The Wages of Sin

I was reading my Google news feed this morning:

The sheer sinfulness implied by the headlines reminded me of a sermon I heard years ago. Entitled “How much is your sin going to cost me?”, it was preached by our former pastor, Ted Haggard, who would have done well to listen to himself. Ted related that he was an overseer for a large church in another state. The previous week, that church’s pastor had admitted to having an affair with another church member, and Ted had had to drop everything and go help the church deal with the crisis. As a result, he wasn’t here in town to perform a wedding for a couple who really wanted him to officiate. This other church’s pastor’s indiscretion had hurt a couple he didn’t even know.

We all know what happened a few years later. Ted himself owned up to some serious sinning, left his pulpit in disgrace, and the overseers of New Life had to come and deal with the situation. I wonder if they missed any weddings. (And I wonder if the couple Ted didn’t marry now considers that last minute change in plans a blessing.)

My point isn’t to rehash old news. Rather, I started thinking about how often we are hurt by sin. Wars and murders are obvious examples. So is being the victim of a burglary, or slander, or a cheating spouse.

Many entire professions exist solely because of sin. Attorneys, police detectives, and locksmiths (and much of Las Vegas) come immediately to mind, but the more I thought about it, the more examples I came up with. For instance, how about cash register workers?

Pete told me about a story in a book he had read—how a dairy farmer in the Netherlands used to just milk his cows, put the milk jugs in the refrigerator, and leave the barn unlocked. Anyone wanting to buy milk would help themselves, leaving the money in a box provided.

Then, someone started stealing milk. Now the dairy farmer needed to hire a person to make sure everyone paid. The cost of milk went up to cover the sales person’s wages. Everyone who bought milk literally paid for the thief’s sin.

We pay for sin in thousands of ways. From hurt feelings to physical suffering, broken families and broken people, sin takes its toll. Paul wrote:

Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. (Romans 8:20-22)

Then, look what sin has cost God! The One who paid the highest price for our sin is Jesus.

As I’ve mentioned, my Bible reading lately has been in the book of Revelation. The ending reminds me of why I’ve always loved fairy tales. We really will live happily ever after! So when we finally arrive at that day, living forever in a sinless world ruled by God, what other professions will be obsolete?

Just think—no more nurses, doctors, or phlebotomists! You’ll never again need to wait for lab results or recover from surgery. No more life insurance agents or funeral directors.

You’ll be able to board a plane (if planes still exist) without being groped. With nothing to write about, the tabloids will go out of business.

With God in control, we won’t need any more politicians. Amen to that!

We won’t need evangelists or missionaries, either. And will we still need preachers and teachers? Or will knowing God face to face be more than enough?


How much of your job involves dealing with the results of sin? What has sin cost you?

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