Our individual sins were paid for 2,000 years ago. They are no longer a barrier keeping people from God.
Some people have trouble with that truth. There are those who see think that unless they portray God as raging mad about the sin we commit throughout our lives then there is no reason not to engage in sinful behavior.
Except that there is a huge reason not to sin. (Actually there are several reasons. But today let’s look at just one.)
You see, even though as far as God is concerned our individual sins were paid for by Jesus way back when, there are still consequences when we sin.
Sin may no longer be an issue between us and God anymore. But it still causes big problems between us an other people down here on earth.
The sinful things we do all have consequences attached.
Winning Football Coach
For example, Joe Paterno died today. He was the winingest (is that a word?) college football coach in the history of the game. In his 46 years as head coach of Penn State he had an impressive record of 409 wins, 136 losses, and 3 ties.
Paterno had an impressive career and piled up many football awards. Unfortunately that’s not what he’ll likely be remembered for.
Fired in Disgrace
Just a few short weeks ago, Paterno was fired from the head coaching job that he held for decades even though he did nothing illegal. It could possibly even be argued by some (though not by me) that he did nothing wrong.
However one of his assistant coaches was arrested on charges of sexually assaulting young boys. The resulting scandal got Paterno fired in disgrace.
Many Lives Hurt
If the accusations are true then this assistant coach hurt a great many lives with his sin. Most obviously are the victims of his abuse.
Sexually abusing children is a horrible thing. Depending on how long it was going on, there may very well be victims who are adults now.
There’s the victim’s families. I can’t imagine the pain of having a child sexually assaulted.
The perpetrating coach’s life is in ruins now too.
And then there’s Paterno. The assaults happened on his watch and he appears to have done the bare minimum required by law to report the crime.
As a result he was fired just weeks before he died and this scandal will likely become his legacy instead of coaching greatness.
It is true that we should live morally pure and holy lives. But the reason we should do so has nothing to do with being more acceptable to God.
One of the biggest reasons we should strive for a holy lifestyle is so that we don’t leave a wake of destruction through the lives of people around us or destroy our own lives.
Sin has consequences. But we never have to expose ourselves to those consequences when we simply refrain from that sin in our lives.