Sowing and Reaping

Scripture: Romans 6:23, Revelation 22:14, Exodus 20:4-6
Sometimes laws have been enacted in our country without a penalty. But the Bible teaches that breaking God's law results in death. Is God really that particular about His law? Why didn't God overlook Adam and Eve's first sin? Did Naaman need to dip seven times in the Jordan to be healed?
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In the state of Washington a law was passed taxing retail sales of gasoline but the Legislature slipped up on one important little thing. It failed to attach a penalty for violation of the law. Dealers began collecting the small tax but when they discovered the error in the law they refused to comply with it, and the Legislature had to be called back in a special session to attach a penalty to the violation of the tax law and thus make it effective.

Now let's think about God's law in relation to this. You know, friends, the Ten Commandments would mean absolutely nothing except mere pious platitudes if God didn't put some penalty in it. But the fact is that He has made a penalty for the violation of those Ten Commandment laws. The Bible says, "the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23. And that death, my friends, is eternal death. If you're not, by faith, under the blood of Christ, you're under the curse of sin and headed for eternal loss.

In the Book of Revelation we find seven blessings or beatitudes. The last one is found in the very last chapter, verse 14. "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the Tree of Life and may enter in through the gates into the City." Now I know some people think that God is just too good and too merciful and too long-suffering to be particular in this. Well, let me tell you that God is good and He is merciful and He is long-suffering but He does not overlook sin or transgression. The Book of God says, "He that confesseth and forsaketh his sins shall have mercy." Now there's where the mercy comes in. Anybody who comes with repentance to confess his sins will find forgiveness and salvation. Now in the Bible and in the book of nature also, we find plenty of evidence that God is very particular and means just exactly what He says. The laws of God must be strictly observed or else we'll not reach the goal of eternal life.

Now let's look into the Bible for a moment. You remember how God commanded Adam and Eve that if they just ate from one tree there, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would die. That was to be the penalty of their transgression. Now that penalty would follow one transgression of God's law. That holy pair did eat of the forbidden tree and the results came. The impact of the awful consequences of that one act of disobedience has thrown the world of nature out of its order, and we feel the awful effect of it six thousand years later. Had it not been for the love of God for those He had created, the race of man would have been wiped off the face of the earth. But God said, "I'll send a deliverer." And that deliverer was to be the Son of God as well as the Son of man. Now because of that provision, man has a period here on this earth, a period of probation, when he must show whether he desires to serve God or whether he desires to keep on selling out to sin and transgression.

Now let me ask this question. Why didn't God overlook that one sin? Simply because God's laws are inflexible and they cannot be violated with impunity. God has tried to impress that truth on men right down through the centuries. Let me read one of the ten commandments which teaches this truth very, very clearly. "Thou shalt not make unto Me any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is in the earth beneath or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them, for I, the Lord thy God am a jealous God visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments." Exodus 20: 4-6. Now God is a jealous God, not jealous as we define it in our modern parlance, not one of those base qualities such as we define. He is very particular because the character of God in man is of the very utmost importance and the happiness of every man depends upon this character of God being reproduced in him. And this comes only by obedience.

One day a little Jewish maiden was taken captive back in the days of Elisha the Prophet. This maid was in the home of Naaman, the Captain of the Host of Syria, and she waited on Naaman's wife. Now this man, Naaman, was a great honorable man in the Syrian Empire but he was also a leper. And as this little captive maiden saw him there, she thought about Elisha, the prophet of God, who had worked such great miracles among her own people. So she said to her mistress, "Would God that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria for he would recover him of his leprosy." Well somebody went in and told Naaman what the little girl said, and then somebody must have told the King about it too because the Syrian King told Naaman that he could go down to Israel and find Elisha. He even offered to make up a letter himself to send along to the King of Israel concerning the matter. So Naaman agreed to go, and he took with him the letter and a lot of gifts of gold, silver and valuable garments for the King of Israel as well as Elisha, the prophet. Well, the King of Israel read the letter in which he found this statement, now this is what the King of Syria wrote to him, "I have sent my servant that you may recover him of his leprosy." Well, the King of Israel was very perplexed and so distressed that he rent his clothes. And he said, "Am I god, to kill and to make alive that this man has sent unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? Wherefore consider I pray you, see how he seeketh a quarrel against me?"

Elisha the Prophet heard about the letter and he sent a message to the King of Israel saying, "Let this man come over to me and he'll know that there is a prophet in Israel." Well, Naaman was sent over to the Prophet. His chariots rumbled away from the King's palace and soon came to a halt right in front of Elisha's humble door. Now notice something, friends. The prophet didn't even go out to meet him, but he sent a messenger out there with the instructions to Naaman, "You go and wash in the River Jordan seven times and thy flesh shall come again to thee and thou shalt be clean." Well Naaman was very angry over this thing and he turned away. He was indignant at this procedure. What a strange way to treat him. He had come all the way down here to see this man and he hadn't even had the decency to come out and see him in person. Well, friends, this was God's way of doing it, of course, and healing was going to depend on following those instructions of God through the prophet in every detail. Well, Naaman had another idea. He wanted to go back up to Syria. He said, "We have better rivers up there, clean, clear rivers to bathe in, not this old muddy water of the Jordan." But his servants pleaded with him and begged him and finally they prevailed on him to go and follow the directions of the prophet. So he went over to the River Jordan and dipped six times but nothing happened. His leprosy was still just as bad as ever. Then maybe he was about to turn away in anger, but he dipped once more as the prophet said he should, and when he came up this time, the seventh time, his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a child, the Bible says, and he was clean. Now friends, the healing was not in the water nor in the dipping seven times. But the power of God lies at the end of perfect and explicit obedience to God's requirements. Were there no other incidents in the Bible, we would understand from this what God means when He says, "to obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of rams."

When Saul was King of Israel, he tried to deviate just a little bit from God's requirements and to substitute his own ways, but it ended up in tragedy and Saul lost his kingdom and it passed from his posterity to another family. The prophet told Saul that because he had sought to substitute for God's requirements, the Kingdom would be taken from him and given to another. Now God is the same today as He was then. His laws are always to be observed and He will never hold anybody guiltless who disregards them in the least way. The story of Ananias and Sapphira in the 5th chapter in the Book of Acts in the New Testament tells the same great truth, that God means what He says. The laws of God can't be disregarded with impunity.

Now let's look into the natural world and into the world of science and mathematics. The laws that govern those sciences are just as truly the laws of God as the moral law of the Ten Commandments. To the architect and the builder, the tensile strength of timbers and beams, of wood and steel, is computed upon known laws in the world of materials. If those laws were to be disregarded by those builders, what a catastrophe would occur. Should those laws change from time to time, what a loss it would bring upon the building trade. Because God's laws are rigid and inflexible, we have what we have today. Upon the basis of these laws, inventions have been made and perfected. Our automobiles are constructed on the certainty of those laws. Our skyscrapers stand because God's laws in the world of science stand fast and they never change. In the chemical world the laws of God are equally necessary. Perhaps nowhere else are the laws of God more inflexible than in the world of chemistry. Could we take you into the laboratory you would appreciate this fact. Also that these laws are absolute and that obedience to them is of primary consideration. One tiny misstep and what would otherwise be a blessing could bring disaster. The formulas have to be followed exactly in order to get the desired results. Now what is true in the chemical world, is equally true in the electrical world. Delicately balanced are the laws governing electronics. We have the wonders of sound and sight mechanically because we've discovered God's laws in the physical world. And when we follow them exactly, we get some wonderful results.

There's another field where we see the inflexible laws of God operate and that's in the human body. God made the body wonderful and perfect and then committed it to us to keep. What your body is and how it performs and how long it will last depends on how you treat it. The body requires certain elements of nutrition to keep it functioning properly. It's therefore the very highest importance that we understand foods and other things that affect our body. The laws that govern here also are the laws of God. It's a law of God from which there can be no deviation that if we want to maintain healthy bodies we must supply them with wholesome nutritious food in a well-balanced diet.

Can you deprive your body of certain required elements and hope to remain well and strong? Absolutely not. And for every violation we pay the price, cancer, diabetes, heart trouble, arthritis, and a thousand other ills follow as the price men and women are paying for their ignorance of the inflexible laws of God that govern the body. Can you smoke and drink and drink and drink and not pay a price for such folly and such disregard of the laws of health? God made man in His own image. Your obesity, your creaking bones in middle age, your muddy complexion, your broken-down hearts, and many other ailments are your sacrifice on the altar of ignorance or worse, your disregard of God's laws concerning your body. It's a fearful price and too high to pay, friends. When you complain that your grocery bills are too high, think of these other bills and ask yourself if these bills for your ignorance and self-indulgence are not too high also.

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