5 Minute Read

TODAY’S BIBLE READING:

1 Samuel 20:1–21:15
John 9:1-41
Psalms 113:1–114:8
Proverbs 15:15-17

TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

John 9:1-3 (CSB): “As he was passing by, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him: ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ Jesus answered. ‘This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him.'”

REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

The title I have given today’s post is: “Do Bad Things Happen Because of Sin?”

The answer? Yes and No.

“Yes,” because Adam’s sin in Genesis 3 brought on God’s curse. Because of Adam’s sin, we live in a broken world, with broken people, where bad things are the norm.

But, the answer is “not necessarily” in regard to our own lives. Just because something bad happens to us doesn’t mean that it is because we sinned. And simply because good things are happening to us doesn’t mean we are sinless.

This is a big discussion but let’s hit some high points in this blog post. Let’s go back to the verses I have chosen as Today’s Bible Verses:

John 9:1-3 (CSB): “As he was passing by, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him: ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ Jesus answered. ‘This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him.'”

As Jesus and His disciples were walking together, they passed a man. He was probably begging on the side of the road. He was blind, he couldn’t work, so he was reduced to pleading for people’s mercy as they tossed coins his way.

But the disciples saw a bigger issue. They saw the blind man and they saw a theological question.

“Jesus, this man is clearly blind. He’s in a helpless condition. Surely, this is because of God’s disfavor. So, Jesus, what caused it? Was it his sin that caused his blindness or was it his parent’s sin that caused his blindness?”

Well, as biblically informed Christians, we could answer:

“His blindness is certainly because of Adam’s sin. It is because of Adam’s rebellion and God’s punishment upon Adam and Creation that people are now born blind.”

We could also say:

“It may be because of someone else’s sin, too. Maybe his parents were drunkards and abused their bodies and so their child was born flawed. Or, maybe it was because His parents lived in open rebellion to God and so He removed His hand of blessing from them.”

But, it is also true that the man’s blindness was the direct result of no one’s sin (except Adam’s, of course). In fact, Jesus made this clear in His answer:

John 9:3 (CSB): ” ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ Jesus answered. ‘This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him.'”

Jesus made it so clear, didn’t He? He pointed out that personal sin isn’t always tied to the bad stuff that happens to us. Sometimes, bad things happen even when we are living a godly life and abstaining from sin.

Have you ever read the Old Testament book of Job? Do you remember how his life fell apart in one day? His children were killed, his possessions were taken, his marriage was harmed, and his health radically deteriorated.

Was it because of sin? Nope! Listen to what God said about Job right before all of those bad things happened:

Job 1:8 (CSB): “Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil.'”

It was precisely because Job was so godly that the bad things happened to him.

Conclusion

So, what conclusions can we draw from this? Let me give you a few:

  • If you are in sin, God will (in His own way and timing) bring discipline into your life (Hebrews 12:5-11).
  • But, simply because you are experiencing bad things in your life doesn’t necessarily mean that it is God’s disciple (Job 1-2). It could simply be because you live in a broken world (Genesis 3).
  • When we sin, God’s discipline upon us may harm those around us, too (Joshua 7:1). It may also be true that we are harmed because of someone else’s sin.
  • The absence of bad things in your life doesn’t necessarily mean that you are sinless. It may simply be God’s grace that is patiently waiting for you to repent (Matthew 5:44-45).

So, don’t be a simpleton. Don’t be like the disciples who mindlessly thought that every bad thing is punishment for personal sin.

Rest assured, there is coming a Day of Judgment when all rights will be rewarded and all wrongs punished. But, it’s not so clear cut in our lifetimes. Sometimes bad things happen to people who are chasing after Jesus. And sometimes good things happen to those who are rebelling against the God who made them.

Just follow after Jesus and look forward to a New Earth (Revelation 20-21) when all of our current confusion will be a thing of the past.