by Hadley Robinson
Samson having his eyes gouged out by the Philistine rulers – by Rembrandt
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. – 1 John 2:15-16
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where " `their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.' Everyone will be salted with fire. – Mark 9:44-49
The painting above graphically depicts the consequences of Samson’s love for the world – his disobedience to Christ (Judges 16).
While we do not have the details of his years as a blind slave turning a millstone, we do know that his subsequent life was of such note that he is listed in the hall of faith in Hebrews 11. It can only mean that he repented of his immoral and godless ways, was forgiven, and then served the LORD with his whole heart – which he did and thus fulfilled the prophecy given to his mother before he was born.
As with Samson, there is hope for us when we stumble in our walk with Christ.
But there are consequences for sin, even for the great Samson. What a cost he paid to become a humble and pious saint. No more girls, no more teasing the Philistines, no more boasting, no swelling pride. Had he just obeyed his parents as a young man….
That there are consequences for sin is an important message that is often missing from the popular but modified gospels preached so often. These can include terrible suffering, as Samson discovered, and these:
A fallen world filled with evil and distress for which we suffer every moment (Adam & Eve – Gen. 3)
Sudden death (Ananias & Sapphira – Acts 5)
No descendants (King Ahab – 1 Ki. 21)
Endless and bloody family violence (King David – 2 Sam. 12)
Banishment from sharing in God’s future earthly blessings (Moses – Nu. 20)
A barren womb (Michal – 2 Sam. 6)
Being stoned to death for blasphemy (The son of Shelomith – Lev. 24)
Even an aspiring bishop or elder in the Church must make other plans if he fails to meet the qualifications given in 1Tim. 3. For example, he must be a one woman man. That is, a
man who has kept his covenant vow with the wife of his youth, to love her as Christ loved the Church (Ephesians 5). A man who remarries another woman, whether as a result of a state
decreed divorce or the death of his first wife, is not a one woman man. He is not an adulterer if he is a widower and remarries but he is for any other reason. This is what the
Bible teaches, including the early Church. But
these teachings of Scripture are of little interest to the modern and sensual church going evangelical.
Does Christ abandon the Church if she is adulterous and abandons Him? Does He seek a new bride when He tires of the spiritual prostitution often committed by His beloved? But as the Christians of Constantinople discovered in A.D. 1453, we can be salted with fire, just the same. Our sin is forgiven but doors close – as it does for those men who marry a second time and as it did for the inhabitants of Constantinople.
The Fall of Constantinople to the Turks in A.D. 1453
But this is rarely heard. The latest evangelical paradigm is that God not only forgives sin but that He also removes the consequences of it in this life. This is just another heresy – a false teaching promoted by the humanists whose influence and teachings have been adopted by many in the Church.
If I know that there may be dire consequences for my sin, I might be inclined to take my sin more seriously. I do not want to be like the people of Jerusalem just before it was sacked and burned.
All day long I have held out my hands
to an obstinate people,
who walk in ways not good,
pursuing their own imaginations. – Isaiah 65:2
Obstinate? Samson was tempted and stumbled badly. He was seriously maimed – losing both eyes. He was salted with fire.
But such suffering from the hand of his heavenly Father resulted in his being blessed – but not from any human point of view. This is the rub we face. It is the message from God’s Word that we, as sons, may have to endure severe discipline for our own good.
Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being. – Proverbs 20:30
Do we really want what is best for us? Probably not – but He will see to it….