We seem to be living in a day of massive confusion on just about every issue there is. We hear sounds from every quarter saying, "This is right." Yet the issue remains just as clouded. We as Christians have a sure foundation, and that is the total word of God.
Our day is seeing an unparalleled expansion of the central government. As it expands, it claims more and more authority and one sad thing is their ability to enforce their desires through electronic means. They really claim no more power than the OT King Nebuchadnezzar did, but the means is at their disposal to enforce their claim which Nebuchadnezzar didn't have. This makes their power even more dangerous, even though it is not as great.
The civil government is making and will continue to make more and more demands upon those who bear the name of Christ and this brings us to an important issue of our day. Since the Lord has given the power to even ungodly rulers, how can we justify not obeying them in everything? Where is the line drawn? The Scriptures are very clear on these things and we must search both the OT and NT for the established principles in these times that try men's souls. Paul told Timothy in II Tim. 2:15 to study. The only scripture Timothy had at his disposal to study was the OT.
Matt. 21:33 gives us an interesting place to start as we look at our Biblical responsibility to ungodly authority. Let's look at an application of this passage.
First, we see that the Lord God established the wicked husbandmen in this place of authority. They rebelled against the Lord and tried to usurp the vineyard for their own. They performed all kinds of wicked deeds against those the landowner sent to them (the OT prophets) to gather the 'rent.' These wicked men completely misused the authority and power given to them. This brought a terrible judgment upon them for their misdeeds.
Also, in Jer. 51 you will find that God raised up Babylon to judge His people and Babylon misused that power, therefore God raised up the Medes against Babylon to judge them for that misuse of their power, Isa. 13.
Also, here, God gives the strength to gain wealth. That strength can be (and is often) misused. God then is blasphemed in the ungodly means used to gain wealth, as well as in the ungodly use of the wealth. The strength to use lies, deceit and oppression, of course, came from God as the giver of all strength and the holder of all power, but it was totally misused.
How are the two reconciled? Does God give power, strength to violate His law-word? The answer goes both ways. Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:21, as well as I Pet. 3:22 makes it abundantly clear that all power is His. He must give the power, strength, and authority to men. Our enemy, the devil, is a usurper with no strength of his own. Power is given to him by the Lord God to accomplish God's plan. He had supernatural power given to him in Rev. 13. Was this a special power for a special time? Dan., chps. 2 and 7, and II Thess. 2 covers this, as does Rev. 13 and Rev. 17:17. Here It seems as though Satan is a tool in God's hand to accomplish His purpose here on this earth. Maybe as a chastening rod would be in the hand of a loving father, Heb. 12?
The power was given by God. This power included power and authority which is used to make war with the Saints. It is power to break God's laws, power to force others to break God's laws and make ungodly demands upon them, Dan. 4:17. This power that is given by God is resisted by the Saints and they are put to death because they refused to submit to the power. This authority is given by God to the ungodly. So why does God give power to break His laws to the wicked, as well as power to force His people to violate His laws?
One reason God gave this power would be in order to purify His Church. Let no man when he is tempted say he is tempted of God, Jas. 1:13. So how is this reconciled?
The power to present the temptation is given by God to the ungodly. The temptation to compromise which is placed in God's people is not of God. Here is where the power of the 'lie' enters in. Here is where we give the devil power to work in our lives as we believe his lie and yield to the temptation. We are tempted of our own lusts which gives our enemy power and permission to work in us. (Eph. 4:27, neither give place to the devil.)
Where is the line? When force is used to make us violate God's laws and it is used against us as Christians because we are Christians, and we are singled out for our faith, then take our stand and turn the other cheek, Matt. 5, or else flee from the confrontation as did David from Saul.
Rev. 13 tells us that any violation of God's principles must be avoided, no matter what that authority says or does, and in this case it is civil government. The violation of God's Word must be avoided even to the death even though the power is given by God to force us to compromise.
This brings us to where we are today in "Christian" thought. Look at what "modern theology" has done. Whether right or wrong, let's look at the effect. The belief today is that we will be raptured out before Rev. 13 so it doesn't apply to the here and now. Therefore, it is okay to obey the ungodly authority like Rev. 13 because God gave them authority to do that. (Note Rom. 13 is a passage used for the godly to submit to the ungodly demands of the civil government, but in Rev. 13 the saints are put to death for not submitting to the ungodly demands of civil governments). "But," say they, "When the time comes that we must take the number 666, we will resist to the death over that." The problem is, the demand to take a mark or number is here now and we are taking it because it isn't exactly 666. Look at the S.S. number. Try to buy or sell without it. Try to work without it, and the new immigrant law makes it even 'tighter.' Try to exist as a church without a Fed. I.D. number.
Modern theology has dispensationalized the principle of Rev. 13 right out of scripture and therefore completely turned upside down Rom. 13. Scripture MUST be used to interpret scripture, II Pet. 1:20. Therefore we have two lies of the devil. 1.) OT is not for us today. This removes the principles of Dan. chps. 1-6 out of Rom. 13. 2.) Modern theology puts Rev. 13 in the future, thereby removing the NT principles from Rom. 13. This then leaves the "NT Church" with no OT or NT illustration to stand on with Rom. 13. Then Acts 5:29 --ought to obey God rather than man-- is dismissed with, "When they tell me I can't preach the gospel, then I'll stand." I really don't think it will ever come to not being able to preach the 'gospel.'
The 'gospel' can be preached today even in Russia. As long as you only preach Christ and Him crucified you can preach. It's when His authority is mentioned that the problems start. If the church is registered with the government, they are allowed to meet and preach. ("Taking a firm stand against faith". 'Time,' 1/12/87.)
1.), 2.) makes Rom. 13 stand by itself which (in their minds) allows the Church and Christians to obey the ungodly demands of the civil government, as well as other authority, with a clear conscience.
The principle is clearly illustrated in both OT & NT. These show us that any demand by civil government which is not in accordance with Bible principles must be disobeyed or it is the worshipping of the image of Dan. 3 (vv. 1-6) and of Rev. 13. Worshipping is actually obeying the demands of a person, Lk. 6:46. To obey anything over the word of God is to recognize another Lord. Other authority can only be obeyed when it does not conflict with the principles of God's Word, because worship of God is obedience to Him, Jn. 14:15. Any obedience outside of this is sin. Therefore, anytime a principle of God is violated in obedience to another authority, then God is displaced for that authority. This is to worship other gods.
"Worship" is not always used in a religious sense. All 'worship' from Heb. 1:6 through Rev. means "to kiss the hand towards one in token of reverence," such as "blowing a kiss" to a person. It includes falling on the knees, bowing or prostration. This can be homage shown to men of superior rank which included the custom of bowing upon the magistrate's staff of office in taking an oath. It can also be "to do reverence to."
We think of worship as "bowing down", but, actually, here it could easily be just showing the respect, homage to this 'beast' which is due only to God, Rom. 1:21. This 'beast', then, can be any authority which sets itself above God. Rom. 13 cannot stand by itself any more than Rom. 10:13 can for salvation. Rom. 13 must stand with Rev. 13 and Dan. 1-6. Anything less is SIN!!
The separation of the OT from the NT, along with "under grace, not law", has been a work of the enemy to remove Rom. 13 from the principle illustrated back there in the OT. The rapture has been used by the enemy to remove the NT illustration from Rom. 13, and, in doing this, leaves a completely wrong interpretation of Rom. 13 (as well as several other passages in the NT where submission is required).
Rev. 13 clearly points out that any demand by civil government which violated God's definition of right and wrong (good, evil), or violates God's principles, is to be disobeyed even to the death. Anything which violates Ex. 20, as well as all of the law as given to Moses, must be disobeyed in order to remain true to God, even though the power to give those orders comes from God.
God gives the power. Daniel point blank tells Nebuchadnezzar this (Dan. 4:17, 25, 32, 35; 5:21), and Daniel, as well as the three boys is commended for disobeying the commands which came from the misuse of this power. This raises a question. Was it really a misuse, or was it using the power as God knew he would to expose those who would compromise? This is something to think about.
The beast of Rev. 13 is specifically given power to force the saints to obey ungodly orders, yet they are praised for disobeying these orders. He makes war to force them to comply. He puts them to death for disobeying him (he has the power of God to do so), yet, they are praised for disobeying the power given him by God.
Why? We read in Matt. 18:7 and in Lk. 17:1 that It is necessary that offenses come, but woe to him by whom they come. Why is it necessary? One reason it is necessary is so that the true Christian will be separated from the false, professing Christian. And God gives the power to the ungodly to force this distinction.
I Cor. 11:18, 19 --There must be--. God gives power and authority to a person He knows is going to misuse it. That person will be judged for his misuse, Isa. 13. This misuse will reveal those which are approved. Even in our personal lives, there must be this misuse of power by those in authority over us. It strengthens our faith, I Pet. 1:7; wins the lost to Christ, I Pet. 1:9; 2:15, and shows where others are in their relationship to the Lord.
Nebuchadnezzar's misuse of God's power revealed the ones who would stand. It is only the misuse of God's power in Rev. 13 that reveals the true church as they disobey the authority over them as that authority makes ungodly demands. Even though that authority`s power is from God, it is given so that the church will be purified. Only those in Rev. 13 who disobeyed the civil authority are praised by God. The misuse of power in the workplace will reveal those approved by God.
Therefore, Rom. 13 MUST be viewed in light of Rev. 13 even though it has been put into the future by modern theology. Thus, on the authority of Rev. 13, we cannot obey any civil law which requires a compromise of Bible principles even though the end result is death.
This is a hard saying, but look at what it says. Those who accept civil law over God's law do not have their name in the Lamb's book of life and He will say to them, Depart from me, ye that work iniquity, Matt. 7; Rev. 13:8.
There must be this ungodly civil government, as well as other ungodly authority, making ungodly demands as the church grows lukewarm because this is the only way the "approved" of God will be manifest. Those who obey the ungodly demands ARE NOT the approved of God. Here is the dividing line. Not tongues or the 5 V's, although the 5 V's will enter into it. The dividing line is "Who is the Lord?" Our Lord is the one we obey. God gives ungodly leaders authority to make and enforce ungodly demands. He does this so that the world may see who are His people and who aren't. Anyone can talk a good show, but one of the dividing marks would be the stand against the ungodly demands which are made by "whoever." This will reveal those who are the approved by God.
Rev. 13:5, 6, notice the word blaspheme. Let's look at an OT passage to establish a principle here. Hosea 8:6 shows us that God's people did not fall into this sin through error but by design, and because it was an intentional sin they were blinded to the results, as well as to other sins, Ja. 1:22. They were self-deceived and all of the prophets in the world could not cause them to see the light until that sin was dealt with. Remember Israel's history. Any kind of enlightening revival at all always started with a departure from the original sin of the false gods, the works of their hands.
Paul expresses the same concern in II Tim. 2:19, as he cries out to God's people, Nevertheless, the foundation (principles of life) of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. This iniquity is identified as we study (the OT Scriptures) to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (v. 15). The OT gives to us the revealed, never changing character of God and His principles which are in action in this world and have been since Gen. 1:1.
Paul goes on in v. 22, And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. A point of interest here, I Tim. 1:20 --delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme . Blaspheme here is, "To speak reproachfully," "contemptous speech intentionally comesshort of the reverence due to God." This identifies Romans 1:21, the refusal to glorify God as God, as nothing but blasphemy, and Paul delivered these two to Satan that they might learn not to blaspheme.
Barnes (Barnes' Notes, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan) in Daniel Vol. II as he speaks on Daniel 7:25 (pg. 72) gives a definition of blaspheme which we cannot overlook. "This would be fulfilled in one who would blaspheme God directly; or who would be rebellious against his government and authority; or who would complain of his administration and laws; or who would give utterance to harsh and reproachful words against his real claims. It would find a fulfillment obviously in an open opposer of the claims and the authority of the true God; or in one the whole spirit and bearing of whose pretensions might be fairly constructed as in fact, an utterance of great words against him."
So we see here that blaspheme is identifed as words or actions which are in rebellion against His claim of authority, government or laws. Paul delivered these two men in I Tim. 1:20 to Satan for this. Can we expect any less today? His warning in II Tim. 2:19, is for every Christian to depart from iniquity or they will be taken captive by the devil at his will, I Jn. 3:4.
Therefore, rebellion against God's government, authority, in any way, in any area of life, whether in our personal life, family, social, school, civil government or church government, is nothing but blasphemy and turns the person or groups of people or society over to captivity to the devil to do with as he pleases. Notice that he will do as he pleases very slowly so as not to waken the sleeping Christian, I Cor. 15:34.
Hosea 8:7 goes on to say that the little seed of blasphemy, which is a word or actions in rebellion against His claim of authority, and these sown by His people, will grow up many fold. Again, Paul uses this OT illustration in his plea for God's people to wake up and obey God, Gal. 6:1-9. It only takes one seed to reap 100 fold. Are God's people today about to reap what they have sown over the last 50-75 years? ONLY God knows His time table, and only fools would try to schedule Him. One thing is for sure, the prevailing thought today is blasphemy because VERY FEW glorify Him as God over every area of their life. VERY FEW of His people glorify Him as God, Lord over His "Church," body of believers, let alone over civil government and other areas of life--areas such as science, the arts, music education, homes, and churches.
Prayer--Hosea 14:34, I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely. We need this healing badly today. Our hope and prayer is in Him alone to pour out His grace and turn hearts.
Here we see blasphemy is identifed as words or actions which are in rebellion against the claim of God's authority in any area, whether in goverment, individual, society, education, laws or wherever the resistance to His authority takes place.
In Rev. 13, we don't necessarily have a person, system, office or whatever this beast is, cursing and shaking his fist at God. What we do have, though, is this beast refusing to recognize God's authority in these areas, then making war aginst anyone who will not recognize the 'beast's' authority. Thus, the issue here in Rev. 13 is not necessarily bowing down, but recognization of another authority. Really, even just showing more respect toward the beast than toward the Lord God. This philosophy is in full swing today. Very few of even God's people show Him the proper respect.
Notice v. 19 of I Cor. 11, among you, so there are those not approved and approved in this group. Here we have proof before men which side the person being tried is on. Tried as in Ja. 1:12, where the crown of life is promised to those who stand fast in this trial, the offer to compromise God's authority.
Now, where does this approval come from in I Cor. 11:19? It comes from standing fast in the face of heresies--This is the same heresy of II Pet. 2:1, where it is the denial of the Lord's authority for a profit. Heresy "-- an opinion, especially a self-willed opinion, which is substituted for submission to the power of the truth; such erroneous opinions are frequently the outcome of personal preference or the prospect of advantage." The implications here are absolutely astounding. We don't have to talk to many pastors or professing Christians before we hear, "It will cost me this if I do that," even though they know what is right to do. That is heresy, and it is almost in complete control today. When we allow the results to make our decision for us we are practicing heresy and it has God's hand against it.
Therefore, I Cor. 11:19; II Pet. 2:1-3, shows us that there must be these chances for decisions to be made. The chance to deny the Lord for the benefit or advantage. God raises up even ones which He knows will misuse the power that He gives to them. Only by those authorities making ungodly demands and threats (war) against the saints will those approved of God be revealed. They will be revealed as they refuse to obey any law, command or pressure placed upon them which is contrary to God's Word, whether in the workplace or wherever it may be.
Also we need to keep in mind that Rev. 13 makes it clear, those who obey the ungodly civil government over God's Word are not written in the book of life, v. 8. We can dispensationalize this all we want to, but the principle is clear cut. Those who desire to obey the ungodly demands of civil government over God's Word are not saved here, and this was the view of the early church.
Where this fits today we can't say, but God is very clear here on this. He gave power to the beast (all ungodly authority) to demand that all who claim Christ obey him. Those who do are those who are not written in the Lamb's book of life. Those who refuse are those who had their name written in the Lamb's book of life. This must happen to reveal who are His and those who aren't because both look exactly the same on the outside. Here the response to the ungodly demands made by civil government reveals the truth. Here the man's life is on the line when he disobeys the civil authority, 13:10. In this light, then, to obey all authority in Rom. 13 is a lie of the enemy designed to bring God's judgment against His people.
In conclusion to this. Rom. 13, as well as other passages dealing with this, cannot stand by itself. It must be viewed in the light of Dan. 1-6 and Rev. 13. Civil government is to praise good and punish evil, and God's Word defines what is good and what is evil.
When civil government departs from being a minister of God for good (as in Rev. 13) and calls good evil and evil good, the Christian's responsibility is to obey the good and resist the evil. In Rev. 13, this distinguishes the saved from the unsaved.
Rev. 13 is a two part demand upon God's people. 1.) To recognize another authority over them and obey another set of laws other than the Lord God's. 2.) To show the honour and respect to these other authorities which belongs only to God. Those who are not His do just that as they submit to the unbiblical demands of the civil government. Those who refuse are persecuted and even put to death, yet are praised by God.
God gives ungodly, wicked men the power to demand that Christians disobey God. First, He does this that His people might be purified and strengthened, I Pet. 1:7, 8. Also, He does this here in Rev. 13 to sort out "those who are saints from those who ain't;" He does this in I Cor. 11:19 to reveal the ones who are "approved of God;" He does this in II Pet. 2:1-3, even permitting the offer of the prospect of advantages to them to compromise His Lordship, to sort out those who are faithful to the Lord God and those who aren't. Those who believe God's Word enough to stand and those who don't. And He does this to win the lost to Christ by our stand, I Pet. 1:9; 2:15; I Cor. 15:34.
Now, when is this refusal anarchy and when is it submission to God? If a person refuses to obey the civil authority because they just don't want to, you have anarchy. But for us, if the person refuses to obey unbiblical requirements because the Word of God gives a different principle than what the civil government or any authority is demanding, here is the obedience to Christ which is demanded of His people.
What is our motive behind the refusal to obey the authority over us? Is it freedom to do right? This will be judged in that day because God knows and we will answer accordingly, II Cor. 5:10.
This could be a difficulty with the saved joining with the unsaved even in a common good cause. What is the motive of the unsaved? Can it be a scriptural motive if he is unsaved? If we are not careful, we will be found advancing an ungodly motive rather than advancing Biblical principles in obedience to our LORD.
We are living in an amazing day of inconsistency. People, preachers included, seem to want a "Cafeteria Christianity" where they can walk down a line and pull out just what they want that can be used to support what they believe.
As I was turning the channels on our T.V. set one evening I came across a well known T.V. preacher with a very serious look on his face and pointing his finger at me as he was talking.
He was "going after" the 'legalist teacher'--those who say that we should still obey the law of God, and he was very much against this kind of teaching.
The verse he was quoting was found in Matt. 5:8-42. He was saying that Christ did away with an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. But did Christ do away with this OT law? I found it a very interesting study and also saw the total inconsistency with scriptures when someone says that Christ did away with this principle. Yet, God still demands justice in the case of abortions. In other words, we canot have one without the other. To do away with an eye for an eye must approve abortions in order to be consistent. Please follow this through as we look at these passages.
We find this text in Matt. 5:8-42. and we must look at the context. "A text without a context is a pretext," and to say that Christ did away with the law of eye for an eye is to make this a pretext.
If you will look back to vv. 10-12, you will find He is talking about being persecuted for righteousness sake. Let's follow this through to get the line of thought here and to what Christ is referring.
V. 41 -- mile, two miles. From what I understand, under the Roman rule a soldier could compel a citizen to carry his gear for a mile. He could hail anyone to do this. Now, remember, those who are righteous, godly are despised by the world and will suffer persecution, II Tim. 3:12. Could this be referring to the soldier needing someone to carry his gear? He sees a 'righteous man' (vv. 13-16), and (soldiers are not known for being righteous) he makes it a point to compel this righteous man to bear his burden. He compels the righteous man over the unrighteous out of spite or distaste for his righteousness.
He speaks contemptuously to the man who has let his light shine as he was commanded to in vv. 13-16 with, "Hey, you over there, you 'righteous man,' come over here. You think you are so good, here, carry this heavy load, we'll see how good you are." And we know this is exactly the attitude the world uses with those who try to obey Matt. 5:13-16. In fact, this is one of the excuses the devil gives for not obeying this. "Others will take advantage of you." Thus, here the man is being persecuted or chosen out for his stand. Our Lord said, carry that an extra mile. Remember, Matt. 5 is not to the heathen, the heathen is the one making the demand upon the righteous.
Therefore, the command of vv. 21-26 could be referring to hating someone who has persecuted you for righteousness sake as you do your best to be Christ-like. Notice verse 22, hate toward a brother is not permitted. V. 25, hate toward an adversary is not permittted, but there is a perfect hatred toward the enemies of God, Ps. 139:22.
V. 38, He is referring, in its context, to being persecuted for righteousness sake as men revile us for Christ, as they persecute us, and speak all manner of evil against us for CHRIST'S SAKE, vv. 10-11. This is explained further over in I Pet. 2:18-25. Christ suffered for righteousness sake, and bore it patiently. Thus, this command in Matt. 5:38-42 is when we are personally smitten for our stand for Christ, then we have no recourse but to turn the other cheek.
When we are sued for Christ's sake, we give more than is required. When we are required to do something and singled out to do it because of our claim of Christ, we do more. Example of this would be on the job, in school, ect.. If someone singles us out because of our LIGHT for Him to borrow from us, turn him not away.
V. 43, that person who is an enemy, does he curse, hate, despitefully use you because of your claim of Christ? Then we are to LOVE him, bless him, do good for him, pray for him, and by our well doing, put him to silence, I Pet. 2:15.
Now, let's look at the law which Christ is referring to, Ex. 21:24. Here is the law of restitution. All of Ex. 21 deals with this. Notice that in vv. 24-25, God gives the law; eye for an eye, but goes on and explains what He meant. He applies the law. He was not saying that if I cause the loss of your eye I was to lose mine in exchange for it. He goes on to tell of a man who caused the loss of an eye of another. He also tells of the lost of a tooth of another, but look what is to be done. He was not to take the eye of the man nor his tooth, but he was to let the man go free if he was a servant.
We don't have servants like this today; therefore, what would be the principle? 21:1-36 gives the principles, as the law of Moses never did require an eye for an eye as we would think of it. The principles of this law here in chp. 21 are just as much for us today as when they were given.
1. We do not practice vv. 1-11 today. 2. V. 12 -- capital punishment. 3. V. 13 -- provision made for accidental death, involuntary manslaughter. But v. 14, if it's proved otherwise, then no protection given to the guilty. 4. VV. 15-17 -- Again capital punishment. It should be enforced today, but it isn't and look at the crime rate. 5.VV. 18-19 -- restitution. If you injure another man, you pay for his lost time as well as medical expense. 6. V.20 -- punished if the servant dies, but if he lingers the owner loses his money. Again, this one fits in with vv. 1-11 which we do not practice today. 7. V. 22 -- accidental abortion. Punished and judge determines the fine. 8. V. 23 -- intentional abortion, capital punishment. 9. VV. 24-25 would go with vv. 22-23, and the judge would determine the penalty. NOTE: If v. 23 , life for a life is still good then so is v. 24, eye for an eye.
10. VV. 28-29 -- gives the law concerning livestock. 11. If the ox, bull gets out and he is mean and kills a man, the bull is killed and the owner is guiltless if he escaped accidently or owner didn't know he was mean. 12. VV. 30- 31, the owner knows the bull is mean and doesn't pen him up and it kills someone. The bull is killed and its owner is also killed unless the judge or family members allows the man to buy his life back. 13. V. 32 -- That is, unless the person who was killed was one of vv. 1-11, then the owner of the servant is reimbursed his money, but the bull is still killed and not eaten and the money, investment lost. Thus the owner who allowed the bull to escape is out a double loss, the cost of the bull and servant. 11. VV. 33-34 is restitution for the loss of another man's property through negligence on first property owners part. He must pay for his negligence. 12. VV. 35-36 - even up--unless one owner was negligent in not restricting his bull, then he gets the dead bull.
This is only a small part of the laws of restitution. We see all of these at one time reflected in our society. The judge (v. 22) used to have a preacher along beside him in the court room to find out what God's Word said about the matter which was before him. Our laws have changed from the laws of God, which required restitution, to the laws of man, reflection.
As we know, William Penn started the Pennell Institutions for people to be able to sit and reflect on their misdeeds, and as they reflect, they change. Rather than reflect, a large part only figure out how they got caught and how to avoid it in the future,making them more effective criminals. Now the victim is a double victim. He lost his property and now has to pay $35-41,000.00 a year to support the law-breaker in the stile which he is accustomed to. This is a result of this liberal theology which has removed restitution from the law and is bearing its fruit. This has removed the "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth," or something of equal value for the damage done, called restitution.
The T.V. preacher can sit there and say, "We are no longer under the law of eye for an eye; Christ said, show them mercy (storm warning came on then and I missed the rest of his "feigned words"), turn the other cheek, ect.."
What did Christ mean? He was talking of being persecuted for righteousness sake. Persecuted for letting your light shine, persecuted for your stand for Him as an individual. Yes, turn your other cheek; give him your 'cloak', also, go the extra mile. But when the law-breaker is doing it because he wants what you have, then we have every right in the world to call on the civil government to protect us from that one who seeks to smite us, defraud us or take our life, liberty or property in any way. In fact, according to the law, we are required to see that restitution is made.
He walks up and slaps you, "So you are a Christian?" Turn the other cheek. He says, "I don't like your looks" and hits you, then hit him back.
Rom. 13:3, rulers are to be a terror to those who do evil and protect those who do good. The logical result of the liberal theology of "not under law but under grace" has led to the point where even the Christian has quit demanding that the civil government be a terror to those who do evil and seek to deprive us of our life, liberty or private property. The desire now is that they be shown mercy. There is more concern for the criminal than for the victim. This is anti-christ.
Christ did not do away with Ex. 21 and He makes this very clear in Matt. 5:17-19. All in the world He did was bring these laws, as revealed to Moses, into their proper perspective. These laws are the ONLY ONES which will work. Anything else leads to the chaos we have today.
Our Lord did say that blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you, because of their godly stand.
Think of the prisons this would empty if the law-breaker had to pay according to Ex. 21; restore equal value for what he took. Think of the money it would save. It seems that the interest today isn't in saving money, but the interest is in the money which can be made out of law-enforcement, lawyers, judges, prison personnel, buildings, officers, etc.. The list is endless.
God's laws, principles will work. It's liberal theology which has allowed them to be laid aside for man's own counsels, Hosea 11:6. They are counted as a strange thing and the whirlwind is picking up speed, Hosea 8:12. It will get so great that it cannot be stopped unless God's people turn back to His laws.
That includes these T.V. preachers if they are one of God's people as they claim to be. If the Christian has laid aside Ex. 21, then how in the world can we fuss at the abortionist for violating it?
These evangelists (and others) will preach against abortions, and they should, but when an eye for an eye, restitution, is laid aside, then abortion must also be condoned. We cannot expect God to work in one area and overlook another. Only when God's people get back to glorifying God as God can we expect any change, Rom. 1:21; II Chron. 7:14.
We should speak out just as loud against the modern day prison system as we do against abortion. They are both covered under the same principle in Ex. 21. Abortion is only the logical result of using 'incarnation' rather than 'restitution'. We will probably have abortion, or other things just as wicked, as long as we have 'incarnation,' rather than God's method,' restitution.'
Of course, we still must stand against 'murder' of the unborn. We also need to call for the death penalty (according to Ex. 21) against this murder because God does, as well as restitution from the law-breaker. God's laws cannot be avoided in one area and enforced in another without the results coming to pass. The hemlock of Hosea 10:4 will spring up. We cannot choose which ones we want to apply.
Yes, Christ did do away with the law; the mediation laws of sacrifices, holy days, new moons and sabbaths. We fulfill in Him all of the laws which pointed to His atoning work on the cross, but that is all. The rest are still in effect. The results will come to pass whether we want to believe it or not. God help His people to see what is going on before it is too late.
Until we agree with God in the area of restitution (eye for an eye) and the areas which we just kind of ignore, don't agree with, or say that's for another age, then He will not agree with us in areas such as abortion, Amos 3:1-3.
Isn't this just like human nature? We tolerate the violation (prison system) of God's laws until it gets to bad (abortion), and then rather than cry out against the basic violation, we cry out aginst the hemlock which springs up. Maybe we can pull up the hemlock (abortion), but something else will spring up until we go back and take care of the root, reinstituting Ex. 21, eye for an eye, restitution rather than reflection. Christ came to lay the ax to the root of the tree, not so we could do as we feel best and avoid the rotten fruit, Matt. 3:10.
The toleration of even the small things will grow completely out of control.
Droughts are far too significant to pass over lightly. When droughts worsen, we hear of prayer meetings being organized to pray for rain. In this we must rejoice because it is about time we give up the foolish notion that "Mother Nature" controls things like the weather and recognize that it is the Lord God of heaven and earth Who is in control.
God told Job that He tells the lightning where to go and the rain where to fall, chp. 38. There is no doubt that God can and will withhold the rain to bring this to men's attention. His Word and His Word alone reveals to man the conditions which He places upon rain in its due season.
As we hear of these calls for prayer meetings to pray for rain, we would like to point some things out. Let us take a few moments to put droughts in their proper Bible perspective.
We have a reference to drought in Deut. 28. Verses 1-12 gives the positive side; rain in its proper season. Verses 15-24, the negative side; dust in place of rain. The context of Deut. 28 is clearly to God's Covenant People. The Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5) was a continuation of Deut. 28. The comparison is not hard at all to make.
There are many passages which call for rain withheld as judgment against the sin in God's people. I Ki. 8:35; II Chron. 7:13 (Notice the context of II Chron 7:13 is v. 14, lack of rain should cause God's people to turn back to God); Jer. 3:3; Amos 4:7; Zech. 14:17.
Deut. 11:10-17 also clearly states that lack of rain is the result of God's judgment against His people. V. 13 gives the reason: because they refuse to hearken diligently to His commandments which He commanded His people. And we can hear the cry now. "But that's OT. That isn't for us today". And to this we must say, Let God be true, but every man a lair, Rom. 4:3.
It really doesn't matter how many times so called "men of God" get up and tell God's people that they are no longer bound by the Ten Commandments; they are still the requirements of God upon His Covenant People. Every preacher in the world can stand up and say we are no longer required to keep God's moral law, yet they will be found liars. God still defines sin as a violation of HIS LAW, I Jn. 3:4.
"But Deut. 11:10-17 is Old Testament and is not for the church age since Christ." Maybe someone should instruct our Lord in the proper use of the Sciptures as He quotes a text from this context, Matt. 22:37 (Mk. 12:29, 30; Lk. 10:27). In doing this He shows us the context of 10-17 is still for His Covenant People today.
If we will check each of these passages we will find, without exception, that rain in its season is a blessing from God upon His people who are obedient to His every law-word. The lack of rain is a result of disobedience.
Deut. 11:10 is interesting as Moses points out that irrigation was a result of God's curse against sin. Of course, this was fulfilled in the land of Canaan. Therefore, any prosperity which might be accomplished over there today by irrigation cannot be a mark of God's blessings upon them.
This principle is as established as the Rock Himself. It will never pass away. The lack of rain is a result of a lack of faithfulness to God's law-word by His Covenant People. We might point to the farmer and say, "Droughts are his fault for turning from God and for looking to the central government for his needs to be fulfilled." We might point to the central government and say, "Droughts are their fault for setting themselves up as god and demanding that EVERYTHING be done in accordance to their every desire." We might even point to the liberal and say, "There is where the fault lies," as they have their church activities in order to raise money for the "Lord's work".
Yet, in all of this pointing of our finger, all must be compared to God's Word. God clearly tells us that when His people turn from His law-word then He withholds the rain. As God's people are told that the freedom promised under Christ is freedom from the bondage of the moral law of God, one result will be drought. No doubt we can fully expect drought conditions to continue on as long as God's people remain indifferent to God's law-word.
They are saying that this current drought (1988) is quickly developing into the worst drought of the century. We can safely say that we are in the worst drought in the midst of God's people in this century--very close to a total indifference toward God's inspired Word, and very close to a total attack against His law as revealed in His commandments.
We can point at the indifference of the heathen all we want to and say, "He is to blame for God's withholding of rain," yet the clear teaching of God's Word is that it is the indifference of God's people toward God that is the cause. Rom. 1:21, Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God,--. It is when His Covenant People refuse to glorify Him as God, refuse to recognize His authority over them, that these calamities overtake a nation.
As long as the ones described in II Pet. 2:1-3 tell God's people that they no longer have to obey God's moral law in order to please their God, then nothing but drought lies ahead even if it rains tonight and the current drought is broken. The promise of His Word will hold true forever.
Keep in mind, we are not even hinting at keeping the law of God for salvation in any way, either to gain salvation or to be secure in salvation. The redemptive work of Christ did this for us. We entered into His Covenant by faith. We are told in Isa. 42:1-7 (v. 6, esp.) that Christ is the Covenant. All who are in Him are the people of the Covenant. Those in Him are either covenant-keepers or covenant-breakers according to the law of the Covenant, Ex. 34:28, Deut. 9:9-15; Rom. 1:31, etc..
Maybe the drought will end quickly, maybe it won't. Only our Lord knows. We do know, according to His Word, that droughts are here because of the indifference toward the law of the Covenant by His people. Prayer meetings are good, yet prayer without a good dose of Prov. 28:13, 14 is wasted breath. Yes, Elias prayed and rain came after three years and six months, Ja. 5:17, 18. But, you will find that Elias' prayer was in accordance with Deut. 28. God's people had turned from God. His prayer brought three and a half years of drought. We will also find that his prayer for rain was to turn the people back in obedience to God. The result of his prayer was the people raising up in obedience to God's law and destroying the false prophets, I Ki. 18:36-46.
The purpose of drought is to get the attention of the Covenant People; to call them back in obedience to His Word. Prayer (or hope of any kind) for rain, without this return by God's people to Him and His law, is wasted breath. The indifference toward God must first be dealt with before there can be any healing of the land in which they live.
As a pastor, we have not seen any sign of the laying aside of this indifference by God's people in response to these natural calamities. We have not seen an increase in the Sunday night or Wednesday night attendance which would show a desire for strength from God to face the situation, Heb. 10:25. We have not seen an increase in giving which would show a turning of the heart from covetousness toward God's Kingdom, Matt. 6:21-34. We have not seen an increase in desire to lay aside sin that the person might be more holy even as He is holy, I Pet. 1:14-17.
In contrast, we are seeing a rise in false teachers and an increase in their following, which, of course, shows us that the desire for aid from above has no desire for purity with it. In view of this, and in the light of Deut. 28, (Matt. 7:24-29) there can only be judgment ahead unless there is an awakening toward the law-word of God by those who are called by His name, Ps. 50:16-22; Hosea 4:6-9; etc..
Along with situations such as drought, it would be wise to consider Prov. 27:12. There is a cross-reference for this passage, Jer. 8:7. This is indeed sad as the Lord points out that the animals with their natural instinct have more sense than His people. The beasts of the field can see evil coming, yet God's people cannot.
Let's look a little at Jeremiah's warning. His people say, "We are wise and God's law is with us. Even though His warnings are written in His law, we don't have to worry."
The wise men have rejected God's Word (law), yet; 1) they won't face up to it; 2) they won't admit there is a result for that rejection. Read the rest of the chapter. As we read on down to v. 18, we see that even though God is promising judgment against sin, His people just won't believe it (V. 15, they looked for peace). Even though the context and this passage has been fulfilled, the principle will stand forever.
Charles Bridges says of Prov. 27:12 (Proverbs, a reprint of his 1846 work by Banner of the Truth Trust, pg. 513). "Even animal instinct is the exercise of prudence. Every intelligent man acts upon it. It is natural to see the evil when it is come, or close to our door. But the prudent man foreseeth the coming evil. God is the same unchangeable God of holiness and justice. Sin is the same abomination to Him as ever. There must therefore be evil to the sinner. The prudent man sees the effect in the cause, the consequent in the antecedent. He must therefore provide himself with a shelter. Here is his prudence, securing a refuge. The evil is imminent". He goes on to talk about securing our position in Christ, yet no doubt this goes much farther.
Modern day Christianity has removed the doctrine of Cause and Effect from our Bible. God assures us that every action has a reaction. Whether good or evil, there will be an effect. This would be called the doctrine of CAUSALITY.
The prudent man sees the sin going on around him and knows that there will be an effect. God is an unchangeable God. His standard of holiness and justice does not change. He hates sin as much today as He ever did. Therefore, there must be evil come upon the sinner.
Ecc. 8:11-13 is still in the scripture. The sinner may get away with his sin a hundred times, his days may be prolonged, yet as long as there is a God in heaven it shall not be well with the wicked. His days will not be prolonged. The evil of his deeds will catch up with him. The prudent man understands that there is a wage, a payment in the here and now against sin and ungodliness. This will cause him to: 1. Depart from iniquity and do good. 2. Prepare for the sure judgment against that sin which society refuses to turn from.
Solomon describes us perfectly in v. 11. The sentence against the evil work is not executed speedily. Therefore, we feel that God isn't going to execute that sentence against that evil work. Not ours necessarily, but the evil work of the wicked man, whether that man is the one we work with, go to church with, vote for, or listen to on the T.V. newscast.
For some reason, we have developed the feeling that the evil deeds of political or civil leaders are exempt from the judgment of God. For some reason, we have this idea that whole countries or societies can rebel against God and because we don't see God strike them down right now, He has forgotten about it. We feel that because the Supreme Court made murder okay in the Roe v. Wade decision, God won't judge this nation for this. For some reason, we feel that because Marxism is officially anti-christ, God won't judge them. What in the world makes us think these societies will get away with their attempted rebellion against God?
Let's get a little closer to home. As we saw in Jer. 8:7, the real problem is with God's people, Hosea 8:12-14. It was because God's people turned their back upon God's law that God sent the heathen to burn their cities, eat their food, rape their wives and daughters, and place them in servitude.
When a layman stands up as a preacher in a County Jail and tells the law-breakers, "You are no longer bound by the law of God", we can be sure God will catch up with that attitude. Yet, we feel because God didn't strike him with lightning, He has ignored it, Ps. 50:16-23. How can we expect leaders to obey God's moral law when those who claim to be His see no need to? Is not this exactly the attitude dealt with by Paul in Rom. 2:1-11?
As we have mentioned many times, Ps. 2 is still in the scripture and the rebel is anyone (so called Christians or even the unsaved) who attempts to void the law of God. Rom., chps. 1 and 2 makes it exceptionally clear that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness, unrighteousness of men.
Maybe we need to define ungodliness. It would be the opposite of godliness. Now, what is godliness? It is Like God. How do we find out what God is like? His revealed Word defines His character. His Law reveals His character. Anything contrary to His written law-word is ungodliness and Rom. 1:18 clearly tells us that HIS wrath is against ALL ungodliness, whether that ungodliness is in His people or in the heathen. God will judge ungodliness and unrighteousness.
Rom. 2, His judgment is according to truth. Heb., chps. 10, 12, our God is a consuming fire against His people who willfully sin. The lawless attitude of the child of God is reflected in the society and in our leaders.
Some would say, "There are too many Christians in the U.S. to allow anything to happen to us". I was watching a program (June 13-17, '88) which was a special on religion in the USSR. In this program they claimed 40-60% of the Soviet Union were professed Christians. USN & WR (June 20, '88) claimed there are 80 million Orthodox Christians within the population of 285 million. This would be those people within the sanctioned groups. This easily places the total number of professed Christians in the 40-60% range. That is as large of a percentage of professed Christians as we have in the U.S.. It is a lie of the devil which would say, "There are so many Christians in the U.S. that nothing will happen".
Back to our passage in Prov. 27:12. This is a restatement of Prov. 22:3. "It is a great part of wisdom to see what God is doing, or about to do. When evil is come most men can see it. But the prudent forseeth it. Not that God hath given to us the knowledge of futurity. This would only have encouraged presumption. But He has given us prudence, naturally foreseeing evil, and forecasting the most effectual means of deliverance. David was thus directed to hide himself from Saul; Elijah from Jezebel. The disciples were taught to flee from impending evil. Paul repeatedly hid himself from threatened destruction. Even our Divine Master acted on this rule of prudence, till His time was come (Matt. XXVI. 46)"..
"Not that the prudent man is gifted with supernatural knowledge. He only uses the discernment which God hath given him. He regards the signs of the times. He studies the Word of God in reference to coming judgments; and he acts accordingly. To walk carelessly in the midst of evil, is reckless folly..." Bridges, pgs. 398-399.
One last thing on 27:12 (pg. 513). "But the simple --the wilfully foolish-- let things take their course... They pass on and are punished".
"But", you say, "I have been taught that we will be gone before anything real bad takes place", and so was I. Tell this to Pastor Sileven. Tell this to the multitudes of Christians living under Marxism. Tell this to the hundreds of people who are facing persecution here in the U.S. for their faith. Tell the Soviet Christians, "You will be gone before there is a food shortage or the death penalty on Christianity". And, most pointed of all, God did not confer with C. I. Scofield, nor even with Jerry before the foundations of the world as to when or how the end will be.
To count on, "We will be gone before anything drastic happens" is nothing but a "bed time lullabye" by the devil to lull Christians to sleep and catch them completely unprepared.
All of that to say this. Look around. 1.) This Nation has turned from God. Rather than the President and Congress calling for national repentance, prayer and return to God over calamities, they have committee hearings to pass some new laws used to tighten their grip upon the nation. (Salvation from all of man's ills by law.) 2.) The financial institutions are on the verge of collapse. 3.) Christians do not want to be told of their responsibility toward God and His Word. Jeremiah called it right when he said, The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priest bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof, Jer. 5:31? (See Jer. 14:13; 32:23).
There is little doubt that we had better prepare for the very worst that can happen (drought and famine) and pray for the very best. Pray that God will give a spirit of repentance to His people to turn back to His law-word, Zech. 12:10.
Someone said, "There is no need to prepare for famine, God will take care of us". James shows us that this attitude is presumption. Chp. 2 is especially pointed. Can a person survive on faith alone? Faith without works is dead.
FREE BEER AND PIZZA?
One of the hardest things we have had to overcome is looking at the results and assuming that the means to obtain those results are right. We are conditioned to believe that if the results seem to glorify God, then the means surely do also.
Very few of even God's people see any problem with just a slight compromise in order to be able to do good and preach the gospel. What does God say on this matter? Which is more important to Him, the "Salvation of souls" or the obedience to His basic principles which includes preaching to every creature?
We must return to the basic principles of God's Word. Either something is right or wrong according to His basic principle, or it is right or wrong according to the results. Do the results of "many won to the Lord" justify compromise in the methods to reach them?
Now, let's consider the Scriptural principles involved here. Please stay with us as we establish some ground work. Rom. 3 gives us a good view of what we are talking about. V. 6 is what we want, but let's start in v. 3 and work up to it.
Paul has been removing any and all of the false hope that the Jews who knew the law might have had in their law and traditions. He has spent two full chapters reasoning with them and proving that their race, their physical relationship to Abraham, will not matter in the judgment. The promises of God are by grace, not by race.
They felt that because they were baptized church members (and we might add, Baptist) they could go their own way because, somehow, they had a "special relationship" with the "man upstairs." Paul is removing all of their hope in the law, tradition or race and as he does this, he re-emphasizes a point over and over.
He has already told them, The just shall live by faith, Rom. 1:17. Faith is acting on God's law-word and leaving the results up to Him, not some spooky feeling. The just man will glorify God in everything, 1:21. Then, in Rom. 2:28, 29 and chp. 9, he makes it clear that the true Jew, child of God, heir to the promise given to Abraham, is by faith; not tradition nor physical action such as keeping the law. The true Jew has always been by faith. Check Rom. 3:21; 9:6; as well as Gal. 3:26-29.
We need to keep in mind the Jewish mind which Paul is dealing with here. Lk. 18:11 is a good example. I thank God I am not as other men are... Of course, after two chapters of telling these who have been trained from their youth up that they were special in God's eyes and will have special favors with God because of their birth, a question or objection comes up. "What advantage then hath the Jew or what is there in circumcision?" The question today would be, "If I don't have special favors from God, then what advantage is there in being a Christian and Baptized?"
Paul's answer, Mainly because unto the Jews are committed the oracles (words, principles, laws) of God. The Jewish nation was the treasury of the Word of God. The divine knowledge that was committed to them by the Lord God made them unique among all other nations. With this advantage and profit came a tremendous responsibility of putting into action every principle of His Word. As they did this, God's blessings were upon them. When they failed, they were cursed with a curse, Deut. 28. Charles Hodges, in his work on Romans (Banner of Truth Trust), Chp. 3, pg. 70, 71, quotes some Jewish authors which show us the thinking Paul was dealing with.
Rabbi Menachem in his commentary on the Books of Moses -- "Our Rabbis have said that no circumcised man will see hell." In the Jalkut Rubeni, "Circumcision saves from hell." In the Medrasch Tillion, "God swore to Abraham that no one who was circumcised should be sent to hell." The book Akedath Jizehak, "Abraham sits before the gate of hell and does not allow that any circumcised Israelite should enter there." And finally, "All Israel has a portion in eternal life."
This is very prevalent today. "I'm a baptized church member. God won't let me go to hell" or "He won't judge me according to my sins." In fact, rather than sin being a violation of the law today as it was in John's day (I John 3:4), we have evolved to where sin is a violation "of the inwrought divine will," or my feelings as they are led by the Holy Spirit (See Scofield Bible, 1911, Pg. 1245 notes).
"Paul, we might be as wicked as you make us out to be (2:19-25), but that does not prove we will be treated, judged like the heathens will be." "What if we are unfaithful to God's principles of life? That won't change His faithfulness to us. After all, hasn't He promised to our father Abraham that He would be his God and to his seed after him forever?" "Hasn't God promised that all the seed of Abraham would inherit all of the benefits of the Messiah's Kingdom?" "God is promises aren't dependent on our moral character." "As long as we keep our part by being baptized (circumcised) and observing the traditions of the elders then we are alright. Why, we have God's promise of our salvation and blessings."
This thinking is very prevalent throughout the NT. Remember what John the Baptist told them, Think not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our father, Matt. 3:9. Remember what they told our Lord in Jn. 8:33? We be Abraham's seed. The feeling here is that no matter how sinful they were, they still had a claim on the blessings of Abraham, as well as eternal life, because they could trace their lineage back to Abraham. Paul is proving different.
Again, today this would be, "We still have the blessings of the promise because we are saved, baptized church members, no matter what we do." We talk to many folks and we ask them, "Are you saved?" The answer many times is, "I've been baptized. I go to church. I'm a member. My parents were Christians. I've prayed and asked for special favors," and even,"I live in America, what do you think I am, a heathen?"
This is exactly what Paul is dealing with here. He points out that it doesn't matter if the whole world decides to be unfaithful on their part, the promise of God to Abraham is still in effect through faith and will always be. Here Paul is still proving that all are under sin whether they believe and admit it or not. The argument could be, "Paul, for ye to say that we are not heirs because of our physical relationship and deeds is not consistent with the faithfulness of God. You are saying then that God is unfaithful?"
Now, we are not speaking against the security of the believer, but we sure are saying that the current day ANTINOMIANISM is not of God. The laying aside of the principles of God's Word so we can do some good things is not in the KJV Bible, and it is calling for God's wrath from heaven which is revealed against all ungodliness, Rom. 1:18. Either it is godly to lay aside His principles or it isn't. A salvation which frees the believer from the law of God for sanctification is not a Bible salvation. Sanctification is, "The result of obedience to the Word of God." See I Thess. 4:3-7, etc.. Anything which frees the believer from the basic principles of God's law-word is not of God.
In Rom. 3:4, Paul continues on, "For God to condemn the 'professing Christian' who ignores God's principles is no breach of promise or covenant and it does not matter how many witnesses you might line up otherwise."
In v. 5, Paul answers the argument which the natural man would give. The argument would go something like this on the part of the person trying to justify his sin of failing to glorify God with every area of his life. "Not only is God's faithfulness pledged for our salvation regardless of how we act (for we are good, faithful, and active church members), but our being unrighteous is only making His righteousness more visible for others to see. Therefore, it would not be righteous, nor just, for God to punish us for what brings so much glory to Him." I suppose we could better state the argument of these people with, "We are only doing a little bit of compromise, sin, but look how much good is coming from it. Look how many souls are being won. How could God judge us for doing something which brings so much glory to Him?"
Now we get down to the basic principle here in v. 6 as Paul answers this objection to his argument that all sin has God's hand against it. He gives proof for his answer with "If this were true then how shall God judge the world?" The idea that says God will overlook the violation of a basic principle because good may come from it must be applied to all of mankind if it is applied to one portion.
In v. 7, Paul narrows it down from the whole world to the individual as he says, "If God is glorified by my sin, therefore, He won't judge me, then how can I believe He is going to judge all men?" In v. 8 he becomes more pointed as he says, "Let's carry this further. If this principle is right, then why am I regarded as a sinner? Rather, let's go ahead and do evil that good may come of it."
All Paul is doing here is following through the prevalent Antinomian thinking of his day, as well as of ours, to its logical conclusion. The conclusion is shocking and exposes it for what it really is wicked. These Jews Paul is writing to are no different than the average person who claims to be a child of God today. "I may not be right; in fact, I know I am not what I should be in that area (as I had a man tell me), but God is getting glory, souls are being saved. It's alright, God will exempt me from any judgment for violating that principle because look at the glory He is getting. Look at the people being reached for Him."
Now, let's follow this through. God always condemns doing evil (violation of His basic principles) that good may come of it. It covers many areas as we follow this principle through. Is it ever right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right?
Sometimes we will compromise with what we know God wants for us to do in order to have peace with others or so we can witness to them. If this end justifies the means, then there is no way we can believe God will judge the unsaved for his refusal to glorify God. It removes all ground for God to judge the world, Rom. 3:6. Now, we are not talking of eternal judgment of heaven and hell here, but the judgments as found in Heb. 10; 12; Gal. 6:7, 8; I Cor. 3:16, 17; Rom. 6; etc.. If we say, "It's okay for me to do what I know I shouldn't in order for me to get a chance to witness", then the same okay must apply to the world and Paul is tearing this apart here in Rom. 3:1-9.
"What is the advantage of being a Christian, then, if I don't have special favors?" Answer? We have the oracles of God, His law-word and principles of LIFE. Along with these comes the tremendous responsibility of sharing them with those around us. But, the method of sharing these oracles is determined by His Word and His Word alone, not by the results.
This is a growing issue of our day. It will grow into a life or death issue within the next twenty years churches and Christians going against the basic principles of God's Word in order to do "His work." It is a question which must be faced, and, as time goes on, it will become more and more prevalent. I had a fourth year law student at IUPUI tell me that his instructors had told them this would be the issue in the next decade, the church-state relationship.
We had better establish this truth in our heart, and the sooner the better. There are greater preachers than we will ever be who have convinced themselves and multitudes of others that it really doesn't matter what you must do as long as you keep the compromise within reason and can tell others abut Jesus. If we say that God overlooks the sin of refusing to glorify Him as God, Sovereign and Lord over every area of life, as well as over His work, because of the good which we can accomplish, then we are no better than those Paul is dealing with here. "We are special and we have special privileges with the "Man upstairs."
This must be carried through. If God will not judge an individual, ministry, church, mission organization, etc., for refusing to glorify Him as God because the end is good and many lives are influenced for Him, then the principles of God's Word are completely undermined. Rom. 2:2, God's judgment is according to truth, not according to that which works. Verse 6, it's according to deeds as these deeds are compared to His Word, II Cor. 5:10.
Verse 11, His judgment has no respect of persons. The line of reasoning which says, "God will overlook that small violation because we are doing good" removes any and all ground for God's judgment of the world. This must also be carried into every area of life. When we say something like, "God is only concerned that the message gets out, the end result is what counts," we must think it through to its conclusion. This makes it alright to go "drinkin', dancin', and crousin'" in order to witness for Christ. Paul tells us very bluntly what God feels about this.
Can a person in good conscience before God condemn those who do say, "Let's go dancin', drinkin', crousin', so we can witness and get people saved", then still support those ministries which do do evil that good may come because they claim to be doing God's work? I will buy a book or purchase a service from the state itself if they have what I need and it can be used for God's glory. But the purchase here is not a stamp of approval of what they are doing. If I donate God's money to it, a completely different principle is involved.
If I donate God's money to those who do evil that good may come, then I am partaker with their evil deeds, as well as making God a partaker with them, Ps 50:18. Either God judges according to the truth or He doesn't, and instead judges according to the end result. If He doesn't judge according to the truth, let's rent the Masonic Hall, hire a rock band, open it up to the public with free beer and pizza so we can get a crowd to preach the gospel to.
Why can't we ? Rom. 3:8, God says we cannot use wrong means to do a right work. We cannot violate the basic principle without making it all unclean, Hag. 2:12-13. To say, "It's alright to do that so the gospel can be spread," is saying God will not judge the free beer and pizza because souls are being won. The violation of the basic principle is the sin and God's wrath is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness.
"All means all and that is all it means." It's time God's people learned their relationship to Abraham by faith does not exempt them from obeying His principles as revealed in His law-word; revealed to Moses as well as to Paul. If God doesn't judge according to the truth, then let's do whatever evil is required to reach them because it will bring more glory to Him. Let's go roll in the mud with them, eat their slop, commit adultery, get drunk, whatever is needed in order to reach them. In doing this, we will have to cut Rom. 3:1-9 out of our Bible.
God is not only concerned that the message gets out, but He is concerned about how it gets out. His judgment will be according to the truth, not according to the results. He will judge the method according to the truth or He has no grounds to judge the world by, Jn. 7:24.
To say God supports wrong methods, and then we support them, exposes His people to the natural result of refusing to glorify Him as God over every area of life. There is no Scriptural defense for the humanist position that if the decision we make produces results we cannot live with, then the decision is to be reconsidered. Either the basic decision is a violation of God's Word or it is not.
Let us make this point again in closing. There is no Scriptural defense for the humanist position that THE RESULTS OF OUR DECISION DETERMINE IF THE DECISION IS RIGHT. The amount of people "reached for Christ" cannot determine if our position is right or wrong. Only God's Word will determine that, Heb. 4:12. My, how we need to see this today.