Experiencing the partial consequences of a sin is a powerful aide for future deterrence from that sin. This is just a fancy way of saying that punishment (also called discipline) works, for both children and adults.
“[Our human fathers] punished us for a little while as they thought best… God punishes us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No punishment seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
~ Hebrews 12:10-11
When God punishes us here on earth, it is intended as a deterrent from further sin. His discipline is only a partial consequence of what is fully due to us; a full measure of sin’s consequence is death (“The wages of sin is death” ~Romans 6:23). Instead, the ‘partial consequence’ punishment is intended to build our character and instill within us a deterrent from future sin.
The full consequence of our sin is hell. Yep, there I said it: HELL! While God’s full intention is that we would obey Him because we love Him (just as any father wants from his own children), He has warned us about the full consequence of our sin. The partial consequence that we experience is hardly even a twinge of discomfort and is hardly even a micro-second in duration when compared with eternity’s hell.
Let’s be motivated to follow and obey Christ because we love Him, and when our immaturity and yet-to-be-perfected character prompts us to sin, let’s remind ourselves of the partial consequence in this lifetime and the full consequence in eternity for those who reject God and His ways.
Personally, the longer I walk with Christ through this life, the more I find that I love Him with a deeper and deeper passion. This passionate love is a powerful motivator to stay with Him and obey Him. But, the partial consequence and the full consequence remain helpful deterrents when temptation comes my way.
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