Monday, January 25, 2016



Sin has consequences!  And you're just going to have to bear them!

Perhaps you've seen that or read an argument like that lately.  Sort of the thrust that as the world is becoming less and less moral we in the Church need to do our best to make sure people not only are aware of the fact that their sin will have temporal consequences, but that when they are suffering the consequences that we say, "Well, there you go, you get what you deserve."  The consequences will make them learn!

Well, that's one way to look at it.  The thing is... it's a virtuous heathen, 9th ring of hell sort of way, not the Christian way.

For your consideration, consider the collect for Septuagesima: "O Lord, graciously hear the prayers of Your people that we who justly suffer the consequence of our sin may be mercifully delivered by Your goodness to the glory of Your Name; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen."

Now note: what's the whole point?  That while we justly suffer the consequence of our sin, that we would be mercifully delivered.

Seriously - that's the response of the Christ.  To deliver folks from consequences.

Really.  Seriously.  And that's the heart of every prayer we offer.  Consider the Lord's Prayer.  We pray that God's Name would be hallowed among us - over and against the consequence of sin that would dishallow it.  We pray that God's Kingdom would come to us in a good way, that His will would be good for us, when the consequences of our sin would be the exact opposite.  Sin demands that we work for our bread; we ask God to give it to us.  Indeed, we ask for forgiveness - we ask to be kept from temptation.  What could be a bigger escape from consequences than that?  Well - deliver us from evil.  All of it, mercifully deliver us.

In fact, do you not know that whenever you show love to your neighbor, you are delivering them from the consequences of their sin?  If I feed my neighbor who is hungry, I am seeking to abate a consequence of sin.  Same with clothing him.  Or visiting in prison - that's a consequence he deserved. 

Seriously - as we are in a fallen world, every act of love we show is lessening a temporal consequence of sin -- is lessening a temporal punishment which that person deserved.

So be it.  We are not agents of consequence.  We are makers of peace, givers of mercy.

And that's a good thing.

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