Yesterday, we talked about ways of thinking that God condemns, and how some of the things people say today are similar to, but different from how they thought in Paul’s time.
One thing they said was,
Let us do evil that good may result. (8)
In Paul’s day, this meant, “Let’s do evil, so that people will clearly see the difference between us and God, and thus glorify God.”
It was a very perverse way of thinking (not to mention strange), and Paul quickly condemned it.
But people today say the same kind of thing, though with a different meaning. Namely, “The ends justify the means.”
In other words, “I know what I’m doing is wrong, but it’s for a good purpose.”
For example, “I know I shouldn’t move in with my boyfriend, but we can save money this way for when we get married. Plus, we can find out if we’re truly compatible before we tie the knot.”
Or, “I know I shouldn’t twist the truth on my resume, but it’s the only way I can get a good job.”
Or, “I know I shouldn’t marry this guy because he doesn’t believe in Christ. But maybe if I do marry him, he’ll become a Christian someday.”
But God condemns this way of thinking. He wants us to follow his way, and that includes both the ends and the means. When we try to take shortcuts, it often leads to disaster.
If you look at the whole Arab-Israeli conflict today, it came because Abraham thought the ends justified the means. God had promised to give him a child and that through that child, the whole world would be blessed. But when years passed, and no child came, Abraham decided to “help” God keep his promise. He slept with his wife’s servant girl. Now this was at this wife’s suggestion, and it was also in line with the social norms of the day for those whose wives were barren.
But it was not in line with God’s way. And now the descendants of the servant (the Arabs) are at bitter odds with the descendants that came from God’s promise (the Jews). How much trouble and strife might have been avoided had Abraham not gone with the idea that the ends justified the means?
How about you? Are you living your life by faith, doing things God’s way and trusting that God will bless you for doing so? Or are you instead making excuses for your behavior, saying that it’s for a good purpose?
In God’s eyes, the ends never justify the means.