regeneration is as selfish as circumstances and opportunity allows. Finney says elsewhere:

Should the sinner abstain from any course of vice because it is wicked, it cannot be because he is benevolent[godly], for this would contradict the supposition that he is selfish [self centered], or that he is a sinner. If [he concludes] in consideration that an act or course is wicked, [and] he abstains from it, it must be for a selfish reason. … it may be from fear of hell, or of disgrace, [to gain a sense of selfrightiousness], or from remorse; at all events, it cannot but be for some selfish reason.[3]

SO IT IS NOT THAT WE CANNOT CHOOSE TO DO RIGHT, OTHERWISE GOD WOULD NOT PUT THE QUESTION TO CHOOSE IN FRONT OF US – IT IS THAT WE DON’T WANT TO SUBMIT TO HIS WAY AND RULES WHEN IT CONFLICTS WITH OUR SELF GOALS!

For example, when we find a wallet with $2,000.00 in it, we would have absolutely no conflict of returning the money if we died to self-goals, in other words the flesh. We would, without hesitation, return the money forthwith; but there is a hesitation or emotional conflict, and if we do choose to return it all we have concluded it is in some way in our best interest.

We tend to worship self needs. Our desires are our doctrines of living; our emotional and physical gratification is our ultimate pursuit. We’re capable of obeying the speed limit by choosing to do so but we just don’t want to; it is not a matter of can’t, it is ‘I don’t want to’. And because we won’t, seeing as our hearts are set upon personal liberty in opposition to any authority, we cannot obey the good law of God from a pure motive because our hearts are for us not God.

Matt 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

It is here that Satan seduces mankind into rebelling against God’s authority.[4]

The lie man constantly believes is that freedom from any imposed authority results in happiness. [5]

That’s why we need grace in Christ through the cross and why we need God to miraculously change the dispositions of the heart – a heart of flesh for a heart of stone.

2 Cor 5:17

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

BUT WE STILL STRUGGLE IN THE POWER OF OUR NEW CREATION WITH THE OLD DEMANDS OF THE FLESH.

Gal 5:16-18 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want [easily]. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. (from New International Version)

NOW THE QUESTION IS HOW DOES GOD TEACH US CHILDREN TO WALK IN THE SPIRIT AND NOT GIVE IN TO THE FLESH’S OLD LIES?

WHICH BRINGS US TO THE TOPIC OF THIS MESSAGE –

CONSEQUENCES AND THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD.

God gives you and I reasons throughout our lives to question our choices and that is by the consequences we experience. The issue to be settled is trusting that what God says is true in opposition to where the flesh tells me happiness can be found.

“The subjects of His moral government are free to obey or disobey, and take the consequences. But foreseeing precisely in all cases how they would act, He has laid His plan accordingly, so as to bring out the contemplated and desired results. In all His plans He consulted none but Himself. But this leads me to say:

That God is and ought to be an absolute and a universal sovereign.

“But let it be remembered and forever understood, to the eternal joy and unspeakable consolation of all holy beings, that God’s sovereignty is nothing else than infinite love directed by infinite knowledge, in such a disposal of events as to secure the highest well-being of the universe; that, in the whole details of creation, providence and grace, there is not a solitary measure of His that is not infinitely wise and good.” [6]

Deut 5:29

29 Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!

“So too God restrains the natural corruption of men. He suffers sufficient outbreaks of sin to show what fearful havoc has been wrought by man’s apostasy from his Maker, but who can conceive the frightful lengths to which men would go were God to remove His curbing hand?”[7]

ARE YOU AFRAID OF GOD!

Prov 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way, And the perverse mouth I hate.

Prov 16:6 In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil.

Rom 3:18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

GOD IS SOVEREIGN. EVEN THOUGH WE MAY WONDER IF HE IS IN CONTROL HE IS. AND HOW IS HE SOVEREIGN? HE IS SOVEREIGN IN THAT HE CHOOSES THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR ACTIONS. WE ARE FREE TO MAKE ANY CHOICE, GOOD OR BAD, BUT WE HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL OVER THE CONSEQUENCES, WHICH IS WHAT IS SOVEREIGNLY IN HIS CONTROL!

God says to mankind and reminds Christians:

Gal 6:7-10

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Ezek 33:12-20

12″Therefore you, O son of man, say to the children of your people: ‘The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.’

13″When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die.

14Again, when I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right,

15if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die.

16None of his sins which he has committed shall be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right; he shall surely live.

17″Yet the children of your people say, ‘The way of the LORD is not fair.’ But it is their way which is not fair!

18When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die because of it.

19But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is lawful and right, he shall live because of it.

20Yet you say, ‘The way of the LORD is not fair.’ O house of Israel, I will judge every one of you according to his own ways.”

NKJV

Is it our humanly defined LOVE of God that is our safety from judgement? No, we are free from condemnation of sin to hell through Christ, but God’s impartiality has Him judge our sin, not ignore it as though He is partial to His children’s misbehaviour. It is not the love of God that is our safety but our righteous walk in the love of God (Jn 14:21 loves me keeps my commandments). God does not tolerate unrighteousness, whether by the ungodly or the disobedient Christian, and it requires just action by His hand. My love for God, or His love for me, does not exclude me from discipline for unrighteousness.

God even orchestrates consequences on the unsaved to convey the unfruitfulness of their ways.

A number of years ago it was reported in the newspaper that the man convicted in the mine blast in BC that killed several miners, and who insisted for years he was innocent of the act, finally confessed he did do it. He was reported as saying, “I could no longer live with the lie and I had to let it out.” He chose to uphold to the deception but he couldn’t deal with the inner pressure. There is more hope for this man than Howard Hughes; one of the many sad samples we can draw from.

Howard Hughes, a billionaire died a lonely death, paranoid of germs, fearful of loosing his money, distrusted everyone with a passion, who died alone, with long untrimmed fingernails, untrimmed hair and totally isolated. The consequences God imposed on him did him no good, he held to the lie that destroyed him, he refused to discard the false belief system he was living his life by. In spite of God’s imposed consequences he held to his selfish beliefs and self-centred goals to the very end and now they are with him for all eternity. It was the kindness of God to have him experience this consequence but he would not listen.

Prov 28:20 A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.

Eccl 5:12b But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.

It was in the Citizen about Tim Johnson who lost his career as Blue Jays manager in 1997 because of a lie. The Citizen wrote, “It takes decades to build a public life. It takes moments for it to all come crashing down”. Johnson was quoted as saying, “You beat yourself up because you worked your whole life to get where you are – and one stupid thing and then you’re done,” he says. “I made a mistake and I’m not afraid to say it.” The Citizen further reported ‘And no matter how many times he does, Tim Johnson can only watch the train wreck he created over and over. If only he could go back and tap himself on the shoulder, if only the tiny white lie hadn’t grown into 10 malignant, dark ones, if only, if only…’

Prov 28:13 He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. New International Version)

Prov 29:1 He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, Will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.[8]

Isa 3:11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, For the reward of his hands shall be given him.

God’s sovereignty.

Yet another industrialist who was in the very similar predicament as Hughes, while laying on his apparent death bed, re-evaluated his life in light of his miserly ways. In sorrow over his wasted life and greed caved in and repented and in response began giving money away to worthy causes. Lo and behold he began to recover from this certain death and became a beaming philanthropist for many years following. The consequences did him good. If God had not designed consequences to happen to wilful sinners, none of us would be saved. God’s spirit works through man’s conscience and Providential consequences to have us wrestle with our sin nature that deserves darkness for eternity.

Prov 11:25 The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.

Prov 22:9 He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor.

Eccl 5:12a The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, Whether he eats little or much

What of us Christians? Do we follow God merely to use His grace to help me cope in life? If so you may very well not be saved. Do we use God merely as fire insurance against our sinning?

First, it is to reveal our selfish designs – that of only serving God and living right with the expectation of receiving a comfortable self-life from God as a result.

When we use ‘clean hands’ as a formula for getting happiness we may be in for disappointment. Or we may feel that because we are saved God will be more tolerant of our sins – not so (Ezek 33:13; 2 Pet 2:20, 21).[9] God is not out to reward selfish motives (Jn 6:15, 26, 27). People must be purged of misguided reasons for faith.

The test of genuine devotion is asking this question:

Am I using God or trusting Him?

The user will fall away once tested –

“…this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away -Matt 13:20-21 (NAS).

Those of us who would ‘test’ God’s grace will be chastened for they cannot outsmart God (Prov 3:11-12; Heb 10:30-31).[10] As long as we do not repent, confess or submit to this process, God will have consequences increase until we break or die prematurely (1 Cor 11:29, 30); God is not in the business of only saving us, He is very set to mature us.

Time line to repentance.

What of unfair consequences we may experience? The world may give us trouble as it fights against our walk with God. My friends may backbite me and turn on me without a cause. We may have sorrow come our way because of the consequences of a broken world; such as a husband having an affair and destroying the ‘oneness’ of marriage. We come down with an illness due to infection or a virus. We may be harmed by assault or accident. We may be faced with many emotionally painfully unfair situations.

It is sometimes God’s choice to allow unmerited tribulation or general affliction to come into our lives (seemingly unfair). This affirms our faith by our maintaining integrity in spite of affliction – proving we don’t serve God for merely gaining comfort in this life. The righteous serves God from a heart of devotion. But there is a reward for those who endure, either here on earth, or when we pass from this life (2 Thess 1:4, 5). There is peace and reward when we choose integrity over tribulation (John 16:33[11]). Suffering is very real and quite trying at times, and the world may discredit our faith, but God seeks to give great reward to those who endure with devotion and trust in Him; faith believes: For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 2 Cor 4:17 (NAS)

There is nothing that happens without the Lord’s conscious knowledge sparrow drops to the ground… hairs on head, [12] and in the divine perspective He therefore is never taken by surprise or ignorant of the issues happening in our lives. SOME may wonder, Why Me? Why did I get sick and not someone else? What have I done that it would happen to me? Well, why not you, why should you and I be absolved from the rule of natural law and fallen human natures? We, by our union with fallen humanity in their experiences, sicknesses and tragedy, minister to them with Christ-empathy, we show the world in our affliction we have peace and hope. Jesus Himself became acquainted with their grief, took on, suffered and as a result the Divine is displayed through our relationship in the midst of trial. It is a means of growth in the image of Christ by God’s design; we either cooperate with a reward or we will learn the harder way.

JOB, the righteous man commended for his righteousness, had questioned the goodness of God’s Sovereign Power.

“Although Job acknowledges that God is wise and so mighty in strength (9:4-6; 12:13) that he is omnipotent (9:12 Job 23:13; 42:2), he seems to abuse his power in an arbitrary way (9:13-24; 12:14-25; cf. 30:18-20). The Almighty uses his power indiscriminately to mistreat innocent Job (6:4; 27:2) or to punish the wicked who deserve it (21:15,30; 27:10,11,15). Also Job portrays God as unjust Judge (9:22-24) who is cruel (30:21-22) and unfair to him (19:6-22) and to many innocent victims of social injustice (24:1-12). Job depicts the Lord as an angry God who punishes him harshly (9:13-24; 10:17; 16:9-14; 19:11-22). On the other hand, he perceives God as a hidden and invisible Judge (9:11,15; 23:7-9) who would listen fairly to his case if he could be found (23:3-7; cf. 13:3,15-24)”[13]

Job 23:13-15 “But He is unique, and who can make Him change?

And whatever His soul desires, that He does.

14 For He performs what is appointed for me,

And many such things are with Him.

15 Therefore I am terrified at His presence;

When I consider this, I am afraid of Him.

JOB DISCOVERED WITH GOD YOU CANNOT LOOSE! HE LEARNED GREATER JOY BECAUSE GOD HAD ARRANGED THE REWARD TO EXCEED HIS EXPERIENCE. HIS FAITH AND SPIRITUAL SIGHT NEEDED A CORRECTION (Job 42:1-6), AS A CONSEQUENCE HIS VERY LIFE AND SOUL NEED SHAKING.

James 5:11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord–that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

MOMENTARY AFFLICTIONS

Ps 73:12-16 Behold, these are the wicked; and always at ease, they have increased in wealth. Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure, and washed my hands in innocence; For I have been stricken all day long, and chastened every morning. …When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight (NAS)

Being a Believer in Christ can sometimes be hard, very hard. We tend to think that if we live a righteous and pure walk with God we should be absolved from many of the afflictions of regular people. The Psalmist as well as other people of the Bible bears witness to the opposite. Job lost everything including his health. Jeremiah complained bitterly about his lot as a result of his obedience to God (Lam 3:1-20). The person who does not believe in Jesus Christ is given reason to laugh at a Believer’s faith, thinking the poor soul is naive to believe in a good God and says: `Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him, and what would we gain if we entreat Him?‘ Job 21:15 (NAS). Two reasons, out of many, that Children of a powerful God suffer too.

Heb 10:35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

Heb 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

NKJV

PLEASE DO NOT BE CASUAL ABOUT OUR WALK WITH GOD, BE PASSIONATE ABOUT OUR SALVATION.


[1] Prov 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

[2] 1 Cor 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

[3] C.G. Finney; Systematic Theology; Attributes of Selfishness

[4] Rev 20:7-10 “Pride is seen to prompt this great angel to unholy ambition. With a beclouded mind, he easily repudiates the Creator and displays dissatisfaction with the estate into which he was divinely placed . He proposes by ambition and self promotion to advance his estate to the highest heaven and into the likeness of the Most High.” Lewis Sperry Chafer, vol II, pg 64.

[5] From 3 authority order

[6] (from Finney’sSystematic Theology, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1999 by Biblesoft)

[7] Arthur W. Pink; The Attributes of God; Baker House

[8] Oral Roberts in his refusal to admit and deal with his sin with prostitution, then subsequently not accepting the discipline meted out, therefore he has become nothing without remedy.

[9] Ezek 33:13 If I tell the righteous man that he will surely live, but then he trusts in his righteousness and does evil, none of the righteous things he has done will be remembered; he will die for the evil he has done.

(from New International Version) 2 Peter 2:20-21 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them

[10] Prov 3:11-12 My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor detest His correction;For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights. Heb 10:30-31 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

[11] John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

[12] Matt 10:29, 30 John 16:33

33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

NKJV

[13] Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Copyright 1996 by Baker Books. All rights reserved. Used by permission.