Thursday, 28 February 2013
And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come”?—as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just. Romans 3:8
“And why not say” is Paul’s conclusion to the previous concepts which he has laid before his readers. Is God’s faithfulness nullified by the unfaithfulness of man? Does man’s unrighteousness demonstrate the righteousness of God? Is the truth of God is increased through my lie to His glory? Each question and its answer has led Paul to say that if the answers are “yes” then we might as well say “let us do evil that good may come.”
This line of argumentation is known as reductio ad absurdum or “reduction to absurdity.” If God is somehow positively affected by whatever evil man does, then let us take the most evil course of all. The idea is that when we commit temporal evil the result will be the greater good of glorifying God. If so, then no matter what we do the outcome justifies the means.
Unfortunately, this means that stealing would not only be acceptable, but a good thing. Personal property would have no value. Murder would magnify God and therefore it would be the right course of action in any circumstance. Adultery would then be a noble thing. Getting married would simply be a step towards many partners – all to bring about a better purpose. For every sin we commit, the glory of God would shine forth all the more brightly.
The absurdity of such thoughts is self-evident, but such is the confused state of the unclear thinker. They only see the results of the first half of their argument, but they have fail to think the entire scenario through. As evident as it is, this is the state which the world is rapidly heading. As one-line arguments fill the cyber-world of Facebook and Twitter, our ability to reason out important issues is diminishing.
As Paul saw in his own time, those around him misunderstood, either unintentionally or intentionally, his comments about the grace of God and reported that Paul had actually affirmed that this was what Christianity held. But he, noting that God’s grace is magnified through the repentant sinner, never went to such extremes. For every note of how gracious God is, there is a note of warning that those who call on Jesus need to abstain from willful sin. Grace, to Paul and the other apostles, never meant a license to commit iniquity.
The Christian world of today though is turning away from the truth of the Bible and is actually following the absurd course Paul lays out. Homosexuals preach from the pulpit. Perversion of all sorts is openly condoned by the church and yet to them the grace of God is expected to cover such unrepentant actions. As Paul says, when this attitude is seen “their condemnation is just.” God will judge and condemn those who hold to such flawed views. They failed to use the brains He gave them and their actions will result in an eternal swim in the Lake of Fire. Let us heed the Proverb –
The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. (18:17)
Life application: An argument which sounds fine on the surface, such as allowing abortion for rape or incest is found false when it is completely thought through. However, most people hear the initial argument and stop with that, agreeing that the murder of the unborn is somehow just. When you are presented with an argument, make sure to think its consequences through to the end. When you do, you may find that what originally seemed as right as rain is actually as twisted as a tornado.
Lord God, You have created me to be a rational, moral being. Help me to think issues of importance through clearly and to understand the ramifications of those things which could separate me from You when a wrong path is taken. May my life be a testimony to Your grace, but may I never assume that it gives me license to sin. Amen.