“How God uses the consequences of sin”
Psalms 38:1-11, “O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me. My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.’’
Psalms 38 is a Psalm about how God touches a person to repent of sin. Verses 1-11 describe for us the process by which this happens. Sin has consequences. What a man sows that shall He also reap. Just because a person does not feel guilty, ashamed, repentant, or sorry when they do wrong does not mean there will not be consequences for sin. All men have a conscience. A conscience is the ability to discern the difference between right and wrong. This is a God given trait to all humans. A conscience can be sharpened through the belief of the truth or it can be dulled through false teaching and rejection of the truth. The ability to repent of sin is something that is dependent both upon the grace of God and the free will of man.
When the Bible speaks of repentance and confession of sin it is not talking about it in the way that world talks about repentance. There is confession of sin to one’s fellow man and then there is confession of sin to God. Man will not always forgive you but Christ because He died for your sins will forgive you if you ask him. Repentance is to change from going to wrong way to the right way. If you are a liar, stop lying. If you are a thief stop stealing. If you are opposing the Bible stop opposing the Bible. To change is repentance.
In reading these verses in Psalms 38 we are given a detailed description how true repentance from sin works. True repentance from sin takes much more than just a person saying they are sorrow to their fellow man. True repentance takes much more than just a person feeling guilty for what they do wrong. True repentance takes the Spirit of God through the Word of God, the Holy Bible, to touch a person’s heart to repent of their sins to turn to Christ. True repentance is something spiritual in nature not physical. Just because a person does not shed tears does not mean they are not repentant and just because a person does shed tears does not mean they are repentant.
These verses in Psalms describe for us what it takes for a person to truly repent of their sins. It takes the power of God through the grace of Christ to touch a person and work in their heart and mind through the Bible.
II Corinthians 7:8-11 says, “For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.’’
There is godly sorrow for sin and there is worldly sorrow. Godly sorrow happens when a person responds to the message of the Word of God by turning to Jesus Christ the Son of God, the only one who can forgive sins. It is Jesus who died on the cross for the sins of the world. It is Jesus who is the mediator and Author of salvation. It is Jesus who stands at the right hand of the throne of God.
Regarding how it is a person comes to repent of sin Psalms 38 explains this for us when it says in verse 2, “Thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand pressseth me sore.’’ Hands symbolize work. With the hands a person does. God’s hand, God work is to touch the life of a sinner and too lead to repent of their sins. God is the potter we are the clay. You will know if a person has been touched by the hand of God if that person is a person who has repented of their sins to Jesus.
Regarding how it is the hand of God works in a person’s life to lead that person to Christ is explained for us in Psalms 38 verses 1-11. Verses 1-11 talk about the consequences of sin. Consider these phrases: verse 3 “There is no soundness sin my flesh…there is no rest in my bones,’’ verse 7, “For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease.’’ God uses the consequences of sin to work in a person’s heart to help that person to realize that there is judgment coming for those who do not repent and trust in Christ. God uses the consequences of sin to help a person to see that God’s Word is true. God uses the consequences of sin to get a person to think about the Word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’’ Everyone dies. Even if you live to an old age you will still die. Death and old age are consequences of sin. Everyone desires to stay young and to live forever in a healthy body. This is a normal human desire because God created life and God created man to exist forever. Because of sin there is death. God uses the consequences of sin to lead people to repent of sin and turn to Him. This is the reason some people get turned to Christ even on their death bed because at last in the final moments of life they realize they are headed to hell because of their sins. This is also the reason most people do not think about the temporariness of this life because humans are sinful and they want to ignore the consequences for sin because of unrepentance. They think in ignoring the consequences for sin they are escaping judgment when they are in reality only turning away from the grace of Christ.
Psalms 38:4 says, “For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.’’ How great is the sinfulness of man. Man is so wicked, so lost in sin, so enslaved to his own lies, the lies of the world, and the lies of the devil that man can hardly comprehend his own sinfulness. This is one reason God gave the consequence of physical death: man growing old and dying. The normal process of human life of growing old and dying gives man time to think about death and the fact life ends and the fact that at the end of life there will be a judgment afterwards. This is the grace of God. There is no one in this world who is not suffering somehow from the consequence of sin.
Of course there are more immediate consequences to sin that can happen to a person. And God will use these circumstances to work in a person’s heart. But when we think about consequences for sin we should also think about the Word of God because in the end it is always God’s Word that ultimately brings faith to the hearer.
God created speech. God created language. And God created words. God uses human words. The human tongue can be very powerful. But there are no words of men as powerful as the words of God. If a person repents of their sins and turns to Christ for salvation and if a Christian confesses a sin to Christ it is all because the Word of God touched that person’s heart and the Spirit used His Word to lead that person into repentance. Psalms 29:7 says, “The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.’’ Psalms 12:6 says, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever.’’ In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth the Bible says in Genesis 1:3, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.’’ In the beginning God spake the first sermon. How important it is to speak forth the Word of God. God’s Word brings light to men. God’s Word is God’s way of revealing his hand in a person’s life. There are many consequences to sin the greatest of which is eternal damnation in the lake of fire. You can escape the consequences for sin by turning from your sins to Jesus Christ who died on the cross 2000 years ago, was buried, and rose again the 3rd day. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved.’’
Copyright; 2012 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved