Sin Is Its Own Judgment

From my recent readings I was struck by the idea that the punishment for sin is not necessarily physical suffering or material loss (Job was righteous but he experienced terrible physical and emotional suffering as well as great material loss), but more sin! I am reminded of a verse somewhere in the O.T. (maybe it’s in the Psalms) which goes something like this: “He gave them what they desired but sent leanness to their souls.” Here are the pertinent quotes:

“Fallen human beings have dishonored God; God now acts so that they will dishonor themselves. There is more at stake in this divine giving-up than simply bare permission for people to sin. And there is more at stake than simple cause and effect in the moral realm. God, in fact, is active in this judgment. He no longer restrains human beings in their expressions of sin and so sin becomes, in the short run, its own judgment.”

— David Wells, Above All Earthly Pow’rs (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2005) p. 201

“[O]ur lust is properly the cause of all temptations that vanquish us [James 1:14], and therefore bears the blame… But this does not prevent God, when it seems good to him, from turning us over to Satan, from casting us into a reprobate mind and foul desires, and from leading us into temptations, by a just and often secret judgment.”

— John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (F.L. Battles translation, vol. 2) p. 915

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