The Worst Consequence
Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. Isaiah 59:2
I occasionally meet those who believe that, because we are forgiven in Christ, God cannot see our sin. Based on passages that say, I will remember their sin no more (Hebrews 8:10), and that Christ died so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21), they believe that God is ignorant of our destructive behavior. God therefore, cannot change his interaction with us when we sin.
Today’s passage says otherwise, and the fact that it was written before Christ’s life and death does not change the God who said it. In the passage, he makes it clear that when we sin, it injures our relationship.
I know this to be true experientially. While in pursuit of myself, I don’t want to think about, talk to, or face God and so I do not and cannot follow him. In turning from God, I naturally create distance and discomfort between us. I do not lose the relationship or lose my salvation, just as I do not become unmarried when I hurt my wife. Similarly, to my marriage though, I injure my relationship with God when I turn from him to follow me.
In pursuit of my own flesh nature, I diminish God’s Spirit life in me (Ephesians 4:30, 1 Thessalonians 5:19). In sowing the seeds of my own flesh, God allows me to experience pain (Galatians 6:8). In running from God, he disciplines me (Hebrew 12:7).
While enslaved to my own destructive choices, I could feel God’s self-imposed deafness. This was perhaps the worst consequence of my toxic choices, to know that God just couldn’t watch my disastrous behavior. When I cried out to God, while putting the pills in my mouth and refusing to repent, his silence was deafening. This is a terrifying place to be.
Thankfully, the opposite is true as well. When we repent, God always forgives and restores. When we stop sowing the seeds of our own destruction and start sowing the seeds of the Spirit, he is always faithful to return his glorious life to us.