Consequences and Consequences
May 27, 2018
People are often not very good at thinking about the future. And they are often not very good at thinking about consequences. A sophomore in college might procrastinate and play instead of thinking about his or her final grades and student debts. A working professional might fall into bad habits without thinking about his or her health and wellbeing. A married couple might budget and spend money without thinking about their kids or their savings for retirement.
And a king might fall for a forbidden woman without thinking about the devastating consequences of his sin.
In the opening chapters of the book of Proverbs, we see a father speak to his son about how to be a good and wise king for Israel. And here in today’s Scripture text, the father warns his son not to commit the sin of adultery.
The command is plain and clear in verse 25. Do not desire her beauty in your heart. Do not let her capture you with her eyelashes. It is not hard to understand what the father wants from the son. The father does not want his son to commit sexual immorality. He does not want him to sin the sin of adultery against the Lord.
But the father knows that his son might still fall for the forbidden woman without thinking about the devastating consequences of his sin. So in the rest of today’s Scripture text, in verses 26-35, the father does something wonderful and amazing for his son. He gives him the wisdom of knowing the future and the consequence of sin.
This is truly wonderful and amazing. You see, sexual immorality is built on a simple but gigantic lie. And the lie is this: there is no consequence for sin. The son is in danger of thinking that nothing will happen if he sleeps with the wife of another man. The son is in danger of believing that sexual immorality offers happiness and fulfillment. The son is in danger of concluding that God will not know or that God will not mind. The son is, at the end of the day, in danger of believing the lie of the devil - that there is no consequence for sin. But the father cuts through all of this foolishness and tells his son the truth. And the truth is this: there are consequences for sin. This is truly wonderful and amazing. Because this is truth. And this is love.
The father tells the son that the cost for sin will be incalculable. In verse 26, he gives the true price of adultery. It is not $2.50. It is not the price of a loaf of bread. The true price of adultery is one’s precious life. The beauty of the forbidden woman is just not worth it.
This is so true today. When a husband and father has an affair with a woman, he usually pays a heavy price. He can lose his wife. He can lose his kids. He can lose his reputation and his friends. He can lose his job and his home. He can lose his soul.
But the cost for sin will not just be incalculable. The father goes on to tell the son that the cost for sin will be inevitable. In verses 27-29, he shows that adultery comes with the guarantee of punishment. It is unavoidable: if you carry fire next to your chest, you will be burned. It is inescapable: if you walk on hot coals, you will be scorched. With sexual immorality comes the certain outcome of punishment and death.
But the cost for sin will not just be incalculable and inevitable. The father finally tells the son that the cost for sin will be irrevocable. In verses 30-35, he explains that an adulterer cannot make things right again. You cannot make restitution like a thief who is caught stealing goods from a house. You cannot offer compensation to the husband of the forbidden woman. No multiplication of gifts can save you from him. Do you really think he will forgive you? No, his jealousy will make him furious. There is no way to avert his revenge. And when he has his revenge, he will show you no mercy.
The cost for adultery is incalculable and inevitable and irrevocable. This makes sin so senseless. He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. Perhaps a thief can garner some sympathy for his actions. But an adulterer will get no sympathy, because his actions are totally senseless.
All of this is truth. It is wisdom. It is knowledge. It is wonderful and amazing. It is love. And it is all for the son of the father to know the future and the consequence of sin.
But what would happen to the son if he falls for the forbidden woman? Is there any good news for him? Is there any hope for men or women who are guilty of sexual immorality? Can destruction and dishonor and disgrace be undone? Can punishment be lifted? Can life be redeemed? Can a sinner be made right with God?
One day Jesus was at the house of a pharisee and reclining at table. And there was a woman, a woman of the city, who was a sinner. She was most likely an adulteress, a forbidden woman. The woman came to Jesus, weeping. She wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. She kissed his feet. And she anointed his feet and his head with a perfume ointment from an alabaster flask. It was very costly. The perfume was worth more than ten months of wages. That is a lot of loaves of bread. That is a lot of adultery.
This woman came to the Son of God with all of her senselessness and self-destruction. This woman came to the King of heaven and earth with all of her dishonor and disgrace. But when this woman came to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, he did not make her pay. Instead, he forgave her of her sins. He took her sins and put it upon himself. He credited himself with her dishonor and disgrace. And he paid for it by suffering the punishment of the holy fury and righteous wrath of the Father. He paid for it all by dying on the cross. The woman was united with Christ in his death. Therefore, Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
But that is not all. For that is only half of the good news. The woman came to Jesus with all of her consequences. But Jesus also came to the woman with all of his.
This woman came to the Son of God with all of her senselessness and self-destruction. But the Son of God came to the woman with all of his righteousness and obedience. This woman came to the King of heaven and earth with all of her dishonor and disgrace. But the King of heaven and earth came to the woman with all of his honor and glory. And when this woman came to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, he did not put her to the test. Instead, he gave her his crown. He took his righteousness and put it upon her. He credited her with his honor and glory. And she enjoyed the justification and the acceptance and the adoption of the Father and the promise of sabbath rest with him. She received it all by repentance and faith. The woman was united with Christ in his resurrection. Therefore, Jesus said to her, “Go in peace.”
This wonderful and amazing story is one of countless stories in the Bible that show us the gospel and the love of Christ. And his gospel is simply this: Yes, a sinner can be made right with God. Yes, life can be redeemed. Yes, punishment can be lifted. Yes, destruction and dishonor and disgrace can be undone. Yes, there is hope for men or women who are guilty of sexual immorality. And it is all possible because of Jesus Christ.
Praise the Lord Jesus Christ! The incalculable, inevitable and irrevocable wages of sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ! The sinful woman came to Jesus and spent over ten months of wages to thank Jesus. But Jesus came to the sinful woman gave her something that was infinitely worth more: his life and his righteousness. Praise the Lord Jesus Christ! His gospel is no lie, and there is no danger in him. And praise the Lord Jesus Christ! Our future is now defined by his consequences, not ours. And the consequences of Christ are incalculable, inevitable, irrevocable.
To all the brothers and sisters in the room who are not yet brothers or sisters, I tell you the truth: in Jesus there is no lie. Sexual immorality is built on lies. Its sweetness to the taste is actually a trick. Its gladness and delight is really a trap. But Jesus is God. And Jesus offers true sweetness and gladness and delight. Do not believe the lie. Believe the truth. Believe in Jesus.
To all the brothers and sisters in the room who are weary of warning, I tell you the truth: God loves you. What drives the father in Proverbs 6? Love for his son. And in the same way, why does God give us today’s message? Because he loves you. Hebrews 12:6 tells us that the Lord disciplines those he loves. Please, listen and understand and cherish and obey God’s word today.
To all the brothers and sisters in the room who think that they would never fall into adultery or sexual immorality, I ask you to consider David and Peter and Paul. David, the greatest human king of earthly Israel, committed adultery with Bathsheba. Peter, a great disciple and apostle of Christ, at one point in his life denied Jesus three times and at another point in his life was out of step with the truth of the gospel when he forced Gentiles to live like Jews (Galatians 2:11-14). And Paul, our beloved brother in Christ who wrote basically half of the New Testament, admitted in Romans 7 his profound struggle with sin. Even the strongest of saints face temptations and sin against God. If you do not struggle with sexual immorality, then thank the Lord. But do not do so and think that you are totally immune to sexual immorality. Why do you think there are warnings throughout Scripture? Let us not flatter ourselves. Instead, let us accept warning. Let us remain vigilant. Let us work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
To all the brothers and sisters in the room who do struggle with sexual immorality, I ask you to stop being a fool and start thinking about the future and the consequence of sexual immorality. Imagine how everything can end. You can lose your family and your friends. You can end up in a real jail. Is this what you want? This is not what God wants. I invite you, I command you, to take off sexual immorality and put it to death. It is a dark future. It is senseless. It is not worth it. And its consequences are devastating.
To all the brothers and sisters in the room who want to fight against sexual immorality, I recommend that you start to be wise and start to think about the future and the consequence of sexual purity. Imagine how everything can end. You can have a beautiful marriage and an honorable family heritage and legacy. You can end up in a nice restaurant celebrating your 40th anniversary. Is this what you want? This is what God wants. I invite you, I command you, to put on sexual purity and make it your life. It is a bright future. It is wise. It is worth it. And its consequences are amazing.
People are often not very good at thinking about the future. And they are often not very good at thinking about consequences. But let us be good at thinking about the future that we have in Christ. And let us be good at thinking about the consequences that we have in him.
Summary of Sermon
A father speak to his son about how to be a good and wise king for Israel. And the son is given the wisdom of knowing the future and the consequence of sexual immorality.
With sexual immorality comes the idea that there are no consequences for sin. But that is a gigantic lie. It is wonderful and amazing that the father tells his son the truth about sexual immorality.
The cost for sexual sin will be incalculable. The true price of adultery is one’s precious life. It's just not worth it.
The cost for sexual sin will be inevitable. With it comes the certain and guaranteed outcome of punishment and death.
The cost for sexual sin will be irrevocable. The adulterer will be unable to make things right again.
All of this makes sexual sin - and sin in general - so senseless.
It seems that there would no hope or good news for the son if he were to fall for the forbidden woman. And it seems that there is no hope or good news for any man or woman guilty of sexual immorality.
But Jesus Christ can undo destruction and dishonor and disgrace. He takes the consequences of our sin and makes it all his own. And he dies because of it. And he takes the consequences of his righteousness and makes it all our own. And we live because of it.
Praise the Lord Jesus Christ! Our future is now defined by his consequences, not ours. And the consequences of Christ are incalculable, inevitable and irrevocable.
Let us not believe the lie of sexual immorality. Let us understand that God warns us because he loves us. Let us not flatter ourselves and think that we could never fall in the face of sexual temptation. Let us consider the future and the consequences of sexual sin. And let us consider the future and the consequences of sexual purity.
Questions for Discussion & Sharing
People are often not very good at thinking about the future. What are some real-life examples of not thinking well about the future and about consequences?
What are the lies that come with sexual immorality? And what are the truths about it?
How do you feel knowing that Jesus took all of our consequences of sin and made them his very own? How do you feel knowing that all of his consequences of righteousness are credited to you?
Imagine what could happen to you if you committed sexual immorality. How would your story end?
Imagine what could happen to you if you were committed to sexual purity. How would your story end?