What happens when we commit sins?
The consequences of sins are very complex, only God knows all dire consequences of sins. Hence God speaks to us through the Bible, not wanting anyone to perish but come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9). All those who are in sin can do only three things very effectively, i.e., eating, cheating and hating.
What is sin?
“Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as "an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law” (CCC 1849).
Consequence of Sin
God does not punish any sinners. And also God does not take revenge upon any of them. Every action has its own equal and opposite reaction. This reaction is intrinsic in the nature of the action itself. Therefore any bad action has bad reaction. Nobody can prevent it. So sin is a bad action that has bad reaction. This intrinsic reaction of the action cannot be considered as punishment from God. When Jesus died on the cross all the eternal consequences of sins are forgiven and humanity is redeemed from the eternal damnation. But certain temporal consequences will remain even after death of Christ and baptism of an individual (CCC 1263-64). Only the sacrament of confession prevents these consequences of sins and protects a person.
A. Permanent Consequences of Original sin
“As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (CCC 418). These are the temporal consequences of the original sin and they are almost permanent until the second coming of Jesus.
B. Temporal Consequences of Personal sins
The following temporal consequences of personal sins will continue until a person repent, reconcile, confess and does penance.
1. Relationship with God is broken
Adam and Eve had to flee from God and hide themselves when they had sinned against God (Gen 3:8). When the prodigal son squandered the inherited wealth and led a self willed sinful life, he lost family ties and socio economic securities (Lk. 15: 11-17). When the relationship with God is broken, automatically it will be reflected in a broken relationship with others in the society. Following are the external manifestations of a broken relationship with God:
Inability to worship God (Sirach 15:9)
Lack of interest in divine matters
Disinterested in prayer and studying the word of God
Become a slave to despair
Always haunted by feeling of guilt
Hatred towards almost all
Grieve stricken mind
Broken human relationship
Suspicion and fear of evil
Removal and loss of what is dear to him (Ps 39:11)
2. Unexpected events and Obstacles
When the ways of people please the Lord, He causes even the enemies to be in peace with them (Prov 16:17). Those who commit sin and do wrong are their own worst enemies (Tob 12:10). Jesus said if you do not repent, unexpected death may happen (Luk 13: 1-5). Jesus said that these people, who were killed, not more sinners than you. But if you do not repent you will also have the same type of unexpected events and causalities.
3. Wages of Sin
Wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ (Rom 6:23). Because of sin true joy, peace and wellness are destroyed. Sin is a poisonous snake; if it bites you will die (Sir 21:2)
4. Sin leads to Slavery
“Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:34). St Paul cried out and said “I do not know what I am doing; I am not able to do what I want to do. I am doing just the opposite of my desire; the sin dwells in me, does it”? (Rom7:19-20).
5. Heaven is Lost
Paradise was lost when Adam and Eve committed sin, and the doors of heaven were shut to humanity. While Jesus received baptism, that closed heaven was reopened (Lk. 3:21) and Jesus invited everyone to come inside this kingdom of God with repentance. “Time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the good news”
6. Christ is crucified again
“And who have fallen away, ----- to be brought back to repentance is almost impossible--- to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace” (Heb 6:6). All those who commit sin crucify Jesus again and again. They may not enjoy the grace and blessings and Joy that Jesus earned for them. Such kind of deprived human condition gives pain to Jesus. That pain is equal to His crucifixion.
What is the real remedy?
There is real remedy exists to solve the problems of sins. Following are the real remedies suggested by the Catholic Church to solve the consequences of sins.
Indulgences- CCC 1471
Total conversion – CCC 1472
Fervent Charity- CCC 1472
Patiently bearing all sufferings and trials until they are turned for your favour – CCC 1473
Mercy- CCC 1473
Charitable works – CCC 1473
Prayers- 6 forms and 3 expressions (CCCc 551-556, 569-571) CCC 1473
Penance including sacrament of confession– CCC 1473
There are some eternal consequence of sin such as hell and Hades. When Jesus died and rose; he went down to the Hades and opened the gates of Hades, to release the souls of the righteous and took them to heaven (1 Pet 3:19). Therefore all eternal consequences of sins are cancelled. But certain temporal consequences of sin may remain even after the sins are forgiven (CCC 1473). The forgiveness of sins and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains. “While patiently bearing sufferings and trials of all kinds and, when the day comes, serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace. He should strive by works of mercy and charity, as well as by prayer and the various practices of penance, to put off completely the "old man" and to put on the "new man”. (CCC 1473).