September 8, 2015
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8
The translation of the Chinese expression "Gan bei!" is "Cheers!" or "Bottoms up!" It is also a suitable title for today's devotion.
The story begins with a very expensive bottle of Rémy Martin XO Excellence Cognac.
Now I am not much of a drinker, but there are those who hold Rémy Martin XO Excellence is one of the great pleasures of life. At more than $200 a bottle the distillers of Rémy Martin XO Excellence Cognac must think they're producing liquid gold.
Apparently, a Chinese lady named Zhao would agree. Recently, Zhao tried to board a passenger plane at the Beijing Capital International Airport carrying a bottle of Rémy Martin XO Excellence in her hand luggage. She was told her bottle was over the legal limit of what she could carry with her.
Disappointed, Zhao did what any reasonable person might do: she chugged the entire bottle of Rémy Martin XO Excellence. It was an action which had certain, foreseeable consequences:
1. Zhao immediately became totally blitzed;
2. the pilot said he wouldn't take her on the plane in her intoxicated state;
3. the police were called and took care of Zhao, until her relatives arrived to help her.
Oh, there's one other result of Zhao's Gan Bei: she shows us that our actions, especially our sinful actions, have consequences.
Read through Scripture and you will have to look pretty hard to find someone, anyone, who didn't learn that lesson. Adam and Eve learned it, as did their son, Cain. David learned it, as did Peter who ended up in tears after he denied Jesus.
Yes, everyone will eventually learn the lesson that their sinful actions have consequences. Some will learn it and be brought to the Lord with a repentant heart. Others, like the good thief on the cross, will learn it shortly before they die. These folks will be overjoyed to find their sins are forgiven because of the Savior's sacrifice and His blessed resurrection.
But there are those who will put off learning any lesson until the time they stand before the just Judge. Then, at that late hour, they will find eternal death is the last and final consequence for sins, which remain unforgiven.
It's a hard lesson, and one we should help them avoid. This is why Lutheran Hour Ministries brings Christ to the nations. It is why you share the Savior with your friends and your congregation with your neighborhood.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, our actions have consequences. May we always give thanks for the Savior who forgives our sins and stops those negative consequences. By the Holy Spirit's power may others learn this lesson before it is too late for them. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries