The Death-Penalty of Sin
Job 24:19
Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so does the grave those which have sinned.

Job admits this as. freely as his friends. Sin must lead to the grave. It may not do this so swiftly as the friends assume; nor may the course thither be what they anticipate. But, in the long run, a man's sin must be his death.

I. THE SPECIFIC PENALTY OF SIN IS DEATH. Sin may fulfil, and more than fulfil, some of its promises first; but the end is death. This dreadful fact, which is made clear to us from the story of Adam and Eve, throughout the whole of the Old and New Testaments, is obscured by popular conceptions of the future. The Church has regarded pain as the main consequence of sin. The gruesome mediaeval hell has been presented to the trembling sinner as the goal of his evil course. Now suffering, bitter and grievous, is in store for the impenitent, for Christ speaks of "wailing and gnashing of teeth." But suffering is not the only end of sin. Much more frequent than any references to the suffering of the wicked are the Scripture warnings of death and destruction. Whatever interpretation we put upon these warnings - whether we take them as denoting absolute extinction of being, pure annihilation, or whether we regard them as pointing to some corrupting, dissolving influence - they mean something else than keen, wakeful pain.

II. THE DEATH-PENALTY IS A NATURAL CONSEQUENCE OF SIN. Job tells us that the effect is like that of drought and heat consuming the snow-waters. No destroying angel need be sent forth with flaming sword to cut down the army of sinners. They are their own destroyers. The sword is in their own conduct. This is often seen in the physical effects of vice, which sows seeds of disease, and hastens premature decay. It is always present in the moral consequences of evil. The spiritual nature is diseased, corrupted, lowered. Powers and faculties fade and wither away. The true self shrinks and shrivels. Existence in the body on earth becomes a living death. When the life of the body is gone it is difficult to see what life is left, for this life seemed to be all that was possessed.

III. THE DEATH-PENALTY CAN ONLY BE AVOIDED BY THE GENERATION OF A NEW LIFE. Sentence has gone out against us; the sentence is in our own constitution. Here is the difficulty. If it were external, an external process might abolish it; but seeing that it is internal, it must be dealt with internally. No mere decree of pardon will be sufficient, for the poison is in the blood, the death is already at work there. A simple order of forgiveness can do nothing. The pressing need is for an antidote within. Nay, the old self has been so injured and corrupted by sin, that a new life is needed. We are beyond cure; we are like lepers who have lost limbs in their disease. Healing is not enough; a new creation is necessary. Now, this is just what Christ effects. He does not only give external pardon, he is not satisfied to manipulate legal points; he regenerates. He says, "Ye must be born again (John 3:3); and St. Paul tells us that he that is in Christ Jesus is a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). - W.F.A.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have sinned.

WEB: Drought and heat consume the snow waters, so does Sheol those who have sinned.

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