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No Mark on our Faces. Yet.

11 July 2011 by Matt Gumm

Q. 28. What are the punishments of sin in this world?

A. The punishments of sin in this world are either inward, as blindness of mind, a reprobate sense, strong delusions, hardness of heart, horror of conscience, and vile affections; or outward, as the curse of God upon the creatures for our sakes, and all other evils that befall us in our bodies, names, estates, relations, and employments; together with death itself.

There's a billboard here along the highway which has an anti-meth advertisement. It shows the meth addict's mouth in a before-and-after fashion, demonstrating the destruction that takes place over time from the drug. (Something similar can be found here.) I have to admit, it is an extremely effective illustration of the external effects of sin.

It's easy to focus solely on externals, however. In fact, as human beings, we are prone to do it by our very nature (1 Sam. 16:7). So I love the reminder here that not all of the effects of sin are external, or as easily perceived as the illustration above.

Some of the worst sins don't leave obvious outward evidence. Like the portrait of Dorian Gray, there's no mark on our faces, and our appearance seems unchanged. Meanwhile, our sins are having their effect, though hidden from plain sight.

But even the punishments and consequences of sin in this world can act as God's grace to us. Like nerve endings telling us the stove is hot, they point to the reality that something is broken. By them, we can know something is wrong, so that when the right comes, we might be ready to hear it.