Friday, August 24, 2007

TRUTH or CONSEQUENCES?

I have been giving an issue some thought for a little while and it will probably result in a change/tweak in the way that I preach as well as think. A general scenario or two will help us to get started here.

I preach that Bible teaches that young people should refrain from sex until marriage and then after marriage, they should have no sex outside of their marriage. That should not surprise you about me. But here is where I think I may go wrong in the proclamation of that truth. I have addressed the young ladies with statements like, "you know, the boys are just after one thing", "they will tell you they love you and then leave you after the 'loving' " and even, "the guys just want to use your body and you will be stuck with the consequences". Well, you may reply, brother Luke, that is true. Those statements you have made are usually right on target. True, they may be, but those are NOT the reason why one should abstain from premarital sex. Those are CONSEQUENCES of premarital sex. Rather, the SOLE reason to refrain from premarital sex is because, God's Word says to refrain from premarital sex. It is a matter of TRUTH, not CONSEQUENCES that should be the compelling reason for remaining faithful to God. W hat IF the consequences are not so bad? What if she does not contract an STD? What if she does not get pregnant? What if the guy ends up marrying her? The bottom line is this, even if premarital sex had no obvious physical consequences, it is still wrong simply because God's Word says so.

Here is another illustration for you to consider. "If I offended you, I apologize." Now how many times have we heard that! Let's back up the trolley and consider something here. Whether a person was offended or not has NO BEARING on whether the act in and of itself is wrong or not. In fact, I would even contend that we have learned to "accept" sin because the general public and body of believers are no longer focusing on whether it was wrong or not but rather if it did not offend me, then it is okay. Pedophiles are not offended by pedophilia. Alcoholics are not offended by alcohol. Practicing adulterers are not offended by adultery in others and gossipers are not offended by gossip about others. But the final question is not who on earth was offended as to whether it is right or wrong. The final question is rather, "Was God in heaven offended by what I have done?" In other words, people may okay a behavior but if God has called it sin, it is still sin. Back to the original statement of "if I have offended you", we need to ask ourselves legitimately, not have I offended someone but have I sinned against a holy God? There may be some things that are lawful but not expedient and yes the Scriptures address this. So while something may be lawful and not sinful, I refrain from it in order to refrain from sinning by being offensive. But nowhere can it be said that just because no one was offended, it must be okay or not sinful. The question we must ask ourselves is this, "Was God's holiness breached by our actions?" That is the true question.

Now for Biblical consideration.
II Samuel 12:13 And David said, I have sinned against the LORD.
Psalm 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done evil in thy sight.

Wait a minute. Did not David abuse his authority with Bathsheba? Did not David abuse his trust with Uriah? In other words, did not David sin against and with Bathsheba as well as sin against Uriah? The bottom line is this. Whether Bathsheba was offended or not is not the most important question. Whether Uriah was offended or not is not the most important question. Whether the people of David's court were offended or not is not the most important question. Whether David's other wives were offended or not is not the most important question. David got it right in his confession when he pointed out that he had sinned AGAINST GOD. Because he had sinned against God, the people should automatically have been offended. But it matters not if the inhabitants of the land approved or disapproved, it matters most that God disapproved. It is not the consequences that determine if an action was wrong or right. It is not public opinion that determines if an action was wrong or right. It must be asked again and again for every action, was this wrong or right in God's eyes? Would God approve of my actions?

To guide our thoughts and actions then, we might do well to ask ourselves not will this offend the people, not will the consequences be good or bad but rather, will this offend God? Faithfulness to God ALWAYS has good consequences. Disobedience ALWAYS has bad consequences. Time will prove both of those statements to be valid.

3 comments:

Ramblin' Rose said...

Thank you for sharing these wise thoughts, Luke. I think we have done our young people a great disservice by trying to "scare" them into doing what's right. We need to be teaching them that what's important is obeying what God's Word says. When we get that truth into their hearts, they are much less tempted to get into compromising situations, or think they are "exempt" because they are young.

Even though I haven't commented until now, I have enjoyed reading your posts, and comments elsewhere.

God bless you!

selahV said...

Luke, we cannot please our Lord without our faith in Him. And all too often it is our faith that is questionable, is it not when we fail to follow God's precepts and principles. He lays it all out so clearly for us, yet we choose to go our own way and then beg God to bail us out of our mess and when He leaves us to the consequences of our own choices, we rail at Him and cry foul.
I think the main reason youth and anyone chooses disobedience over obedience is lack of awe, absence of love and impotent faith. We do ourselves and our youth a disservice when we do not honor God with our actions as well as ourlips before them. Don't you think? great post as usual. selahV

Luke said...

Rose,
Thank you for taking the time to comment. I find it interesting to meet new people in this type of forum.

I remember back to my younger years and can recall a young fella who, if he knew the immediate consequences of an action, might weigh whether the consequences were worth paying. Unfortunately, the price tag on disobedience has a lot of fine print on the back of it. It really costs more than what the tag says. Thanks for commenting.

V,
Always good to hear from you. You know, thinkin 'bout this, Josiah began to rule when he was 8 and at 18 began to institute his greatest reforms. I am beginning to think that the adage', they are having to grow up to fast, has just been an excuse for them not to grow up at all. And yet, I think a 2-5 year old are more awed by a butterfly than a teenager. I think we have failed to teach them (and be taught) the transition from child to adult. We have allowed this "teenage" transition period for which I think the Scriptures would not agree. Child or Adult, but no metamorphosis in between. Kind of like salvation, you really cannot be half-saved or half-lost. You may be an adult who acts like a child but you are still an adult. You may be a child who has the wisdom of an adult, but you are still a child. The teenage years are an excuse to wander in the wilderness trying and testing anything we want simply for the sake of it. I wonder if I relived those years now, knowing what I now know, if it would truly make a difference in the way I would act. I would surely hope so but it would be an interesting experience/experiment don't you think?

Finally, when adults do not behave like adults, why should we expect anything different from the younger? You have nailed that pointedly. Thank you for the food for thought.