I love sad endings.

La La Land, The Godfather (and every other mafia movie), Roman Holiday…maybe I have a problem. Or maybe sad endings resonate because they often feel more realistic than “happily ever after” tales. And maybe they are morally clarifying; they do not sugarcoat but show the full consequences of their characters’ actions. And they stick with us, don’t they?

The biblical book of 1 Samuel has a sad ending. It is the end of the cautionary tale of King Saul who looked imposing and appeared to have everything working for him but who lacked faith in the Lord, acted repeatedly in disobedience to God, and finishes his story by having his army, his sons, and his own life snuffed out by the Philistines, the book’s bad guys.

This is clarifying! The author of the book does not pull punches; the message is that disobedience leads to death. As Paul says in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death.” We can often delude ourselves into thinking that, when it comes down to it, it won’t matter that much if we tell a little lie here and skimp on our hours a little there. 1 Samuel makes clear that those types of actions – maybe not immediately but eventually – if not repented of lead to spiritual death. All sin does.

But I’m thankful Romans 6:23 continues. The full verse says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” We are all disobedient. We all sin. But when we place faith in Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we receive God’s free gift of grace: forgiveness, being counted righteous, and eternal life “through Christ Jesus our Lord.” And if you’re wondering, that’s the same Jesus who completely reversed His own sad ending – and will do so for us who have faith in Him!