“But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out.” Numbers 32:23
When the children of Gad and Reuben requested to settle in the land east of the Jordan River (32:1-19), Moses agreed to let them settle there if they first kept their promise to help the other tribes defeat the inhabitants in the land of Canaan (32:20-22). He warned them, “But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out” (32:23).
Although this warning is directed toward God’s people, it is true for all people – “Be sure your sin will find you out.” All people are guilty of sin whether they admit it or not (Rom. 3:23). And we cannot hide our sin from God because He knows and sees everything we do, say, and think. He is aware of our deepest thoughts and secrets. Jesus said, “For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known” (Luke 12:2).
Because God is holy and perfect, He must judge our sin. The Bible says, “For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).
There are only two possible people to pay the penalty for your sin – either you or Jesus Christ. The Bible says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit” (I Pet. 3:18). Jesus took the punishment we deserved when He died in our place for our sins and rose from the dead.
Christ now invites us to believe or trust in Him alone for His gift of everlasting life: “Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Those who do not believe in Christ for His free gift must pay the penalty for their own sin by suffering in the Lake of Fire forever, “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15; cf. John 3:36).
(Adapted from EvanTell’s 2014 Evangelism Study Bible, p. 172).