Thankfully, God forgives us when we sin. Because of His grace, He gives us hope, relief, and encouragement to press on. As far as “the east is from the west” He “removes our transgressions from us” (Psalms 103:3a, 12).
However, there is another side to this battle with sin. Some sins, although forgiven, have lingering consequences that can follow us for a lifetime. The effects and the backwash continue to stalk some people long after the sin has been forgiven.
This is a sobering truth. Yet, it's one we need to hear. You almost never hear this taught in churches and it leaves people unprepared for the harsh realities of cause-and-effect.
The reality of this sin/consequence syndrome comes to the surface in Abraham’s life. His previous compromise with his maid, Hagar, seventeen years earlier, not only caused immediate disharmony in his home between him and his wife, Sarah, it lingered beyond the birth of Isaac. Unquestionably, Abraham’s sin was forgiven – but the haunting tentacles of that carnal act wrapped themselves around him, bringing anguish to him, as well as his entire family.
Fortunately, God’s grace helps us even in the midst of these lingering consequences, as it did with Abraham. And that is the beauty of this story from God’s Word. Yes, we will learn that sin has consequences, but then we will hear the good new of Jesus Christ: those consequences don’t have to conquer us or cripple us!
The message this Sunday will be one of the most redemptive and encouraging sermons from the entire series.