“The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:8 NIV).
The New Testament book of First Timothy expands on this principle from Galatians 6:8 with a thought-provoking statement…
“Some people’s sins are obvious, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others surface later. Likewise, good works are obvious, and those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden” (1 Timothy 5:24-25 HCSB).
There are some who care little for what others think of their inappropriate behavior while others are highly skilled at hiding those thoughts and activities that are evil, dishonest, or morally wrong. But as 1 Corinthians 4:5 reminds us, “…wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.”
While it may seem as if the guilty will never have to answer for their actions, we should be clear on an important point- no one “gets away with it” forever. The consequences always come; it’s just a matter of time. As we’re also reminded in Romans 2:6, God “…will give to each person according to what he has done.”
In their devotional book, Discovering God’s Daily Agenda, Henry and Richard Blackaby make the following observation regarding this concept…
“Some actions that result from poor decisions naturally have consequences that teach the foolishness of (that) decision: Not thinking before speaking, for instance, inevitably leads to wounded relationships. At other times, parents establish logical consequences that match the infraction: when a child has been told not to throw the ball in the house and does so anyway, resulting in a broken vase, that child pays for a replacement. Natural consequences and logical consequences can teach important lessons.” (1)
The value gained from our experiences might also explain why God may sometimes allows us to experience the consequences that result from our choices. Good, God-honoring decisions often lead to beneficial consequences even if we are the only ones who recognize them. Poor, ungodly choices often lead to other consequences that stay with us like a scar we must learn to live with. While God can bring something positive from an ungodly choice, its better to start with a God-honoring decision even if its difficult to see the immediate benefit of that choice.
(1) Discovering God’s Daily Agenda © 2007 by Dr.’s Richard and Henry Blackaby