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Bible verses about Penalty of Sin
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Ecclesiastes 9:11-12

The Word of God clearly acknowledges that men, even those seemingly well-deserving, will meet with unforeseen, chance setbacks, including death! This may not seem just. It may be worrisome to contemplate and very painful to experience, but we are admonished through Solomon that such things will occur. Such possibilities must be part of our thinking if we are going to face the trials of life in a mature manner that will glorify our Father in heaven.

A closer examination of this in God's Word, however, reveals that in reality there are no innocent victims! There are victims who did not trigger the tragedy that brought about a sudden and unexpected death. In that sense they are innocent. But who can stand before God and say, "I am pure and do not deserve death"?

Earlier, Solomon says, "For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin" (Ecclesiastes 7:20). His father, David, writes in Psalm 14:2-3:

The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one.

These verses are a stinging indictment of each of us! The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and God, as the Sovereign Ruler of His creation, has every right to execute that penalty—or allow it to occur—on anybody at any time He deems appropriate. And in so doing He is perfectly just.

On some occasions in the Bible, God executed the death penalty with dramatic and terrifying suddenness. He struck down the sons of Aaron, probably with bolts of lightning, when they offered profane fire on the incense altar (Leviticus 10:1-7). God cut Uzza down when he stretched out his hand to steady the ark, which David was bringing to Jerusalem on a cart (I Chronicles 13:5-10). In the New Testament, Ananias and Sapphira fell dead at Peter's feet after lying about their offering (Acts 5:1-11).

In each case, their sin was directly and quickly connected to their death, giving vivid testimony of what God has every right to do. The only difference between these events and other seemingly random occurrences is the time lag. God can claim our lives for any unrepented sin.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Innocent Victims?

Amos 6:3

The very act of believing judgment is delayed causes violence and destruction to descend nearer and swifter! As Solomon puts it, "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil" (Ecclesiastes 8:11). When humans think they have gotten away with sin, their hearts become calloused to it, and they commit more and worse sin, bringing on its penalties: distress, destruction, and death.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Promise of His Coming?

Romans 5:13

The apostle makes it clear in the next verse that sinning in the "absence of law" brings about the same penalty as sinning with full knowledge of the law.

David F. Maas
Is All Fair in Love and War?

Galatians 5:1

The yoke of bondage is an approach to justification and salvation, or righteousness, that relies on a syncretism of Jewish ritualistic legalism and pagan practices (usually rites of purification), while at the same time avoiding the sacrifice of Christ. This means that what we believe and who we believe in will determine whether we will be justified. Why is this approach a yoke of bondage? It cannot free a person from the penalty of sin or from Satan. It does not provide forgiveness. It will not put one into a position to receive God's Holy Spirit.

Paul is not writing to do away with the law! He is writing to clarify lawkeeping's relationship to justification and what a person believes through justification. If Paul were writing to do away with law, much of what he wrote later on in chapter 5 would not be there.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 28)

Galatians 5:18

Verse 18 appears as a summary statement in light of all that Paul wrote previous to this. It needs a bit of defining. According to what the apostle wrote earlier, to be "under the law" includes three areas:

1. Most obviously, it means to be under the law's penalty because we have sinned. Jesus died so that we can be freed from that penalty.

2. It means to be striving to achieve justification through lawkeeping, which is what the main body of this epistle covers.

3. The third meaning is also covered but less thoroughly: that a person is trying to earn God's election and salvation by becoming a member of the Old Covenant. Chapter 5 covers that to a very small extent.

Paul's statement, then, must be seen in context of all that has been written before. Notice what Kenneth Wuest writes in Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, Volume 1, page 156. This is a typical Protestant statement regarding verse 18.

The exhortation is therefore, to be led by the Spirit. The assurance is given those who do so, that they will not be living their lives on the principle of legalism. The Spirit and the law are here contrasted, and are shown to be methods of living a Christian life that are diametrically opposed to one another. The law is not only no safeguard against the flesh, but rather provokes it to more sin. Therefore, the believer who would renounce the flesh, must renounce the law also. Thus, the flesh and the law are closely allied, whereas the flesh and the Spirit are diametrically opposed to one another. (Author's emphasis.)

To understand this truthfully, all he needs to do is reread what Paul wrote. What the apostle contrasts is Spirit with flesh, and Spirit with those under the law—not the law per se. But this commentator made no attempt to define what Paul means by "under the law," as Paul himself uses it in the epistle. Also, there was no attempt to define what the author of the commentary means by "legalism."

We have already seen what Paul means by "under the law." To these people, legalism is "the belief that one is obligated to obey the law." The key word in that definition is "obligated." They hate it (Romans 8:7), and therefore lawkeeping is seen as a burden, a yoke of bondage, despite the undeniable fact that God (through James) says it is a "law of liberty" (James 1:25; 2:12).

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 28)

Titus 2:11-15

Grace penetrates a person's life in the same way that light penetrates darkness. It does not just appear to offset darkness, but rather it penetrates it and disperses it. That is what grace does for a human being. It enters into a person's life, penetrates it, and begins dynamically to produce things.

This is what John 1 is about. God came to the earth in the flesh, and He penetrated humanity. The grace of God appeared to man in the person of Jesus Christ. It can be translated that God's grace made its appearance bringing salvation.

Grace can rescue man from the greatest possible evil. What could that possibly be? The greatest possible evil that anybody can face is God's curse. Men can curse us, but if God curses us, we have had it. That curse is the penalty of sin. But God counterbalances that, and more, by giving us grace.

Here, grace is shown as the power that teaches, trains, disciplines, guides, and leads us. It does not force us. In other places, it is shown as counseling, comforting, encouraging, admonishing, guiding, convicting, rewarding, even restraining. It teaches us that we must deny immorality, exhorting us to give ourselves over to self-mastery, that is, to controlling ourselves. We must devote ourselves to integrity and loyalty to God right here and now, while expectantly and patiently looking forward to the return of Jesus Christ and the resurrection from the dead to glory.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Grace Upon Grace


 




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