Bible Answer

Is there always consequence for sin?

Does Numbers 32:23 and Deuteronomy 32:35 mean that consequences for all sin applies to all people (believers and unbelievers)?

Numbers and Deuteronomy make up two thirds of the Pentateuch, specifically written to the Israelites. Numbers covers the Israelite exodus from oppression in Egypt and their journey to take possession of the land God promised their fathers. Deuteronomy emphasizes Yahweh's conditional covenant with his people. This meant if Israel kept God’s commandments, they would be blessed and if they failed to keep his commandments, they would endure the curses that were recorded in the Law.  Therefore, these verses, although specifically speaking to the Israelite people in that day, have implications for us as believers as well. For example, check out what Paul says regarding this old testament principle:

ROM. 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
ROM. 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
ROM. 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
ROM. 12:17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.
ROM. 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
ROM. 12:19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
ROM. 12:20 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
ROM. 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Here Paul is speaking about a believer suffering loss at the hands of unbelievers who are not responding to their witnessing. When we face these situations, the word of God says don’t succumb to the desire to take revenge as this leaves no room for God's vengeance, whether He decides to leave them in their sin or grant them the precious gift of salvation. We must also keep in mind that a successful relationship with unbelievers begins with an understanding that they are not our enemies…they are our mission. 

Additionally, unbelievers are ignorant to sin in their life. Although an unbeliever will have a moralistic code or law they follow (i.e. the state laws, driving laws, constitutional laws) these laws will never bring a person to realize the need for a Savior. Being convicted of sin is an inherent part of the inward dwelling of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, conviction of personal sin in an unbeliever's life is void because they lack the Holy Spirit. So as we see unbelievers living in sin and even profiting from the sinful lifestyle they live in, we must have pity for their dying soul, which should bring about a desire to share the truth of the Gospel with those lost. Furthermore, an unbeliever living in sin is no threat to the kingdom, so consequences of sin may be absent at times, as this is how God disciplines His children as seen in the letter to the Hebrews:

HEB. 12:5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;
HEB. 12:6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.”
HEB. 12:7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
HEB. 12:8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
HEB. 12:9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?
HEB. 12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.
HEB. 12:11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

These scriptures show us that as believers God lovingly disciplines His children to make us look more like Christ. As a believer lives in sin we can expect the Holy Spirit to convict us and should we choose to ignore the inward tug of the righteous Holy Spirit to rid our life of sin, Paul states God will correct this behavior in order to grow us in spiritual maturity because He loves us. This points to the sanctification process that the Lord desires in the lives of His children. 

As we look deeper into the consequences of sin, we must remember that there are natural consequences to sin and also spiritual consequences to sin. For example, if an unbeliever is speeding, the natural consequences at stake are a ticket and/or getting into a wreck which could potentially hurt someone else. Since we are speaking in terms of an unbeliever, this persons natural consequences are the ticket or the wreck but the spiritual consequences remain the same; spiritual separation from the Almighty God. 

In the case of a believer, speeding poses the same natural consequences, however, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit convicts us to follow the law of the land to prevent harm and the consequences of hurting others around us. Should the believer choose to ignore the conviction then we can expect the natural consequences as well as the spiritual consequences of ignoring the Holy Spirit's conviction. In the case of the believer, the soul is never at risk, as forgiveness for all sin has already been paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ.