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Sin and Its Punishment

By Charles H. Stalker

      Message Delivered at Mansfield, Evening Meeting, February 1st, 1919

      "For the wages of sin is death," and "The soul that sinneth, it shall die."

      It would seem that after having such a message as this, given by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, that one would never commit another sin. I never think of sin but what there comes to me the thought that people would never commit sin as long as they live if they knew what sin is.

      There is very little conception in their minds of what they are doing. We can think, and think, and think, and then it is impossible for us to have a conception of what the committal of one sin has done. A sing e sin will damn a soul for ever, and the results will last through all eternity. Adam and Eve had no conception of their sin when they wrecked the human race and brought suffering to unborn millions. The world is suffering tonight as a result of that sin which was committed centuries ago. The action which they took afterward, when they tried to cover their sin with fig leaves proved that they had no conception of what they had done. The devil had so blinded them that they did not see. That is exactly the condition of everyone who commits sin today. I say that everyone would give up a life of sin if they saw what was in it.

      Adam and Eve saw they had fallen, they felt their separation from God, they had lost communion with Him, but they thought they could cover up their sin with fig leaves. It is a striking thing that as soon as people have committed sin they know it must be covered. Every sinner has a desire to cover his sin, but it can only be covered with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

      The text says, "The wages of sin is death." "The soul that sinneth it shall die." There is still the power to think and to act, but the soul is dead to God and to the things of God.

      When God breathed into that piece of mud the breath of life and man became a living soul, he lived in God, and when he disobeyed he fell and lost the image of God. Without the sacrifice of Calvary he is lost and doomed and damned. People say, "I have not committed any great sin." Why, the rejection of Jesus Christ by this world is an awful sin. I have heard others say, "I never committed any sin." But the Bible says, "How shall we escape, it we neglect so great salvation?" It does not say anything about crime, it does not say anything about committing a great sin, or doing some extreme thing: "How shall we escape if we neglect?"

      Now we can have some conception of what sin is by the sacrifice that was made that humanity might be delivered from it. The reason why so few men and women give it up is because they do not realize what it is and what it will do for them. People have laughed and made fun of it, They say you cannot get rid of it, but that is a lie from hell and will damn all who believe it. You can be rid of sin -- God has said so. Let God be true and every man a liar. What God says about sin will stand or ever. "The soul that sinneth it shall die.

      There are some who say, that God is not a God of love if He sends souls to hell, but He never does that. People take themselves there. That is the decision of humanity, that is man's work. God intended through the sacrifice of His Son to prepare people for heaven, and there is only one thing that will keep them out of heaven, and that is sin. I do not say this in criticism, but I am willing for others to have their salaries, I am willing for them to have their applause, but God pity them at the judgment bar. People have said I could preach to thousands if I would go on a more popular line, but I would rather preach to a dozen people and preach Holiness, than preach to ten thousand and say nothing about Holiness. I would rather have the curses here than have people curse and damn me at the judgment bar because I had failed to preach the truth.

      There is going to be an awful judgment, it is coming, and everyone will have to meet it. I would rather have the persecution here' than have to meet what some will have to meet because they have not been true to the souls of others.

      Talk about persecution, talk of burning stakes, all that the fire ever did was to send them to heaven a little sooner. All the stakes ever did was to open heaven's front door and lock them in for evermore. All the devil can do with Holiness is to put it in heaven, it is bound to go there. He cannot take it to hell. He can beat it and hit it, but he will send it to heaven a little quicker.

      People do not realize that the sin they commit today will cause them to suffer through all eternity. Someone says, "Oh, but these things are so common and everybody does not speak like you do." Then if they do not preach the Bible, you had better not listen to them. People are trying to cover up sin, and they are making light of it and making fun of it, but it is wrecking, ruining, and damning this world. The screams and cries of today are the result of sin which was committed centuries ago. There are some suffering tonight as a result of the sin of those they never knew. Beloved, if you settle the sin question, you settle the greatest question that God or man ever thought about.

      The devil told Adam and Eve to help themselves to the forbidden fruit, and they would be perfectly free, and they believed him. God told Achan what to do, but he disobeyed. Then he tried to cover his sin with straw. He took the golden wedge and the Babylonish garment and hid them in his tent. He could not go out with them because the others would have known where they came from. He covered them with straw in his own tent. But the Holy Ghost went to work. Achan had no conception of the sin he had committed, but God says, "The soul that sinneth it shall die." He has never changed His word, and He never will. Other people may change it and bring various interpretations, but it makes no difference. Achan took the wedge of gold and the Babylonish garment and he thought it did not matter, but the Holy Ghost was faithful, and we read that he uncovered his own sin. He went out and thirty-six people died as a result of that one sin. God said they were not to take anything, but Achan said, "I will take it and cover it with straw." Just think of straw put between God's eye and that golden wedge. Why, He saw him take it. He saw him when he put the straw over it and He saw him when he was dead and damned.

      You say you do not think He is a God of love. I know you do not, but God has a law and it has a penalty. He has not asked any person in the pulpit, He has not asked any orator, but He has the control of things. Because of the conditions once in a while, some think He is not paying any attention, but nothing escapes His all-seeing eye. He is watching and I believe many more might have had to sacrifice their lives in this recent war if it had not been for the faith and prayer that was put around the throne of God. There were so many interceding, they did not stop with a little prayer. I have heard some agonizing prayers. I have seen people late at night, hanging on to God to answer prayer over three thousand miles of salt water.

      I am just using this for an illustration. You cannot get a tremendous thing through with hell's artillery in the twentieth century unless the supernatural is connected with it. God must be in it, there must be the supernatural, there must be the working of the hand of God. Millions had to go down and sacrifice their lives, but I believe other millions were saved, and God must have the glory and He must have the honor. I say again, beloved, you cannot think that His eye is not watching, and that His ear is not listening, you cannot think that He is not interested in the climax of the greatest calamity that has been known for twenty centuries. You cannot think that heaven has been silenced. His eyes have run to and fro throughout the whole earth, He has been showing Himself strong.

      Mark my word, in these last days we are going to see displays of God's power, and while hell's artillery is filling the air and while every step is going to be contested, yet God is going to do some things, He is going to make people sit up and take notice. Do not tell me that the tears and the prayers and the broken hearted mothers, wives, daughters and sons pleading with God, has not moved His hand on behalf of the helpless. God has been working with the unseen and we recognize it and give Him the glory for it.

      I remember in one meeting there was a woman, and after she had heard of some answers to prayer, she said, "Do you think I could get an answer to prayer that would keep my husband from death, he is now in the front trenches? " And I said, "I do" Some of them looked a little strange at me, but I believed that God would answer. That woman came to the altar and trusted God to save her soul. Then she offered up one of the most heart-rending prayers for her husband. It seemed to me I could see God's eye fastened down upon that husband in the trenches. He is at home now. I do not say that with any criticism, I do not say that without the greatest sympathy for those who have fallen, but we have not touched the edge of the supernatural. In that meeting, with possibly a thousand people present, I felt that prayer went to the throne of God and turned His hand and turned His eye. God still hears and answers prayer. There is not a person who would leave this room without the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire if they could see what the Holy Ghost could do through them. There is not a person who would leave this room with one unforgiven sin if they had any conception of what sin is. The death sentence is over every sinner tonight, there is just a heartbeat between their souls and hell.

      Ananias and Sapphira went to a Holiness meeting. They were going to sell all that others might be fed. They talked it over and decided to keep back part of the price. One came to the meeting a little earlier than the other. Peter was there, he met Ananias at the door, and he said, "Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost and to keep back part of the price? " Ananias fell down and gave up the ghost. A little later his wife came along, not knowing what had happened to her husband, and she lied to the Holy Ghost, and she, too, was carried out with her husband. They went to hell. Judgment does not always come as sudden, but it is sure. What a dwarfed conception they had of what they had done. They went right from the front door of a Holiness meeting to hell. One side of the door was Holiness, the other hell. Holiness is here and hell is just outside the door.

      Someone says, "Oh, I do not believe in a God that will do that." If God did that with all who have kept back part of the price, what would take place? " The judgments of God are not always so soon, but they are just as sure. "The soul that sinneth it shall die."

      Now, when you reject Holiness you reject the last call, there is nothing after that except hell. Why did the judgment come so sudden to Ananias and Sapphira? Because they lied to the Holy Ghost. They did not realize what they had done. Why did not Ananias tell them he was going to hell? He did not know. Carnality had so blinded him. Perhaps he told his neighbors that he was going to hear Peter preach, but they never heard him speak again. After the rejection of Holiness comes hell. Where is hell? Right at the door. How long does it last? For evermore. There is not a person in this town who would commit another sin if they could see the suffering and the result of sin.

      Look at Judas. He looked into the face of the Son of God, he ate at the same table, he walked along the road with Him, he heard His sermons, and he heard His teaching, but he had no conception of sin. Why is it that people do not rush to the altar to be sanctified wholly and to receive the Holy Ghost? Because they have heard fifty Sundays in the year that there is nothing in it. Judas went out and sold the Son of God for thirty pieces of silver, and he is in hell tonight suffering the penalty. Thirty pieces of silver locked him up in hell and he is there without a drop of water. He tried to wash the blood off his hands, but could not. He had sealed his damnation by his own action.

      There is an insane person in an asylum tonight because he resisted the Holy Ghost. You could go and hear his testimony, and he will tell you that the Holy Ghost spoke to him. He rejected Him. He had a strong mind and was getting along nicely, he was respected, but the light of Holiness came and he said "No" to the Holy Ghost. It only took a few weeks or months to land him in the asylum. Someone says, "But you would not take that testimony." Well, I think you could. Others believed it, and it caused quite a stir. People do not realize all it means to be saved from sin and filled with the Holy Ghost.

      Mrs. Stalker and I were having a meeting, and in the audience there was a teacher from a large State Institution. She had been very successful, and had been there a number of years. In that meeting she saw that she could be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire, and that carnality could be destroyed. She came to the altar and trusted God to do the work in her heart. She went on teaching for a number of years, and then her health gave way, and she had a nervous breakdown.

      After she took her stand for Holiness, her friends turned against her and opposed her. The devil began to scheme and work. She was about to come into possession of some money which had been left to her, and her relatives had her examined by a specialist, and they worked such a scheme that she was placed in an asylum and they had her money. All that she asked to take with her was her Bible, and they said that was a sure sign of insanity. She prayed and read her Bible. She asked that God might deliver her from that place so that she could go out and give her testimony to Holiness.

      While she was praying one day, the Holy Ghost told her to write her name on a piece of paper and drop it when she was out walking with the others. This she did and she also wrote that there was a person in the asylum who needed help, she was there because people wanted her money. That piece of paper was left on the ground. There was plenty of grass and that paper might easily have been trampled upon, but someone picked it up. They made inquiries, and an expert was brought, and after careful examination he said she was not insane, and there had been a trick. In answer to prayer she was taken out of that asylum and is giving her testimony today. She says that if she had not received the Holy Ghost she would have still been in that asylum. She gives a clear testimony, and it would almost break one's heart to hear it. She has a special prayer meeting every day for the people in that place, for no doubt some are there through jealousy. She had been there, and she says the Holy Ghost allowed her to go so that she might have a burden for other souls. She received her money again and is standing for Holiness today. It has made a great impression upon me. We never know what the Holy Ghost is preparing a soul to endure or to enjoy, but I want to tell you that sin will damn anybody who has it, and "The soul that sinneth it shall die." I never believed much in fancies, but these things are facts. People have no conception of the suffering, sacrifice and sorrow that sin has brought to individuals.

      The purpose of these meetings is just to give the plain, simple message, and in this atmosphere anybody could get saved if they have a desire to, and believers could receive the Holy Ghost. There are people here to pray for you, and there is the need in your heart. You are not going far from this meeting before you will meet something that will make you wish you had said "Yes" to God.

      I say these things because I am impressed with the fact that our time is short! The surprise of time and eternity is that Divinity has left in the hands of humanity the decision of their eternal destiny. One would think that after all that has been done on Calvary that men would be compelled to accept it, but they are not.

      Man is left to choose. Whosoever will may come. If you will come, you can know that every sin which you have committed is covered by the blood, and if you are already a child of God, you can have carnality destroyed from your heart and the Holy Ghost will come in to abide for ever.

      There are greater possibilities in your life from the moment that sin is destroyed and you receive the Holy Ghost. I am a stranger to you and I do not know you, but I know a God who is able to deliver you from all sin, I know He is able to save to the uttermost. If you do not have this experience tonight, God is able to give it to you.

      May God help someone to step out with Him. It may seem that you are stepping out on nothing, but that is what the devil tells you. God is able to defeat him and take away from you every abnormal habit and give you victory in your soul all the time. May God help you to take the step tonight, for His glory and the good of your soul.

      Let us bow our heads in prayer.

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