The Expository Files

Sin and its Consequences in This Life

Genesis 3

Our world and our lives have not been made better because of sin. In fact, sin has made everything about our existence much, much worse. The thief may think his life is better after having successfully stolen something valuable. The shoplifter is pleased that he avoided the security cameras. The hedonist is on top of the world with his latest sexual escapade. The con artist found a good mark and the corrupt politician got away with the lie and the drug dealer settled an old score. All of them are pleased that their lives are better for it. But they are wrong. Sin changes things, Many may be subtle changes but in the end the consequences are horrific. If sinners only knew what they were doing to themselves, they would not feel so clever. If disciples will always remember that sin is never free, then they will much better be able to deal with temptation. Sin changes things.

Sin Changes Your Relationship With God
"And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden." (Genesis 3:8). One observable result of the first sin was fear and insecurity. Before sin, there had been joy, confidence and trust. But sin took all that away and replaced it with fear and guilt.

Adam and Eve had a very immature concept of God, as seen in their attempt to hide from God behind some trees. They could not, and we cannot, either hide our deeds nor ourselves from God. Far better to keep our deeds in line with His commandments, for God does see (Psalm 10:11-13).

Does everyone live in fear who lives in sin. No, not really. If one denies the existence of God, or the reality of judgment, then he or she may succeed in canceling out the fear of judgment. Some boldly mock the idea of the righteous retribution of God, but will they be so bold when they stand in His presence? More likely, they will try to follow the lead of Adam and Eve and vainly find a tree to hide behind (Revelation 6:16,17; Hebrews 10:30,31).

Sin Changes Your Self-Relationship
"Then the Lord God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever" (Genesis 3:22). One definition of "peace" is the absence of conflict. Up until the time of disobedience, there had not been the daily moral struggle, no pangs of guilt, no inner conflict. It was only when temptation was given permission to bear fruit in Eve's
heart that he problem began.

Along with the loss of security in the world came the loss of self esteem.. The peace within was gone, and mankind has been forever since trying to rediscover it. The search has led to many false hopes and promises. The answer was not to be found in eastern religions, drugs, alcohol or suicide. though people have searched in all these to find peace. Some have chosen to just look at themselves as products of blind evolution and their lives are
without purpose. Believers are not afraid of death because of confidence in the purposes and promises of God, but these lost ones are not afraid of death because they have nothing much to live for.

It is for this reason that the promise of Jesus, the "prince of peace" to give "peace" is so inviting. "And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7). The Lord counsels us that we can maintain this peace by keeping our thoughts in perspective. "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things." (Philippians 4:8). As I read this verse, I cannot help but think that this probably well describes the minds of Adam and Eve before the fall. In Jesus, we can approach this peace again.

Sin Changes Your Relationship With Others
"And the man said, "The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate." (Genesis 3:12). It seems as chivalry was already dead long before the demise of the knights of the round table. Here we see how suspicion and conflict enter into human relationships. This conflict will lead to one of this couple's children murdering his brother, and countless more conflicts through the ages to come. This is the true "mother of all battles."

Jesus advises us on how to repair human relationships and make them what they ought to be. Much of His teachings has to do with that very thing. There are many "one another" passages in the New Testament.

"If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also." (1 John 4:20,21). When we apply the teachings of Christ to our lives, our relationships will improve accordingly. When two true and obvious disciples of Jesus relate to one another, there is no room for distrust, selfishness and suspicion. Think about what this can do for a marriage!

Sin Changes Your Relationship With Nature
"Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it'; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life." (Genesis 3:17). Finally, we see that nature itself was cursed. Every human tear of sorrow ever shed can be traced back to the fall. Exhaustion, pain and natural calamity are the result of
sin. Sin demands too heavy a price, both now and in eternity, don't you think? There is a better way (Romans 6:23).

By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 7.2; February 2000