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Wednesday, August 13, 2014 | Comments (32)

by John MacArthur

You’re likely familiar with the concept of a “white lie.” It’s any lie that, due to mitigating circumstances, honorable intentions, or limited scope, is considered negligible. Plenty of people believe that lying can be acceptable and even justifiable in certain circumstances. They argue that noble motives and the need of the moment can erase the sinful weight of the lie. 

Pivotal to their argument is the story of Rahab.

And the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.” But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof. (Joshua 2:3–6)

By lying, Rahab prevented the capture of the Israelite spies and helped pave the way for Israel to conquer Jericho. Remarkably, Rahab is the only Gentile honored for her faith in Hebrews 11. By commending her faith, is Scripture also condoning her methods? Was hers the rarest of circumstances in which lying was the right thing to do?

Scholars and ethicists have argued over that question, going all the way back to the earliest rabbinical history. Let’s face it, it’s not an easy question.

Scripture clearly teaches that “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight” (Proverbs 12:22 NKJV). God Himself cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29), and therefore He cannot condone or sanction a lie.

On the other hand, some argue that because of the circumstances, Rahab’s statement to her interrogators was not technically a “lie,” but a military feinta legitimate stratagem designed to trick or outwit the enemy in warfare. Others argue that any lie is acceptable if the motive serves a greater good. Such a situational approach to ethics is fraught with very serious problems.

I see no need to try to justify Rahab’s lie. Nor do I see any biblical basis for defending her deception as righteous. God certainly could have saved Rahab and the spies without her lie. 

There is an interesting story that Corrie Ten Boom told about some people in Germany who were hiding Jews from the Nazis. They had nailed the legs of their kitchen table to the floor. Beneath the table was a carpet concealing a trap door. Lifting the table would open the door to a secret basement where the Jews were hiding.

When the Nazis came to the door they would accuse the people of protecting Jews in their home and demand to know where they were hiding. The owner of the house would simply reply, “They’re under the table.” The Nazis would mock them and leave the house thinking they were crazy. The point, of course, is that they told the truth because the Jews were under the table. They just didn’t reveal how far beneath the table they were hiding.

I don’t believe you have to say everything that could be said at every point. There is some virtue in keeping your mouth shut.

I have experienced a similar situation in my own life. Many years ago I smuggled Bibles and other books into China with my wife and children. The church there had asked if we would bring some Christian literature, including some of my books, that had been translated in Chinese. We all had those books tucked away among our clothes in our suitcases.

Our strategy was simple. We told our children to proceed through customs as usual. If the authorities didn’t ask us anything, then we didn’t need to say anything. We also made it clear that if any of them were asked if they had any books, they were to tell the truth without hesitation. 

In the purposes of God, the Chinese authorities didn’t stop us. We went straight through without any questions and made it safely to the designated drop-off location and delivered our precious cargo. 

God works in amazing ways and always achieves His sovereign purposes. My love for the truth and convictions concerning it remain unchanged—we should honor truth regardless of the situation.

Still, the lie was never the point of Rahab’s story. There is no need for clever rationalization to justify her lie. Scripture never commends her lie. Rahab is never applauded for her ethics. Rahab is a positive example of faith. In fact, Hebrews 11:31 explicitly commends Rahab’s hospitality to the spies and nothing more.

In the moment she lied, her faith was newborn, weak, and in need of nurture and growth. Her knowledge of Israel’s God was meager. It is likely that she had never met worshippers of God before that night. She probably had no understanding of the value He put on truthfulness.

On top of that, she was a product of a corrupt culture where ethics were virtually nonexistent. Lying was a way of life in her society—and especially in her profession. The way she responded is just what we might expect from a brand-new believer under those circumstances.

The point is that Rahab’s faith, undeveloped as it was, immediately bore the fruit of action. She “welcomed the spies in peace” (Hebrews 11:31)—meaning that she not only hid them, but also implicitly embraced their cause. She thereby entrusted her whole future to their God. And the proof of her faith was not the lie she told, but the fact that “she received the messengers and sent them out by another way” (James 2:25)—when she might have handed them over for money instead. The lie is not what made her actions commendable. It was the fact that she turned down an easy reward, put herself in jeopardy, and thus staked everything on the God of Israel. Nothing but faith could have made such a dramatic, instantaneous change in the character of such a woman. 

(Adapted from Twelve Extraordinary Women)


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#1  Posted by David Smith  |  Wednesday, August 13, 2014at 3:47 AM

Let me ask a related question that's troubled me for a while:

Is it permissible for a Christian to be in a job that requires lying? I'm thinking particularly of law enforcement situations. Let's say an undercover detective who has to assume a fake indentity to infiltrate a gang of criminals. Or a CIA agent who has to do the same to expose terrorists. I can't see any way to avoid telling lies in those roles. It would seem that they are therefore off-limits to Christians. Am I correct?

#4  Posted by Andrea Suais  |  Wednesday, August 13, 2014at 9:54 AM

I am interested in replies to this question. Thanks.

#16  Posted by K. T.  |  Wednesday, August 13, 2014at 7:45 PM

You raise a very good question, David. My understanding is that underneath it all, God looks at motives (hearts), not actions. Being an undercover detective isn't done to be evil but to bring evil to justice.

#23  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, August 14, 2014at 10:40 AM

It would seem to me that in the act of punishing evil and rewarding good (1 Peter 2:14), the government is permitted by God to engage in acts of military feint. In fact, God actually commands Israel to do this very thing in Joshua 8:1-9.

Though CIA/FBI/police officers are not technically "military" in the American context, their purpose is the same.

Perhaps a more realistic question is should a Christian go undercover where he will have to engage in blatant immorality in order to gain trust. The government would allow it, but is it right before God? I don't personally believe it is.

#24  Posted by David Smith  |  Thursday, August 14, 2014at 11:20 AM

Gabriel, thanks for the reply. I am with you on both counts. If I were an undercover cop etc, I think I'd be happy to lie (if I felt it was necessary for law enforcement) but I wouldn't engage in immorality (I presume you mean sexual activities) of any sort. I'm not at all sure why I feel this way - is there any biblical basis for it?

The church generally treats sexual sin as more serious than other sins, and I've obviously been strongly influenced by that, but I can't explain it. I am single so there's not the issue of adultery for me, but it still represents a line that I wouldn't want to cross. In fact I'm feeling rather uneasy about it, because it seems illogical, and I always want reasons for my belief. Isn't lying also immoral? I guess that a physical act produces a different and greater defilement than lying, but is that rational? Also, staying a virgin is a matter of importance and personal holiness to me - once lost I can never get it back. But even if I wasn't a virgin, it wouldn't change my view.

#26  Posted by Isaiah Gregov  |  Thursday, August 14, 2014at 3:06 PM

Hey Mr. Smith,

I believe the reason that church and even the world views sexual sins (i.e. adultery, fornication, etc.) more seriously than other sins is because sexual sins inflict more damage and hurt on the transgressed. For example, if a man lied to his wife saying that he didn't spend his money on a cheeseburger and a large coke at McD's after work because the wife has been wanting to save money to go out with her friends, and the wife looks on their bank account and sees that her husband did indeed visit the fast-food place, she'll be angry and confront her husband, but with enough apologies from the husband by the end of the day, she will forgive him. Adultery on the other hand - I don't have to make a story for that (we've got plenty of stories that occur in real life for that) - is a much more grave matter. John Piper once answered the question, "Is sin equal?" and from what I remember his answer was, basically in one since, yes, all sin is equally damning because we're transgressing against an infinitely holy God, whether by a lie or by adultery, but in another sense, each sin has a different level of damage that it inflicts on the transgressor. Does this help?

Also, I'm sorry to break this news to you, but though you said that because you're single, there's not the issue of adultery, Jesus said that whoever looks upon a woman with lust has committed adultery already with her in his heart. Mr. Smith, if you've looked with lust just once, you've committed adultery already.

God bless,

Isaiah

#27  Posted by Elisabeth Greene  |  Thursday, August 14, 2014at 7:02 PM

Possibly what Gabriel Powell was referring to is more along the lines of the otherwise illegal acts an undercover agent would have to perform to gain the trust of the group s/he is infiltrating. This could very well include sexual acts, but perhaps more commonly something like selling drugs or trafficking illegal items to show s/he belongs in the group.

#2  Posted by Bruce Andree  |  Wednesday, August 13, 2014at 5:30 AM

By this comment, I am not suggesting you were wrong in smuggling Bibles and other books. I would have done the same if given the opportunity. I am suggesting that the concealment of those books is itself a lie and was

breaking Chinese law, since you knew ahead of time that such an act was unlawful. Telling the children to keep up the lie makes them accessories to the lie and law breaking.

#3  Posted by Ronnie Woolbright  |  Wednesday, August 13, 2014at 9:16 AM

While the act may have broken the Chineese law I don't think it was a lie or sin. A lie would have been telling the authorities that they did not have the books when in fact they did.

As for law breaking, I believe when the God says to do something that is contrary to the law of the land we obey God. What about when Peter and the apostles were imprisoned for preaching the gospel after they were charged not to by the high priests and the council? In Acts 5:29 Peter gives his answer; "We must obey God rather than men".

#5  Posted by Bruce Andree  |  Wednesday, August 13, 2014at 10:21 AM

Your reply to my comment is beside the point. Of course we might have to break laws to uphold Christian witness, but Dr. MacArthur was implying that what Rahab did was lying and what he did was not. My opinion is that, even while maybe righteous, the act was still a lie and broke a law. By definition, the word "smuggling" implies an act of lawbreaking.

#6  Posted by Cameron Buettel  |  Wednesday, August 13, 2014at 10:57 AM

Bruce, there are two issues here. First of all, in the Bible smuggling story there was no lie told nor were the children an accessory to a lie. They were instructed to tell the truth where questioned. They walked through Chinese customs with Bible's in their suitcases. They were ready with a truthful answer to anyone who asked.

The law breaking is another issue. Law breaking does not necessarily equate with lying. You can break a law by telling the truth.

Undoubtedly, Scripture calls on us to submit to the laws of the land. We are to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's (Matthew 22:17-21), be submissive to governing authorities (Romans 13:1-2), and do so for the Lord's sake (1 Peter 2:13-14) regardless of whether they are just or unjust (1 Peter 2:18-20).

Furthermore, our submission to civil authorities is a subset of our submission to divine authority. And there do come times when obedience to God's authority necessitates civil disobedience. The apostles faced this very issue in Acts 5 and responded by saying, "we must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). The Chinese restrictions at the time of the aforementioned story flew right in the face of Jesus' mandate for the furtherance of the gospel. John MacArthur and his family performed a God-honoring act of civil disobedience and conducted themselves honestly in the process.

#9  Posted by Bruce Andree  |  Wednesday, August 13, 2014at 1:35 PM

If I know there is a law against "smuggling" Bibles, and I "smuggle" Bibles, I have broken a law. If I give the impression that there are no Bibles in my suitcase when there are indeed Bibles in my suitcase, I have lied. No other way to look at it. You and the other responder keep focusing on whether it was right to so lie or to so break the law. I have no quarrel on that! They should have done it and they did. Good. But they lied and broke the law.

#10  Posted by Nicolas Allen  |  Wednesday, August 13, 2014at 1:50 PM

Bruce, a lie is verbal. The nonverbal form might be called deception, but even that is not what the MacArthur family did. They simply took the books through customs and the authorities didn't see them. The MacArthurs' clothes were inside the suitcases too, hidden from view, but it wasn't deceptive to take them through customs that way.

#11  Posted by Bruce Andree  |  Wednesday, August 13, 2014at 1:56 PM

You have a very unusual view of ethics. A lie must be verbalized to be a lie. Deception is not lying. I think you might be getting your ethics from a worldly source, or at least your definition of what constitutes a Biblical moral choice.

#12  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, August 13, 2014at 4:19 PM

Hello Bruce,

It seems like a distinction should be between the law of God and the law of men. The article is talking about not breaking the law of God. The issue is, "is it ever right to break the law of God?" You seem to be making it into, "Is it ever right to break the law of men?"

The answer to the first is no, while the answer to the second is yes. As John MacArthur has said, you don't need to proclaim that you're smuggling Bibles. If they ask if you have any, be honest.

It is not wrong to hide someone (which is a form of deception) in order to protect them, but when asked about it, it is wrong to lie. I realize many people will prefer to lie thinking they can save the person they're protecting, but the interrogator can simply disbelieve them and search anyway. Or, they can tell the truth and be disbelieved as well.

Obviously, speaking of these issues in theoretical terms doesn't carry the massive emotional weight that such a circumstance bears. But how we behave in dark is determined by the convictions we develop in the light.

#25  Posted by Eric Dodson  |  Thursday, August 14, 2014at 2:39 PM

I would add to Cameron's statements by saying that civil disobedience does not equate to a lack of submission to government. I know it's hard to stretch out a real life example into hypothetical extensions, but hopefully this helps:

If the Chinese authorities from Dr. MacArthur's account had asked about the Bibles (or searched and found them), then the family would be guilty of breaking the civil law and likely punished (though I am uninformed as to what the exact consequence would be in such an instance). Were MacArthur and his family to accept their punishment, they would still be submissive to government, while also not speaking a lie, and not disobeying the law of God (which clearly calls for evangelism/teaching the Word in Matt 28:19-20). Had they, however, lied to the authorities, or led a revolt against them after hypothetically being caught, they would be in sin.

The disciples were told by civil authorities not to preach. They still were faithful to the law of God, but were submissive to the government in accepting the government ordained penalty (imprisonment and even death) for their obedience to God. In their preaching they were faithful to God's commands; in their imprisonment, they were submissive to government.

#7  Posted by Donald Cramer  |  Wednesday, August 13, 2014at 1:00 PM

Enjoyed an article that got my attention. I can honestly say I never looked at Rahab as a lier, and agree with you about lying. We as humans find it hard sometimes to wait for God to work before we start anything. Yes Rahab could have not lied and God's plan still would go forward. I like when God steps in and does something that surprises me, even though I was expecting something from Him, we might never know how He will finish a story.

#8  Posted by Robert Reverski  |  Wednesday, August 13, 2014at 1:24 PM

I think that David and Bruce have raised good questions that demonstrate how, as Dr. MacArthur put it, "it's not an easy question."

A Christian graduate school professor once discussed this issue in one of my classes. He was of opinion that the answer is based on whether the hearer/audience had a legitimate expectation to obtain truth. Does the opposing football team have a legitimate expectation of truth when you run the fake hand-off? Did the Germans have a legitimate expectation of truth when Eisenhower set up fake military camps in England and broadcast misleading communications to disguise the Normandy landing? Did Pharaoh's henchmen have a legitimate expectation of truth when the midwives reported that Hebrew women were delivering babies without midwife assistance? Is deception or the failure to be truthful in these situations tantamount to a sinful lie?

While I not yet landed on this issue, the professor's approach is interesting.

#13  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, August 13, 2014at 4:48 PM

Robert,

"He was of opinion that the answer is based on whether the hearer/audience had a legitimate expectation to obtain truth."

The problem with that perspective is that it makes everything completely subjective. One has to subjectively determine what the other person subjectively things is a "legitimate expectation." In the cases of sports and battle, each side knows that the other side is going to be deceptive in their tactics, and they try to out-wit one another.

It would seem that Pharaoh's "henchmen" did indeed expect to hear the truth, as did the officials of Jericho. Particularly with Rahab, no one would have thought she would betray her own people. In fact, they obviously trusted her and assumed she told the truth.

The moment we say "there are times when breaking God's law is good," we open ourselves to total relativism because God does not provide us with any guidelines. The only breakable law is man's law, and God does provide guidelines for such circumstances.

#15  Posted by Bruce Andree  |  Wednesday, August 13, 2014at 7:09 PM

Gabriel and Robert are getting it. You all were insisting on calling a deception not a deception and a lie not a lie, because you determined it is legitimate to do it. Legitimate or not, a lie is a lie and deception is deception, even if you feel it is worthy to tell it or do it. That is why Dr. MacArthur asks, "Is a lie ever white?" I agree with Dr. MacArthur when he says, "we should honor truth regardless of the situation." I disagree that he was following this exhortation with his Bible smuggling example. I just believe a lie was propagated because Dr. MacArthur's ethics would permit it in this case. We all have our ethics, and believe me, we have VERY subjective definitions.

#14  Posted by Vic Nicholls  |  Wednesday, August 13, 2014at 5:35 PM

{{thinking}}

What Christian has not committed a sin after becoming a Christian? God forgives us.

#21  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, August 14, 2014at 10:25 AM

Indeed! There is the saying, "Better to ask for forgiveness than for permission." That may work in certain contexts, but we must never justify sin under the pretense (however correct) that we will be forgiven.

#17  Posted by Kelsey Waters  |  Wednesday, August 13, 2014at 9:34 PM

"Thou shalt not bear false witness against they neighbor."

Don't lie about someone to slander them. Don't accuse someone falsely. Did Rahab do either or those things? Nope.

#22  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, August 14, 2014at 10:31 AM

That is true, but I'm not sure how it's relevant since John MacArthur didn't cite that text. The Bible is clear that lying is a sin... see Psalm 34:13; Proverbs 14:5; Proverbs 30:8; Ephesians 4:25; Colossians 3:9; 1 Peter 2:1.

#18  Posted by Isaiah Gregov  |  Wednesday, August 13, 2014at 10:34 PM

Part 1

Greetings everyone,

It is an honor and a privilege to comment on the website that represents Pastor MacArthur and the church he shepherds. This is my first comment; I am Southern Baptist. Pastor MacArthur's wisdom, and the wisdom of those who post comments on this site, far exceed my own, so please correct me where I am wrong.

The question "Is a lie ever white?" is a very good question. I recently watched a video on the internet by someone called oneminuteapologist. You can type in "542. Is Lying Every Right?" into YouTube or Google to find this video by him (I don't know if I'm allowed to post links here.). Though I don't know much about oneminuteapologist (i.e. his beliefs), what I learned in the video made since. In the video Dr. Norman Geisler explained that because of the fallen nature of mankind, attributes of God come into conflict, and man often has to choose to obey the higher law. For example, God's attribute of mercy and God's attribute of truth-telling come into conflict in such situations as the Corrie Ten Boom example, and she had to choose between upholding telling the truth, thus obeying God's commandment, "You shall not bear false witness," and risk the Nazis believing her, or vice versa. From what I inferred from Pastor MacArthur's point of view was that he perhaps suggested that by striving to obey God, Corrie Ten Boom received God's blessing, and therefore was able to not compromise both attributes (i.e. She was able to uphold the attribute of truth-telling by not lying and the attribute of mercy by the Jews not being found.).

Let me continue with a hypothetical - you know, one of those moral dilemmas that is so far-fetched, but nonetheless comes very close to being reality in such situations as the Corrie Ten Boom example: A robber has you and someone you know held at gunpoint. He tells you that you have to lie and say, "I love cupcakes," when you in fact despise the very taste of cupcakes. If you don't lie, he will shoot your friend dead. Therefore, if you don't lie, are you committing murder? If the answer to that question is "Yes," then your faced with having to obey one of God's Commandments ("You shall not murder.") and disobey the other ("You shall not lie.). Thus, you would have to weigh which commandment is higher in this case. Which do you honor more, your friend or your disdain for cupcakes? Answer: Your friend. Thus, you choose to obey the higher commandment, the sixth, and disobey the ninth. But what if the robber told you to lie and say, "I reject the blood of Jesus." If you're a Christian at all, you know that the higher commandment in this case is the ninth (and the third for that matter).

What's really interesting is that Jesus never had one of these dilemmas (whether any of the other saints in the Bible actually did have a "moral dilemma" is beside the point), and I believe it's because of Jesus's sinless nature. We know Jesus never lied for example... Continued on Part 2...

#19  Posted by Isaiah Gregov  |  Wednesday, August 13, 2014at 11:06 PM

Part 2

...Jesus never had to lie (Isaiah 53:9 "...Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.") because He was sinless. His sinless nature never came into conflict with man's fallen nature. The prophetical psalm 91 says in verse 11 (read whole psalm to gain even more insight), "For He will give His angels charge concerning you,

To guard you in all your ways." So what I'm suggesting is that because of Jesus' sinless nature, Jesus never had to choose between a higher law, for because of His sinless nature He had the whole and complete blessing of the Father, while Corrie Ten Boom received God's blessing, but by God's grace (i.e. His mercy). The Lord could have chosen to not bestow His grace upon her at that time.

After reading the book of Genesis all the way through for the first time more recently, God has shown me an even greater revelation of His sweet grace and mercy. I was reading how great the sins of the saints in Genesis were. They committed some great sins: polygamy, adultery, theft, etc. And all the while God kept His grace with them. Of course, there were negative consequences for their actions, but from what I've read, not just from Genesis but from all the revelation of the mystery of God that God has manifested to me, I am evermore grateful, thankful and praise-filled for God for His keeping me in His grace and His shedding of His mercy upon me. Though this question "Is a lie ever right?" an interesting one, we never have to fear that we will lose the grace of God when we do sin, because His mercy is just so great and His love is just so true. Despite our pitiful, fallen nature and total depravity, God still loves us so much with such a true love that He still extends His everlasting grace to us when in actuality we deserve to be condemned to the deepest, darkest judgments of Hell for our grave crimes against such a holy God.

God bless everyone,

Isaiah

#20  Posted by T G  |  Thursday, August 14, 2014at 12:27 AM

Abraham, father of faith, told a similar lie...not that that makes it okay :)

#28  Posted by Thomas Coutouzis  |  Thursday, August 14, 2014at 7:22 PM

I believe that lying is a sin. God showed Rahab "makrothymia" which means to long suffer. God long suffers us all. I agree with John. I believe that she could have told the truth and the same end would come about. The men would escape and the walls of Jericho would come down.

#29  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, August 15, 2014at 3:55 AM

#19 Isaiah Gregov

Of course, there were negative consequences for their actions

Luke 13 is all about "Repent or Perish". "Bear fruit or be cut down".

The Apostle Paul is writing in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13

"I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people — not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler — not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”"

So when you write: we never have to fear that we will lose the grace of God when we do sin, because His mercy is just so great and His love is just so true, then you have not read the severe warnings from the Apostles. Living in an unbroken pattern of sexual immorality is a clear evidence of a person who thinks he is a Christian, but is not. 2 Peter 2 and Jude are written to warn the Church about these false teachers, who think that because God is merciful, He MUST approve sinful lifestyle.

That was what Paul was teaching in 1 Corinthians 6, with the repeated, “Do you not know?” question.

YES, they do know, but don’t care. Everyone is a sinner. God forgives sin, ergo I am going to heaven and don’t have to change anything.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

How serious do you think this is? This is people who think they are Christians, but are not.

#30  Posted by Isaiah Gregov  |  Friday, August 15, 2014at 2:01 PM

Mr. Jensen,

First, thank you for correcting me where I may be wrong as I asked in my comment. From the part of your comment, "...who think that because God is merciful, He MUST approve sinful lifestyle," you seem to indicate that I was suggesting the same. I can see how when I said, "We never have to fear that we will lose the grace of God when we do sin, because His mercy is just so great..." that it sounded like I was giving a license to sin, but I was rather trying to describe the mercy and loving-kindness of God for His own people, as the Lord said to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” I have read these severe warnings, and they do put the fear of God in me, as they should. When we evangelize, we can err on two extremes of truth: God's wrath and God's mercy. If we go out and only tell everyone, "You must stop sinning! God hates sinners!" then no one gains any revelation of God's mercy (i.e. that Jesus died and took God's wrath so that we can be set free), and if we do as you said the false prophets did as described in 2 Peter 2 and Jude, then no listener will gain a conviction that their sins are "exceedingly sinful." Perhaps I erred too much on the side of God's mercy, but I was not trying to give a justification, or a license, to sin. Paul addresses this matter in Romans 6, "1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? ..." I do know that sin is serious to God. For example, when Jesus defended the adulteress from the pharisees wanting to stone her, after they left, Jesus said to her, "...go and sin no more." The truth is, if we sin just one "little" sin, like just one "little" lie, God is justified in taking our life and condemning us, as we see what happened to Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. Sin is exceedingly serious, which is why we must go out and preach the Gospel to lost souls so that they do not perish in them.

God bless you sir,

Isaiah

#31  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, August 15, 2014at 3:29 PM

#30 Isaiah Gregov

I'm not after you dear brother, and your answer is honorable.

I'm reading 1 Peter 1, "so that the tested genuineness of your faith — more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls."

#32  Posted by Isaiah Gregov  |  Friday, August 15, 2014at 4:17 PM

Oh most certainly. Better to be rebuked and corrected than to not tell someone when he errs. I know what I was trying to describe in my comment. I was simply trying to affirm the doctrine of eternal security because of this question "Is a lie ever right?" (i.e. "1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."), but to those who are in Christ (hence Romans 8:1.), and erroneously assuming that only saved Christians would read my comment, I did not carefully word my comment correctly, so that to outsiders it sounds like I am rejecting the doctrine of man's responsibility, which I am not.

I'm sure pastors like Pastor MacArthur (I know I've seen Pastor John Piper do it.) take extra care and precaution, both in their writings (like this blog) and their sermons, to fully word and explain things to their fullest extent so that there is no room for misunderstanding (I believe this is a trait or requirement of qualified minister/pastor/teacher.), which is a trait of love, which God is teaching me to emulate more and more.