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The consequence of sin

1. Separation from God

The universal consequence of sin is separation from God and loss of fellowship with him (Genesis 3:23-24; Isaiah 59:2). In the story of the Fall, Adam and Eve disobey the command of God and give in to the temptation to sin. They seek to evade the Lord's presence, hiding from him among the trees of the garden. He calls out to them but their response to his seeking is fear (Genesis 3:8-13).

Though God seeks us, and we are sometimes aware of his presence, there remains a separation caused by our disobedience, with resulting guilt and fear. Separated from God, the source of community, our relationships are threatened. Isolation and fragmentation destroy the fragile communion we have with one another and the created world. This profound sense of isolation may stimulate a search for truth about the meaning of life. But only a desire to turn to him will result in an encounter with the living God (Deuteronomy 4:29-31; Jeremiah 29:13-14; Hebrews 11:6).

For God's part, the consequence of sin is the punishment of the disobedient. In the Genesis narrative, Adam and Eve are banished from the garden where they have enjoyed God's presence and companionship. They experience the reality of the wrath of God (Genesis 3:14-24).

2. The wrath of God

Divine wrath is evidence of the faithfulness of God, who is righteous and true to himself. It is not a way of describing extreme or uncontrolled anger in God, but is a powerful expression of his love and holiness. In his wrath, God judges, condemns and is unable to tolerate sin, while in his love he seeks to bring us to repentance (Isaiah 48:9-11; John 3:36). In the book of Revelation, for example, it is the Lamb, embodying the saving love of God in Christ, who also expresses God's enduring wrath towards the impenitent (Revelation 5:6-10; Revelation 6:15-17). It is our own sin that brings the wrath of God upon us (Romans 2:5-11). 

The wrath of God is purposeful and disciplinary at present, designed to lead us toward repentance. But although restrained now, in the final consummation that wrath will be complete when God's righteous judgment will be revealed to the ultimately unrepentant (John 5:28-29).

The Bible links our sinful state, our separation from God, and the wrath of God, with the sting or anguish of death. It also warns of the dreadful possibility of spiritual death resulting in final separation from God. To reject God's mercy is to risk becoming unable to respond to divine love. The consequence is that we die in sin (John 8:24; Ephesians 2:1-3).