There is a general confusion about which type of sin leads to death and which sin does not lead death, as mentioned in 1 John 5:16, 17. In this epistle, John is writing to the saved. He wrote, “If anyone sees his brother [in Christ] sinning a sin which does not lead to death” (1 John 5:16), he can pray for forgiveness and God will forgive (1 John 1:9) and not chasten him to the point of physical death. But if the believer commits sin leading to physical death, and God so judges him, prayer cannot change God’s verdict. Not all sins committed by believers lead to death, but some do (1 John 5:17). Also, not all who die before they reach old age die a premature death.
The day that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit they died. They committed the sin unto death in the Garden of Eden. God said to Adam, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16, 17). When Adam, the head of our race, sinned, he died and all of the human race died in his loins; his sin corrupted his seed (1 Peter 1:23). “For as in Adam all die” (1 Corinthians 15:22). Since then, with one exception, every human being that has been or will be born of woman is born in sin (Psalm 51:5). The one exception is Jesus Christ, who was born of the Virgin Mary, who remained a virgin until after the birth of God the Son (Luke 1:26 38). In the first Adam all died, but in the last Adam (Christ), all believers are given eternal life (1 Corinthians 15:45 49). One represented us unto death, the other unto life eternal.
A sin that leads to physical death can be committed by the saved or the unsaved. Even though all have an appointment with death, because of the original sin (Hebrews 9:27), it is possible for the saved or unsaved to so sin that the Lord will take them out of this life before their otherwise appointed time.
There are many consequences of sin. Following are but a few of them.
16-1 Consequences of Sin in the Days of Noah
Those who committed the sin that leads to physical death in the antediluvian age were unsaved. The whole human race, apart from Noah and his family, died prematurely. God in His grace gave them 120 years to repent, but they rejected God’s message and His messenger. Therefore, when the judgment of God fell upon them they were “without excuse” (Romans 1:20). They committed the sin that leads to eternal separation from the mercy of God (1 Peter 3:18 20). The sovereign purpose of God, in the days of Noah, is clearly seen to have been twofold: first, judgment upon those who, by choice, followed a life of sin that led to eternal death; second, salvation for Noah and his family, whom God found righteous. Now let us observe
1) What the Lord saw in the days of Noah:
a) “The wickedness of man was great in the earth” (6:5).
b) “The earth was filled with violence” (6:11).
c) “All flesh had corrupted their way [life style] on the earth” (6:12). Just before the Lord Jesus comes back to set up His kingdom, the earth will be filled with violence and moral corruption will prevail “as in the days before the flood” (Matthew 24:38, 39).
2) How the Lord felt in the days of Noah: “And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth.” God felt a sense of loss because “God is love” (1 John 4:8). “He was grieved in His heart” (6:6).
3) What the Lord said in the days of Noah:
a) “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever” (6:3). He was long suffering (1 Peter 3:20).
b) “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth” (6:7).
c) ”The end of all flesh has come before Me” (6:13).
d) “Come into the ark, you and all your household” (7:1).
4) What the Lord did in the days of Noah:
a) God gave Noah the plans for the ark (6:14 16).
b) God established His covenant with Noah (6:18). To accomplish His perfect will, God always chooses a person and works through him for the good of all.
c) God filled the ark with Noah and his family, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the air (7:1 3).
d) God shut the door of the ark. The world was shut out when Noah and his family were shut in (7:16).
e) God sent the Flood and destroyed every living thing that was not in the ark (7:21¬24).
f) “God remembered Noah” (8:1). The Lord will never forget His own.
There is a sin that leads to eternal separation from God, His love, and His mercy. The way of sin seems right to man, but the end is death (Proverbs 14:12).
16-2 Consequences of Sin at Kadesh Barnea
(Numbers 32:6 13)
The nation Israel reached Kadesh Barnea after two years in the wilderness. At Kadesh Barnea they so sinned against the Lord that He passed judgment upon them, saying, “The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness… from twenty years old and above” (Numbers 14:29 32; Deuteronomy 1:1 – ¬2:1). They committed the sin that leads to death. For the next thirty eight years, every adult twenty years old and above died a premature death, except Joshua and Caleb, who believed that God could give them Canaan. During the two years prior to reaching Kadesh Barnea, Israel witnessed many miracles, some in Egypt and some in the wilderness.
The question is, how could Israel witness so many miracles and then turn their backs on God in unbelief? (Numbers 14:11). They had faith to forsake Egypt and cross the wilderness, but not enough faith to enter God’s Promised Land. “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief’ (Hebrews 3:16 19). In the book of Hebrews, God warns us –lest we commit the sin that leads to a premature death—“ ‘Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion [in the wilderness]’. Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God” (Hebrews 3:8 12).
16-3 Consequences of Sin: The Fiery Serpents
(Numbers 21:4 9)
Near the end of their forty years of wandering in the wilderness, some of the people sinned the sin that leads to death. In unbelief they spoke against God and Moses. “So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died” (v. 6). Their sin was threefold. It was a sin of unbelief against:
1) God. “And the people spoke against God…‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?’ ” (v. 5). Unbelief always cries, “WHY?”
2) Moses. “And the people spoke against God and against Moses” (v. 5). They were discouraged because the way was hard; they spoke against God, blaming Him and Moses. Moses had come to them in Egypt in the name of the Lord, saying, “I AM has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:13 15). There is always a price to pay when you go forth to do the will of God in the name of the Lord. Moses suffered because he was doing good, but his persecutors suffered to the point of death because they were doing evil (1 Peter 3:15 17).
3) God’s provision for them. They said, “There is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread”—manna, bread from heaven (v. 5). God in His mercy gave them water from the rock, and for forty years He gave them bread from heaven. Instead of praising the Lord for providing for them, they complained about the menu and accused God and Moses of bringing them there to die.
Many of the Israelites were dying prematurely because they had sinned unto death. The people came to Moses believing, repenting, and confessing, “We have sinned.” Then they named their sin: “For we have spoken against the Lord and against you” (v. 7; cf. 1 John 1:9). God made the people taste the bitter fruits of their sin. Then they begged Moses to pray that God would take the serpents away. Moses prayed and God answered his prayer, but not according to the wishes of the people. They begged God to take the serpents away. The Lord told Moses to make a serpent of bronze and put it on a pole, so that all who were bitten would live when they looked at it. By faith they must go to the bronze serpent and look at it, believing that God would heal them. This was an act of faith; only those who thus exercised faith lived.
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (John 3:14 18). As we look to Jesus, placing our faith in Him, we can be saved from the fires of eternal hell (John 3:36) and live with Him forever and ever.
16-4 Consequences of Sin Committed by Nadab and Abihu
(Leviticus 10:1 10)
The sin unto death committed by Nadab and Abihu is difficult to define because there is so much involved. Their sin was so heinous that the fire of God fell upon them and they died instantly, yet their bodies and clothing were not consumed. The fire that fell upon them was God’s holiness manifested in judgment on two of His carnal servants (Hebrews 12:29). They were:
1) Privileged young priests. What an honor to be called of God to the priesthood, to be a mediator between God and men! In this they were a type of Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). Aaron, the high priest, was their father; they were in line for the office of the high priest. Moses, one of the truly great men of all times, was their uncle. Yet, privileged as they were, God judged them severely.
2) Presumptuous young priests They were unstable in spiritual things. They may have acted in ignorance, and under the influence of wine or strong drink (v. 9). Yet they were without excuse (Romans 1:20). The sin of Nadab and Abihu was committed when they performed a holy act of worship in the energy of the flesh. They offered profane fire before the Lord in the Most Holy Place, as a substitute for the fire on the brazen altar (Leviticus 6:12, 13; 16:12). It was “will worship,” by carnal means, in the presence of almighty God in His shekinah glory (Exodus 40:34 38). It is possible that when they entered the Holy Place to worship, they were carried away with a combination of religious enthusiasm and jealousy against Moses and Aaron. Whatever their reasons, they did the right thing (worship) the wrong way—in the wrong spirit, using the wrong method, at the wrong time, moved by the wrong motive. They broke God’s commandments and offered the wrong fire before the Lord.
3) Perishable young priests. They may have thought themselves immune to the judgments of God because of who they were. If so, they soon learned that “God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34). “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12, 13). We are all perishable as long as we are in this body of flesh. The great apostle Paul knew that he was perishable, and he feared, lest he should become unfit for the ministry, becoming one of God’s rejects (1 Corinthians 9:25 27).
We have often heard it said that “the end justifies the means.” The judgment of Nadab and Abihu brands this notion as a big lie. The truth is, the right end is never reached by the wrong means. The wrong means will always bring you to the wrong end.
16-5 Consequences of Sin Committed by Moses and Aaron
(Numbers 20:1 13)
For forty years Moses was a tower of spiritual strength to the nation Israel, as he led them through the wilderness. The world has yet to see his equal as a leader and statesman. No servant of God endured more unjust criticism from his congregation than Moses. However, not even Moses and Aaron were exempted from a premature end of life on earth: each committed a sin unto death. During their wanderings, the Israelites went into the desert of Zin where “there was no water for the congregation…they gathered together against Moses and Aaron” (vv.l 5). Then Moses and Aaron left that angry rebellious congregation and “fell on their faces” in the doorway of the tabernacle. Then “the glory of the Lord appeared to them” (v. 6).
1) The Lord instructed Moses to:
a) “Take the rod”;
b) “Gather the congregation together”;
c) “Speak to the rock.”
“Thus [the promised result] you shall bring water for them out of the rock” (v. 8).
Moses and Aaron obeyed the Lord in all that He had commanded, until Moses stood before the people. Then he lost his temper and called them rebels. This was not the sin unto death; it was the truth.
2) The sin unto death committed by Moses and Aaron was:
a) Presumptuousness. Moses took liberties and overstepped divine boundaries when he said, “Must we [Moses and Aaron] bring water for you out of this rock?” (v. 10). Moses, in the energy of the flesh, took all the credit for Aaron and himself for the miracle of bringing water from the rock. Aaron’s sin was in concurring with Moses. He did not speak, or strike the rock; he stood by Moses and gave silent consent to all that Moses said and did.
b) Disobedience. God said, “Speak to the rock” (v. 8), but Moses took his rod and “struck the rock twice.. .and water came out abundantly” (v. 11). This is a great lesson; even though Moses and Aaron failed the Lord, their disobedience did not alter the faithfulness of the Lord (2 Timothy 2:13). Moses and Aaron failed God, but God did not fail the people.
c) Unbelief. The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not believe Me… therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land” (v. 12). God told Moses to speak to the rock, but in unbelief Moses struck it instead, giving the appearance that he and Aaron (not God) had the power to bring forth water miraculously.
For the account of Aaron’s premature death, see verses 23 29. For the account of Moses’ premature death, see Deuteronomy 34:1 12.
16-6 Consequences of Sin Committed by Ananias and Sapphira
(Acts 5:1 11)
The fourth chapter of Acts closes with a beautiful picture of the young Jerusalem church. It was pure and powerful. “They had all things in common” (Acts 4:32 37). They had great power to witness and great grace to share in spiritual and material things.
The first word in the fifth chapter of Acts is “But,” which suggests a contrast—a change within the congregation. Up to this chapter there was no major sin in the church. Barnabas owned some land, and out of love for Christ and His church he sold it and gave all the profits to the church. It must have been the talk of the congregation.
Ananias and Sapphira sold a possession and brought part of the profits to the Lord, pretending to bring all. This sin led to their premature deaths.
1) The origin of their sin was Satan. Peter asked Ananias, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” (v. 3). This was Satan’s first opportunity to bring sin into the church (but not his last). It is not sin in the world that defeats the church, but sin within the congregation. Before the church can clean up the world, it must first repent, confess, and forsake the sins within the assembly. See Revelation 3:14 22 for a true description of today’s common local church. No wonder so many local churches are powerless!
2) A sin within the fellowship of believers led to the death of Ananias and Sapphira. It consisted of :
a) Deception. They pretended to give all when they gave only a part. They did not have to give any; they could have given any amount and pleased the Lord, had they been honest (Galatians 6:7, 8).
b) Covetousness. They wanted the glory that was showered upon Barnabas and others in the church, but they did not believe that God could take care of them.
c) Double mindedness. They had no stability (James 1:5 8). They tried to get the best of two kingdoms—the kingdom of Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4) and the kingdom of God (Romans 14:17).
d) Hypocrisy (Matthew 23:13 15). It has been said, “A hypocrite is a person who pretends outwardly to be what he never intends to be inwardly.”
e) Lying. They lied to God the Holy Spirit (vv. 3, 4).
The amazing part of this Scripture is that it shows us that the church was so pure that sin could not live in its holy atmosphere.
16-7 Consequences of Sin in the Corinthian Church
(1 Corinthians 11:17 34)
In this portion of Scripture the apostle Paul is correcting one of the errors of the Corinthian church—the manner in which they were observing the Lord’s Supper. Some of the members had sinned, resulting in death. Paul warned the church, saying, “For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep” i.e., may sleep in death (vv. 30, 32). The sins that led to weakness, sickness, and death were:
1) Division. They were divided over personalities (1 Corinthians 1:11 13).
2) Dissension. They tolerated heresies—wrong doctrine (vv. 18, 19) which caused divisions among the people. We are not told what the heresies were, but it is clear that there were factions and cliques held together by social function, or some theory or doctrine.
3) Drunkenness. Some became drunk (v. 21).
4) Discrimination. They shamed the poor among them, and showed no respect for the Lord and His church (v. 22).
5) Departure. They left the proper observance of the Lord’s Supper by failing to “proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (vv. 26 30). The Lord’s Supper is an illustrated sermon in two parts:
a) It looks back to His vicarious death on the cross for our sins (1 Peter 1:18. 19).
b) It looks forward to His Second Coming as King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16), when He will establish His kingdom on this earth and reign upon His kingdom throne (Matthew 25:31 46).
6) Defective partaking. They ate the bread and drank the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner (v. 27). They must have thought themselves worthy to take the Lord’s Supper; the only ones truly worthy to take the Lord’s Supper are those who recognize their total unworthiness. It is the honest recognition of one’s unworthiness that makes one worthy. If you feel worthy to partake, you are unworthy.
Master Outline 16 – Consequences of Sin
 There is confusion about which type of ______________________ leads to death and which
______________________ does not lead to death.
 What death is being spoken of in 1 John 5:17?
 What two (2) trees were in the garden that the Lord spoke to Adam and Eve about?
 Did Adam’s sin corrupt the seed in his loin? YES or NO. Explain.
 Did Jesus inherit this sin through His seed? YES or NO. Explain.
 A sin that leads to physical death can only be committed by an unbeliever? TRUE or FALSE. Explain.
 The whole human race apart from Noah and his family died prematurely. TRUE or FALSE. Explain.
 What was the sovereign purpose of God in the days of Noah? (List 2 items)
 What three (3) things did the Lord see in the days of Noah?
 How did the Lord feel in the days of Noah?
 What four (4) things did the Lord say in the days of Noah?
 What six (6) things did God do in the days of Noah?
 What was the sin that leads to death that the Israelites committed at Kadesh Barnea?
 What did the Kadesh Barnea experience say about the Israelites’ faith?
 What does the scripture say caused them from entering the Promise Land?
 Near the end of their forty years of wandering, the Israelites’ sinned the sin that led to premature death. What was it?
 The Israelites’ sin was directed against what? (List 3 items)
 What did Moses do for the Israelites?
 What spiritual significance did the experience have?
 What three (3) “P’s” can be used to describe Nadab and Abihu?
 The saying, “The end justifies the mean” is a spiritual truth. TRUE or FALSE. Explain.
 Moses endured more unjust _________________________ than any other servant of God.
 What were God’s instructions to Moses in Numbers 20:8?
 What is the three-fold nature of Moses and Aaron’s sin in Numbers 20:1-13?
 What two (2) words describe the young church at Jerusalem mentioned in Acts 4:32-37?
 Who was the originator of Ananias’ and Sapphira’s sin?
 Does the sin in the world defeat the church? YES or NO. Explain.
 What three (3) things must the church do before it can help the world?
 The sin of Ananias and Sapphira has a five- fold nature, consisting of what?
 What’s the most amazing part of this scripture in Acts 5:1-11?
 What error was Paul correcting in the church in 1 Corinthians 11:1-4?
 What are six (6) sins that lean to weakness, sickness, and death?