Sin does indeed have consequences and they are very serious consequences.

1) “For the wages of sin is DEATH, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23….NKJV). DEATH in this verse is speaking especially of “eternal death,” for it is in contrast with “eternal life.” We read of this DEATH in Revelation 20:14-15, “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the SECOND DEATH. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Death means SEPARATION and all who die without receiving God’s gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ will be SEPARATED from God forever in the lake of fire.

2) “And it is appointed for men TO DIE once, but after this THE JUDGMENT.” In this verse we have the two-fold penalty (two consequences of sin) brought together, DEATH (this is “physical death”) and JUDGMENT. All who die unsaved (without accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior) will stand before Christ to be JUDGED (see Revelation 20:11). He could have been their SAVIOR, but because of their rejection of Him He will be their JUDGE. Let’s read verses 12-13, “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And THE DEAD WERE JUDGED ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS, BY THE THINGS WHICH WERE WRITTEN IN THE BOOKS. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And THEY WERE JUDGED, EACH ONE ACCORDING TO HIS WORKS.” Notice, they are judged by what was written in “the books” and by “the Book of Life.” The “Book of Life” contains the names of all who had trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior and “the books” are a record of everyone’s entire life on earth, and of every sin they ever committed. The worst sin is the SIN OF UNBELIEF (refusing to believe on Christ as Savior and Lord) and it is this SIN which results in them being “cast into the lake of fire” (as we saw earlier in verse 15). Yet it is the SINS committed throughout their life that will determine their “degree of punishment” in the lake of fire.

Thus far we have considered the two most serious consequences for those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet BELIEVERS may also face serious consequences for sin, though they will not experience the eternal consequences of being JUDGED and SEPARATED FROM GOD in the lake of fire.

1) “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is SIN LEADING TO DEATH” (1st John 5:16). A true believer may fall into a sin that is so serious in God’s eyes that it will lead to DEATH (i.e. physical death). We have an example of this in 1st Corinthians 11:30 (where some were getting drunk and coming to the Lord’s Supper in that sinful state), “For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many SLEEP.” The word “sleep” refers to “death” (see 1st Corinthians 15:51; 1st Thessalonians 4:13-14). We find another example in the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11. If a child of God is living in unjudged sin and not bearing fruit for God, He may indeed choose to take them Home (see John 15:1-2).

2) “Restore to me the JOY OF YOUR SALVATION, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will TEACH TRANSGRESSORS YOUR WAYS, AND SINNERS SHALL BE CONVERTED TO YOU.” King David had sinned grievously against God and in this Psalm of repentance we are taught that when a believer sins he/she loses “the JOY of salvation” and “their TESTIMONY to lost sinners.” They also forfeit the “PEACE of God” (see Philippians 4:6-7) and the consciousness of the “LOVE of God” in their lives (see John 14:21 & 23). These are serious consequences indeed!  (365.5)  (DO)