Sometimes we forget the simple truth that consequences exist for every action we do (and don’t do). Sometimes the consequences turn out to be good, and other times they turn out to be bad. Most of the time bad consequences come from bad choices, and good consequences from good choices. For instance, if you discipline yourself to save money, you will likely suffer a bit, but end up with a surplus that you can later use when you are wiser, and really need it. But if you spend your money on every momentary, worldly pleasure, you’ll later have no money when you need it, and will have missed out on deeper pleasures that shape a healthy life. The bible applies the wisdom of consequences to both believers and unbelievers. In Jude 1:5-7, we are told how the Lord destroyed unbelievers in three separate events. It tells us how he destroyed those in the exodus who did not believe, and how he imprisoned angels who didn’t respect the boundaries placed on their authority, and how he destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha for their lack of belief.
In all of those cases, the consequence of choosing a life outside of God’s will was both devastating and permanent. It is a dangerous and terrifying thing to ignore, resist or subvert the order of God. Those that met their awful fate were unbelievers — even the angels. After all, those angels chose NOT to believe that God metes out ultimate punishment.
This truth of consequence also applies to believers. While true believers may not experience the ultimate consequences dispensed to unbelievers, they are, nevertheless subject to fallout from bad decisions. Probably, the verse easiest to understand on this truth is Proverbs 3:11-12, where we are told that God disciplines those he loves. The writer of Hebrews 12:4-11develops the concept more fully, explaining that discipline is a sign of God’s love in your life. He describes that discipline as painful. However, this pain can be diminished by simply learning what God wants, and then doing it. Finally, perhaps the greatest negative consequence reaped by a believer is that of missing out on God’s blessing and his relationship. When we live a life of sin, we miss out on the blessing of God’s relationship. In effect, we exchange the deeper pleasure of knowing God more, for the cheap and quick pleasure of satisfying a diseased body and life.