by John E. Werhan
When there is no consequence there is no motivation for compliance.
In this post-modern society, the thought of consequence for one’s actions is deemed unacceptable. The common ideology is that “if it feels good do it” or “if you believe it is alright it is OK.”
This type of thinking has permeated our society and affected the judicial system of our nation. Today if someone breaks the law they can’t understand why they are arrested and why they may face punishment.
For instance, if law enforcement stopped giving tickets for speeding, more people would exceed the speed limit.
When there are no consequences for home invasion, burglary, felony theft, assault, destruction of private and public property, etc. what would detour one from committing these acts? Where there is no punishment for breaking the laws of the land, chaos is certain.
From the beginning of time, God has given humanity laws to live by.
In the Genesis record it notes:
“Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die’” (Genesis 2:15-17).
This context sets the precedent of God’s dealing with humanity and his commands (laws). Adam was to keep the garden and not eat of the tree of knowledge.
The consequence of not obeying God’s commands was death. As one continues studying about Adam and Eve, the text notes that they broke the law of God and were cast from the garden. Not only did Adam and Eve face physical death but they were cast from the presence of God (spiritual death).
James in his New Testament letter notes the law under the Christian dispensation. He calls it the “law of liberty” (James 1:25; 2:12). The children of Israel were under the law given to Moses while the Gentiles had a “law unto themselves” (Romans 2:14).
To break God’s law is sin. John in his first letter defines sin:
“Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).
Paul writing to the Christians at Rome noted the consequences of breaking the law of God:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).
In Galatians chapter five, verses nineteen through twenty-one one can find a listing of sins (lawlessness) recorded. This is not a conclusive listing but note the concluding phrase as to the consequence of practicing such things, “will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:21)”.
Throughout the teachings of God there are laws for humanity to keep. There are also noted consequences for not keeping the law. Even though our society deems consequences unacceptable, God does not.
I wonder what the future holds if our society continues in this manner?