Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 12, 1964
NUMBER 44, PAGE 1,11-12a

You Can't Do Wrong And Get By

Forrest Darrell Moyer

In the world of our day countless multitudes feel that they can wink at sin, spurn every righteous precept and principle, and get by quite well now and later. How foolish! "Fools make a mock at sin." (Prov. 14:9) One of the greatest messages of the Bible is this: you can't do wrong and get by!

When Moses was speaking to Israel in the long ago, he said: "But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out." (Num. 32:23) This same unchanging law was stated by Ezekiel when he said, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezek. 18:20) Inspired men of the New Testament re-echoed this same principle; "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall lie also reap. 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." (Gal. 6:7,8) When Paul said, "The wages of sin is death," (Rom. 6:23) he was but restating the same law again. We can well believe the Preacher's closing sentence: "For God shall bring every work to judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."

(Eccl. 12:14) Friend, you cannot mock God! Your sin will find you out! You can't do wrong and get by!

The devil never sleeps. He is constantly introducing man to the various avenues of temptation. "The devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." (I Pet. 5:8) As he tempted Eve to eat of the fruit, he is seeking to tempt you to become his servant today. It is so easy to listen to the voice of the devil. At first a sin may seem quite alluring. We see only the glitter of its charm. We do not see the sting in its fang. Little by little we draw ourselves closer to the bright lights and soft music of sin's allurement. No, we do not really mean to travel the way of evil, but we are enchanted by the songs of sin's sirens. And easily, oh so easily, we take the first step. It may be the first sip of liquor. It may he a flirtatious or lustful look. Then into the pathway of evil one steps. It is a downward road and there are few obstacles to hinder those who choose its paths. Yet for everyone travelling the way of sin, there is one thing to remember: you can't do wrong and get by! "Be sure your sin will find you out." Over and over this immutable law of God has been proven.


Consider some cases that demonstrate this truth:

1. Adam and Eve. The first of earth's people learned this lesson the hard way. Sin allured Eve by its basic appeals. There was the appeal to the flesh — "the tree was good for food." There was the appeal to the eyes — "it was pleasant to the eyes." Then there was the appeal to vanity or pride — "a tree to be desired to make one wise." (Gen. 3:6) Thus, she ate of the forbidden fruit and gave to Adam who also ate. They sinned; they did wrong. But you cannot do wrong and get by! Aware of their sin, they tried to hide from God! It can't be done! You can't hide from His all-seeing eye. He knows all of man's works, yea, even his thoughts. "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." (Heb. 4:13) Their sin found them out. They could not get by it. Thus, upon woman came suffering in child-bearing and subjection to man. Upon man came hard labor and sorrow in toil. Upon them both came separation from the tree of life. Can't you see, my friend, that you can't do wrong and get by?

2. Cain. Cain's jealousy led him to murder his brother Abel. Perhaps Cain thought, "No one will ever know." But God said, "the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground." (Gen. 4:10) His sin found him out, and he cried out saying, "My punishment is greater than I can bear." (v.13) You see, you can't do wrong and get by.

3. Achan. When Israel marched against Jericho, God told them plainly that they could take no spoils from the city. However, covetousness in the heart of Achan led him to take a Babylonish garment, two shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold. He hid these in the ground under his tent. He most likely felt no one would ever know. He thought he could get by. His sin not only affected himself and his family; it affected the whole nation of Israel. They were defeated in battle against Ai. The reason for the defeat was thusly stated, "Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff." (Josh. 7:11) God had all Israel march before Joshua and then He pointed out the tribe and the family and singled out the one who had done this sin. Then Achan made confession saying, "Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel." (Josh. 7:20) His sin found him out. You can't do wrong and get by.

4. David (2 Samuel 11:1-18) The tragedy of sin is seen in the fact that it is no respecter of persons. It strikes the high and the low — the rich and the poor. David was one of the greatest of men in the Bible. He was described as being a man after God's own heart. He wrote many of the Psalms of the Old Testament. He reigned for forty years as king over Israel. Yet temptation lured him into adultery and even murder before it was through. Here was a spiritual giant led into sin. Don't fool yourself, friend, it can also happen to you.

David's sin began in an idle moment for him. It was a time when kings went forth to battle. David's army was in battle, yet he was enjoying the comforts of home. Idleness quite often is the beginning point of sin in one's life.

The next step in his downfall was taken when he looked longingly from the roof of the palace upon Bathsheba as she bathed. Had he immediately turned and gone back into the palace, there would have been no sin on his part. But he looked and enjoyed the beauty of the unclothed wife of another man. Bathsheba was not without guilt in this matter. Had she been more careful, she and David would not have sinned. There is a great lesson here for every girl and woman. Do not be a party to sin by immodesty or carelessness on your part. Immodest attire, the wearing of skimpy clothing that reveals the body, may produce a look of lust in a man. It may produce much more than that for lust can lead to sinful, shameful action and immorality. Let godliness rather than worldliness guide you in your dress and behavior. (1 Tim. 2:9) However, men and boys also have a responsibility to shun the look of lust. The Bible teaches us to treat the younger women "as sisters, with all purity." (1 Tim. 5:2)

As lust had conceived in David's mind, it brought forth sin. He called for the woman (Bathsheba) to come to him. The result was adultery.

The tragic impact of his sin might not have been impressed upon him at first. However, it wasn't long until his sin found him out. You cannot do wrong and get by! David learned this after his terrible sin. For soon Bathsheba sent this message to King David: "I am with child." Her husband Uriah was out in the army fighting for his beloved King David. David immediately tried to cover up the sin. He tried to get by; he tried to mock God. It cannot be done.

David's plan was simple. He sent for Uriah to come home and report the battle news. David thought that Uriah would go home and then everyone would believe that the child was Uriah's. Uriah was too loyal, too de voted for that. He would not go to the comforts of home while the army was fighting. The next evening David made Uriah drunk, thinking, of course, that surely he would go home. Still he did not. So David's mind grew more evil and vicious in his effort to cover up his sin. He sent Uriah back with a message to Joab, his general. The message was simple but evil: "Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die." Could these words be coming from the sweet singer of Israel? Yes, sin was at the controls. One step after another had led him deeper and deeper into the mire of depravity. After the death of Uriah, David took Bathsheba as his wife. Now the sin is covered. But is it? No, you can't do wrong and get by.

The faithful prophet Nathan came to David with a message of a little lamb that was stolen from a poor man by a rich man. The King pronounced his sentence upon the imagined sinner. But it was a sentence upon himself for Nathan said, "Thou art the man!" His sin had found him out! God knew about it all along, and He brought it to light. Sin brought its suffering with it. Death, problems among his children, and even rebellion followed in the wake of his terrible sin. He could not do wrong and still get by. Neither can you, my friend!

These examples and many others illustrate quite well the message of this article — you can't do wrong and get by.

Your Can't Do Wrong Morally And Get By

God has always had a moral standard — a line between right and wrong. This is true in the New Testament dispensation. Some things are right and are encouraged; other things are wrong and are condemned. We are admonished to "prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil." (1 Thess. 5:21, 22) The multitude follows the way of sin. However, their sin will be manifest in due time. Those who are desirous of pleasing God will "not be conformed to this world" but will follow "holiness without which no man can see God." (Heb. 12:14)

We have learned that man cannot mock God. "For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption." (Gal. 6:8) There are various ways of sowing to the flesh. Paul said, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." (Gal. 5:19-21)

1. It is morally sinful to be guilty of adultery, fornication, or lasciviousness. Our Lord not only shows the sinfulness of the overt acts of adultery and fornication, but He forbids actions (or thoughts) on our part that lead to these immoralities. He forbids lasciviousness which is defined as "wanton (acts or) manners, as filthy words, indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females." (Thayer, pp. 79-80) These actions can easily lead to fornication or adultery, so our Lord seeks to eliminate them from our heart. If the heart is pure, the action will be pure. "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." (Matt. 15: 19) Yet there are those who mock at God's moral precepts, making their lives full of degradation and shame. Men, young and old alike, will often boast of how many girls and women they have seduced. Some women blush not at the thought of such immorality. They seem to think that they can get by. "The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face." (Job 24:15) But you can't get by, for hearts are broken; lives are marred; homes are torn asunder; suffering throughout life comes because of these sins. The briny tears streaming down the faces of thousands of heartbroken men and women attest to the great fact that you can't do wrong and get by. Truly, you shall reap destruction. "God will bring every work into judgment with every secret thing."

If you are guilty of any of these immoralities, I beg of you, repent now and obey God's holy precepts that you may be forgiven and may put your feet on the paths of righteousness.

2. It is morally sinful to misuse the tongue in lying, maliciousness, shameful speaking or swearing. "But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds." (Col. 3:8-9) We are prone to underestimate the tragedy of the sins of the tongue. We seem to feel that little lies, off-color stories, mild profanity, and gossip are really not so bad. But how wrong could one be? Your sin will find you out. These things not only offend all Heaven but bring their cargo of woes upon the world. More than that our Lord declares, "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment or by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." (Matt. 12:36:37) You can't do wrong and get by!

3. Stealing, drunkenness, murder, etc., are works of the flesh. If you engage in any of these, you shall indeed suffer the consequences, for you can't do wrong and get by.

You Can't Do Wrong Religiously And Get By

Many are the people who are good morally. They know that they cannot do wrong morally and get by. Little do they realize that neither can they do wrong religiously and get by. The very same people who cry out against the immorality in the world may often express the sentiment: "It doesn't matter what you believe or practice religiously, just so long as you are honest and sincere." Again, God has a standard of right and wrong religiously. That standard is the Bible. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Tim. 3:16, 17) If you violate God's standard religiously, you are wrong; and you cannot do wrong and get by.

The idol-worshippers of the Old Testament were religious people. They were worshipping the wrong God. Over and over God showed them that He only was the God of power. They suffered the consequences of their false religion. The Israelites were taken captive because of their following the ways of idolatry. They could not do wrong and get by.

Few people art more religious than were the Pharisees of Jesus' day. Yet they were wrong. "But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matt. 15:9) Their worship was vain and so Jesus said, "Every plant, which my heavenly Father bath not planted, shall be rooted up." (v. 13) You cannot do wrong and get by.

In the early church there were some who held the "doctrine of the Nicolaitanes." These were religious, but they were wrong. Jesus spoke of their doctrine saying, "which thing I hate." (Rev. 2:15) If one doctrine is as good as another, then the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes would be as good as the doctrine of Christ. Such is not so. Those who engage in religious error cannot get by. "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matt. 7:21-23) Denominational error will thus be up-looted. You must follow the New Testament pattern in your religious activity. If you will not, then your sin will find you out.

You Can't Get By In Time

The world is, as it were, attuned to moral law. Somehow, and in some way, detection of sin and crime comes. Thus, no one can safely do wrong and get by even in time. The Preacher said, "Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter." (Eccl. 10:20) This is but another way of saying that time will reveal your sin.

You Can't Get By In Conscience

We may be able to hide our sins from most of the people about us. In fact, they may not care. But one thing is for sure: you can't hide it from yourself. Your conscience will know. God placed conscience within us as a strong instrument to help us do what we have been taught is right. Aware of the guilt of sin, conscience leads men to acknowledge those sins; or it causes one to be miserable in his remembrance of it.

Judas sold out his Master. For thirty silver pieces he betrayed Him into the hands of sinful men, He received his money, but this was not the end of the matter. His conscience began to prick him sore. He could not keep the money. He returned it to the chief priests and elders. He felt that he could not even live with himself so deep was his shame and remorse. Rather than repentance he took the most cowardly way of all. He killed himself. His conscience did not let him do wrong and get by. His sin found him out.

On the same night that Judas betrayed our Lord, another apostle also did wrong. Peter, when asked if he were not one of His disciples, denied Jesus. He did so three times even with an oath. However, Jesus looked at him. That look recalled to Peter what Jesus had said earlier about his denying Him thrice before the crowing of the cock. Peter's conscience was aroused, and he went out and wept bitterly. He did wrong, and his conscience would not let him get by. You can't do wrong and get by.

You should be glad that your conscience does bother you when you go astray. If it didn't, you might have a conscience "seared as with a hot iron." This would be more tragic than losing your arm, leg, eyes, or even your life. You cannot get by spiritually with a dead conscience. You can have a good conscience if you will "keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." (1 John 3:19-22; see also 1 Peter 3:21)

The cases of those who have committed the almost perfect crime, but whose conscience leads them to confess, demonstrate the power of conscience. You can't get by your conscience while living in sin.

You Can't Get By In Eternity

We have already shown that you cannot hide from God. "All things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." His is an "all-seeing eye watching you." The time is coming when "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." (2 Cor. 5:10) On that day "the book shall he opened and the dead shall be judged out of those things written in the books, according to their works." (Rev. 20:12) Those who have lived in sin and have not accepted the way of salvation will hear the Lord say, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matt. 25:41) "These shall go away into everlasting punishment." (v. 46) "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (v. 30) Why this terrible fate? Because of sin and what sin does. You can't do wrong and get by! God will give just retribution on that day. Some seem to reason that because "sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily," that they can get by. But there is no escape! Sowing to the flesh will surely bring destruction. (Gal. 6:8) Mark it down, friend, and remember it well: you just cannot do wrong and get by! Your sin will find you out! Hell will be full of people who thought they could get by with sin.

Friend, you do not have to suffer the consequences of sin in Hell. God, through his infinite mercy, has provided the Savior and the way of salvation. This Savior invites you to come to Him and be saved. "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28) In coming to Him, He requires us to believe in Him as the Son of God." "....for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." (John 8:24) He also requires repentance of our sins: "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13:3) We are taught to confess our faith in Him before men: "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 10:32) He further requires us to be baptized: "He that believeth and is baptized shall he saved; but he that believeth not shall he damned." (Mark 16:16) The purpose of baptism is made quite clear by the inspired speaker on Pentecost: "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:38) Have you done these things? Why not do them now? Then live a life of righteousness with the Lord and His people and Heaven will be yours.

We pray that this message on sin and its consequences will be of help to you in helping you to understand that you cannot do wrong and get by!

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