It doesn’t end well for the person who builds on lawlessness. Thus, Jesus compares lawlessness to sand. Sand is far from a suitable material to build anything on. So we can imagine that if someone built a house on sand, how the house would fall. This fall might not be apparent immediately. But the more one builds on such a weak foundation, the greater that fall will be. This is the point Jesus makes when he describes the builder who builds on sand. Jesus says, “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall” (Matthew 7:27). Jesus stresses that the fall of the house built on sand is not only approaching but great.
This great fall doesn’t mean someone or something falling from the sky. But it means a mighty and violent destruction. We can easily picture such destruction when Jesus tells the story of a house with no foundation collapsing in a violent storm. This storm, however, that Jesus describes is more than a strong thunderstorm; He mentions torrential rains, floods, and strong winds. These characteristics are uncommon in an everyday thunderstorm. They resemble more a hurricane and its effects than a thunderstorm.
Hence, we have a house on sand trying to stand up against a hurricane. But this hurricane doesn’t come immediately. That is to say, destruction doesn’t occur immediately after one builds a “house” on lawlessness. For instance, when a person sins, that person rarely goes immediately to hell. Accordingly, a person can continue to build a house on lawlessness until they build an eight-story mansion. This delay in destruction makes the severity of the fall greater; our judgment is at the end of time. Paul makes a similar statement. He says, “each one’s work will become clear for the Day will declare it, because fire will reveal it, and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:13). Paul stresses that, like the violent hurricane, fire will come at the end to test what we’ve built and what we’ve built upon.