One of the beautiful truths of Scripture is this: No matter how much we’ve blown it in the past, no matter what sins we have committed, we can be completely forgiven! If only we will humbly come to Jesus, confess what we have done, turn our back on it never to do it again (repent), we can be completely cleansed.
1 John 1:9 (New Living Translation)
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
Regardless of what we’ve done or where we’ve been or how long we were there, God wants to show us how gracious He is. He also wants to show the world that He can take someone who has messed up horribly and make something beautiful out of their lives.
We see this illustrated in the life of Moses. He was hand-picked to lead a massive nation out of Egyptian slavery. Yet, his life wasn’t spotless. Not even close. He had a very dark moment in his past! He had killed a man in cold blood! (Exodus 2:11-15).
That horribly sinful act leads us to acknowledge another biblical principle: While we celebrate the fact that God can forgive our sin (and often restore us to serving Him), we also realize that most of the time He allows the consequences of our sin to remain.
For Moses’ murderous act, he was consigned to tending sheep in the wilderness for 40 long years (Acts 7:23-30). God forgave him but he wasted 40 years of his life in the process. (Our God is so good that even though Moses ‘wasted’ those forty years, God used them to prepare Moses for the task ahead. Yet, they were consequences nonetheless.)
For disobeying the Lord’s orders in how he was to provide water for the Israelites, he was forbidden to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 20:10-12). He was forgiven but the consequences remained.
Even though Moses begged the Lord to forego the consequences, God refused to budge.
Deuteronomy 3:23-27 (New Living Translation)
“At that time I (Moses) pleaded with the Lord and said, ‘O Sovereign Lord, you have only begun to show your greatness and the strength of your hand to me, your servant. Is there any god in heaven or on earth who can perform such great and mighty deeds as you do? Please let me cross the Jordan to see the wonderful land on the other side, the beautiful hill country and the Lebanon mountains.’
“But the Lord was angry with me because of you, and he would not listen to me. ‘That’s enough!’ he declared. ‘Speak of it no more. But go up to Pisgah Peak, and look over the land in every direction. Take a good look, but you may not cross the Jordan River.'”
Be very careful when you allow sin into your life. We all have struggles and must aggressively work to kill sin in our minds and hearts. Yet, if we begin to tolerate sin, then the extent of our sin will grow. One day, we may engage in some major sin that wrecks our lives and hurts those around us. We may be forgiven but the consequences may be with us for a very, very long time … maybe our whole life!
Why not surrender right now to the Lord to obey Him wholeheartedly. Doing so is not only what He expects and demands, it is most certainly in your best interest. No consequences of sin will ever be experienced by those who refuse to step off the road to Christlikeness.