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Cause and Effect

Cause and Effect

     We’ve all likely heard of ‘cause and effect’. The definition of this phrase per Mariam Webster is: “the direct relationship between an action or event and its consequence or result”. Many today think that everything that happens does so because of something else. This is not a new phenomenon. In Job 4:7 we see Eliphaz accuse Job, supposing Job brought his present misery upon himself. We then read of Bildad’s accusation in Job 8:6, again assuming Job’s sins were the cause for which he was afflicted. Finally, in Job 11:3-14, Zophar opines that Job should be more greatly punished for ‘supposed’ sins he had committed.
     As we move to the time of Christ, this idea still prevailed. In John 9:1, as the Lord returned from the Mount of Olives, He passed by a man who was blind from birth. In verse two, the mindset of the Lord’s disciples which prompted a question was apparent. They asked Him if the man or His parents had sinned to bring this upon the man. Christ’s answer from verse three is noticeably clear. Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. Christ simply used a ‘current situation’ for which no one was at fault and performed a miracle to glorify God.
     Sin is not ‘passed on’ from generation to generation as some falsely teach. This was made clear in Ezek. 18:20 long before the time of Christ. The Spirit had this prophet tell Israel: The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. Each is responsible for their own soul. This is not to say there is no ‘cause and effect’ associated with some disobedience. For instance, in Hos. 4:6 where God’s people (Israel) were “destroyed for lack of knowledge”, their children would be forgotten by God because the parents failed to instruct the children to seek God and His Word. The parent’s lack of teaching is the cause, and the effect is their children’s disobedience because they did not teach them the Word of God.   All parents ought to consider this.
     As adults we are required to make decisions. Our choices are the cause, and the result is the effect. This is true in business, marriages, and all other areas of life. This is especially true as we consider our souls. In Gal. 6:7-8 this is clearly taught. The Christians in these congregations were warned that the choices they made (cause) would have an eternal impact (effect) on their souls. Paul was directed to write: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Our choice to live ‘for the flesh’ (serve self), is not making any preparation for the afterlife. Failure to properly prepare in accordance with God’s Word is the cause, and eternity separated from God in a devil’s Hell is the effect.
     We need to be reminded that not everything that happens can be attributed to cause and effect. Eccl. 9:12 teaches that sometimes people die suddenly. For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them. Some of these deaths are caused by accidents and such. Some might argue in these cases that such a death is the effect, and the accident was the cause. While it may be a bit ‘cliché’, death is simply a part of life. A birth is the beginning of life outside of the womb, and death is the cessation of life. Death has also been defined as a separation.
     This is certainly true in the physical realm as Jas. 2:26 teaches. This passage also teaches that ‘faith only’ is equally dead. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. Death can also mean separation without the cessation of physical life as is depicted in Gen. chapter 3. Man had been warned and the woman also knew the warning from God. In Gen. 3:2-3 we find: And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. The closing verses in the chapter show that man (and woman) faced death (separation from God) as they were banished from the Garden forever. There was certainly ‘cause and effect’ in this situation as their ‘sin’ was the cause and their punishment was the effect.
     Each of us are going to face death. This is certain as life itself. In Josh. 23:14, shortly before his death, Joshua made this proclamation: And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: This is much the same as David stated as he charged Solomon in 1Kings 2:2-3 not long before David died. He told his son he was going to die, and that Solomon needed to follow God’s Ways for his own benefit. He said: I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; We too shall face death per Heb. 9:27.  Notice what else this passage teaches. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
     When time is no more and the Lord returns, earth will be destroyed, and the judgement will take place. In 2Cor. 5:10, the apostle warned those brethren of the ultimate in ‘cause and effect’. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Why not make the needed changes today? Whatever ‘effect’ or judgment you receive will be what you have caused.

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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