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April 5, 2024
It Comes at a Cost
Pastor Philip De Courcy
Romans 6:23

Some years ago, the St. Petersburg Times carried a news item about a hungry thief who grabbed some sausages in a meat market only to find that they were part of a string of sausages fifteen feet long. Tripping over them, he was hindered in his getaway, and the police found him collapsed in a tangle of fresh sausages.

So it is with sin. We always come away with more than we expect, and it tends to hurt us and hinder us in ways we did not imagine. Adrian Rogers, the famous and faithful Baptist pastor from Memphis, once said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” We never sin for free. There is always a cost for our disobedience or delayed obedience.

Given that reality, it is a good exercise to estimate the wages of sin, to count the cost of departure from the will of God and the breaking of the law of God. Sin always looks better in prospect than it does in retrospect. In Psalm 32, David recalls the price he paid for his sin with Bathsheba in terms of physical sickness, emotional turmoil, and loss of spiritual vitality (Psalm 32:3–4). Talking about the sin of adultery, the writer of Proverbs 6 catalogs the consequences of adultery to his son by mentioning soul poverty, dishonor, and reproach, and the possibility of vengeance from a jealous husband (Prov. 6:32–35). Counting and accounting for sin is biblical and helpful and a means of making us less willing to follow our tempted hearts into spiritual danger.

The Bible wants us to know that the path of disobedience and the way of transgression is hard and comes with a hefty price tag (Prov. 13:15; Rom. 6:23). While sin in the life of the man in Christ does not destroy his relationship with God, it does damage it, disable it, and disrupt it (Hosea 8:7; Gal. 6:7–8). How and in what way does sin cost?

One, it dampens the work of the Holy Spirit within (Eph. 4:30–31; 1 Thess. 5:19). Two, it makes Bible study unfruitful (James 1:21–22; 1 Peter 2:1–2). Three, it drains us of a real and deep joy in God (Psalm 51:12; 1 John 1:4). Four, it hinders warm and close fellowship with God and leaves us with feelings of distance from God (Psalm 51:11; 1 John 1:3, 6). Five, it causes loss of confidence in prayer (Psalm 66:18; 1 John 3:19–22). Six, it produces anguish and anxiety of heart with decreased peace (Psalm 32:3–4; Jer. 6:14–16). Seven, it affects the effectiveness of our witness (Psalm 51:13; Luke 22:32). Eight, it shrinks the greatness of God in our lives (Gen. 39:9). Nine, it makes us fearful about the Lord’s return, turning the blessed hope into a nervous anticipation (Titus 2:11–14; 1 John 2:28–29). Ten, it diminishes our receiving of eternal rewards (1 Cor. 3:11–15; 2 John 8).

Remember, sin looks good in prospect but not in retrospect (Prov. 20:17). As Paul Powell notes, “The sin of the future seems as fair as an angel from heaven, but the sin of yesterday is as ugly as a fiend from hell.” The pleasure of sin is real, but it is fleeting and comes at a cost that we can be blind to in the fever of temptation.