The Hidden Costs Of Sin
Study Text: Genesis 20th Chapter
Memory Verse: " For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is
eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23
Many of us have purchased homes, cars and other items that come with
additional charges–charges that, unfortunately, can sometimes change the final
price dramatically. In such instances these additional costs are referred to as
"hidden"; they aren’t that noticeable until the final bill is
tallied. However, purchasing material items is not the only area in which these
unpleasant additions occur. Through this week’s text we discover that the sin
in our lives can also come with "hidden costs" that affect our lives
In Genesis 20 we see that while Abraham and Sarah lived in Gerar, Abraham
told the people of that region that Sarah was his sister. Thinking that she was
a single woman, the king, Abimelech, sent for her and took her as his wife
(2nd). Afterwards, God came to Abimelech in a dream and told him, "You are
as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman
In the 3rd verse we see the OBVIOUS cost of Abimelech’s sin–death. As
Romans 6:23 tells us, "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is
eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." If we sin, we’re just wrong!! And
there’s a price that we will pay. But remember, God is a JUST God; the next
verses of our text show us how just He is.
Even though Abimelech had married Sarah, he had not consummated the
marriage, so he appealed to God not to destroy his nation. He also pointed out
that he had acted with a clear conscience because both Abraham and Sarah told
him the same lie (4th & 5th). God responded to Abimelech’s plea by saying,
"I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from
sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her (6th)." Now
even though God had prevented Abimelech from sinning (sexually) against Him,
Abimelech still had sinned. He had taken another man’s wife. Some of us may
say, "But Abimelech didn’t know. He was innocent." Unfortunately that
did not matter. Sin… is sin… is sin.
Next, God instructed Abimelech to either return Sarah to her husband and
live or keep Sarah in his household and die (pay the cost) (7th). Now, I like
Abimelech because he had some good ol’ common sense. He didn’t take his own
sweet time in putting things right with God. That is probably why God restored
him in the end. The King James version tells us Abimelech rose EARLY in the
morning and began to set things straight (8th). He called Abraham in and asked
him, "What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you have
brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom?" You have done things to
me that should not have been done. What is your reason for doing
this?"(9th & 10th)
Now I know that many of us have been in Abimelech’s shoes, especially regarding
friendships or relationships. We wonder, "what have I done to cause this
person to treat me this way? Do I really deserve this?" Well in this text
we see two similarities to those friendships/relationships: The Excuses those
friends/significant others give for their actions and The Way We Should Respond
After being cornered Abraham gave his reasons for what he did; "I said
to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me
because of my wife.’ Besides she really is my sister, the daughter of my
father. . ." (12th &13th). So first, he tried to justify his actions
by using the old strategy "You were probably going to do that so I did
this." However, most of the time this is just an excuse our friends use to
do what they want to do, not what they know is right. In addition, Abraham told
a half-truth (when he claimed that Sarah was technically his sister); but it
was told to deceive which made it a lie.
Abraham even went so far as to try to blame God partially. He stated,
"And it came to pass, when God CAUSED me to wander from my father’s
house.." [FYI – This is not new for humans: In Genesis 3:12 Adam attempted
to blame God for his sin because of the woman God "gave" him.]
THE WAY WE SHOULD RESPOND:
(1) Get right with God.
Abimelech returned Sarah to her husband but he also gave
Abraham and Sarah livestock, slaves, money and land (14th-16th) to cover the
offense against both of them. By going beyond what the Lord instructed him to
do, Abimelech ensured that he made things right with God.
(2) Get away from the problem people!
Abimelech’s actions were two-fold. The reason he made Sarah
and Abraham so "well off" was probably to get them away from him.
Even if they lived in his kingdom (remember he gave them land anywhere in his
kingdom), he probably thought, "As long as I don’t have to deal with these
lying folk that almost killed me I’ll be alright."
Some of our suffering is probably just like Abimelech’s. It
comes from being associated with the wrong people. Therefore, separate
yourselves from those that you know you shouldn’t be with. If we follow the
first two steps, the third step will automatically follow.
(3) Get Your Blessing & Get Restored.
After Abimelech was obedient to God, the promises of God were fulfilled. God
healed Abimelech, his wife and his slave girls so that they could have children
again, for the Lord had closed up every womb in Abimelech’s household. [THE
Let’s really, really, really look at this. We see that unknowingly, Abimelech
was put into a sinful situation. Because of this sin He and even his entire
household were punished to some degree. But none of them were aware of their
punishment [the hidden cost] until restoration had occurred.
We should understand at least two things from this chapter of Genesis: (1) The
Power of Repentance and (2) The Hidden Cost Of Sin.
(1) The Power Of Repentance.
We see that once Abimelech repented, he and his household
were fully restored. He didn’t just say I’m sorry but he made sure that it
didn’t happen again by separating himself from the problem (Sarah &
Abraham). Therefore we should earnestly repent in an effort to "sin
less" on our way to becoming "sinless."
(2) The Hidden Cost of Sin
Most of the time we don’t know what the "HIDDEN
COST" of sin really is. But whatever the sin is – THERE IS A COST.
Whether it is exposure of the sinner’s sin or the denial of blessings, THERE IS
A COST. And although it may not be readily apparent, the price we pay is death:
the absence of living our lives to the full, the absence of the Lord’s power in
every area of our lives.
Many of us know people who are having sex in an ungodly
manner (fornicating, committing adultery, etc.). Don’t think just because these
people don’t have HIV, AIDS or unwanted children that there is no cost.
Remember Abimelech’s sterility—there is a cost. Also, the sin and the cost
don’t necessarily have to correlate. For example, a sinner may defy God in the
area of sex, yet his/her punishment may be found in his/her health (ulcers,
migraines or mental unrest).
Therefore, the next time you are led into temptation ask yourself, "What
am I giving up?" "Am I losing that promotion I have been
desiring?" "Am I losing that new job I’ve been waiting for?"
"Am I losing that special mate that God has for me?" Let’s stop
paying hidden costs and start getting "paid" with Godly prosperity in
every area of our lives.