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Submission

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 | Comments (61)

Rightly or wrongly, the world often gathers its theology from those who profess to know God, many of whom call themselves “Christians.” In other words, be careful—people read you a great deal more than they read the Bible. How you treat your wife and children, how you submit to authority (e.g., your employer, your government, your elders) can either encourage skepticism, or else silence the critics.

What view of Christianity are you showing the world? What does the world see as you interact with the authorities in your life—active rebellion, passive indifference, or joyful submission?

Submitting to authority is one of the single most effective ways you can make the gospel attractive. And even though submission is clearly the will of God, too many Christians seem to think it’s optional. That’s a reproach to the gospel, the church, and the Lord Himself. It’s God’s will that we lead peaceful, quiet lives, submit to the laws of the land, and be a blessing to church leadership. We are to submit. That is God’s will.

So, whether it’s a corrupt government, a greedy employer, or an unbelieving spouse, our responsibility is clear—so far as Scripture allows, we are to submit. If you’re struggling with that concept, here’s John MacArthur to help you out…

Listen to this 2-minute clip:

Launch Player  |  Download  |  Full Sermon

Here’s John’s point. If you don’t submit to the authorities God placed in your life—parents, employers, government, even teachers—then you're not following His will. Period. In fact, if you rebel against those authorities, you rebel against God (Rom. 13:2).

How do you expect to discern what God has not revealed if you don’t obey what He has revealed? Try this instead. Submit to God’s clearly revealed will—recognizing and submitting to your authorities—then see what opportunities and blessings God may reveal after that.


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#1  Posted by Grace La Sala  |  Wednesday, November 24, 2010at 2:28 AM

Thank u 4 GTY
#2  Posted by Tracey Lehmann  |  Wednesday, November 24, 2010at 9:54 AM

Comment deleted by user.
#3  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, November 24, 2010at 10:32 AM

I spoke to a man yesterday whose church in Virginia has a Sunday every year where they honor law enforcement. It's not tied to a holiday or anything, they just want the community and those in the church to know that Scripture teaches us to honor those in authority. It has built a relationship of mutual trust and appreciation.

It's also a significant college town, so the young people get a clear message from the church that authorities are to be honored. That is not the message most young people get during their university days.

#4  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, November 24, 2010at 10:44 AM

Hi Tracey,

There is no doubt that what you say is true. Unfortunately the media is very quick to propagate stories of churches that are involved in protests and demonstrations of hatred toward people. It is extremely rare for the media to show a story of a church that is ministering and loving its community (for a very good message on how a church can love its community, check this out).

I would disagree with you that "nobody ever talks about this but makes excuse..." If that is the impression you have, then it saddens me that you have not had the opportunity to witness a true biblical church. I can tell you with certainty that there are many churches and pastors that do not sit silently or defend that kind of behavior. The Bible is chalk full of commands telling people to live in peace and unity (Rom. 14:19; 2 Cor. 13:11; Eph 4:1-6; among many other passages). The peace and unity described in Scripture is not the free-loving, ignorant, difference-minimizing peace of the world, but rather a peace built on the common salvation and truth of Scripture.

God's will is that we submit to one another, look out for the interests of others, and have the attitude of humility so that we actually shine the light of the gospel of peace to the world.

#5  Posted by Beth Maurer  |  Wednesday, November 24, 2010at 1:19 PM

Post 1 and 4

I have heard the same lately. That Christians are so mean or judgmental that people don’t want to hear about Christ because of their behavior toward them or of something they said. Sometimes I wonder if the Christian in that person’s life was really looking down on them or witnessing the light and exposed the darkness in the sinner’s life.

This worries me because I want to be sure my behavior around non-Christians is loving but I also want to be separate from them. You know? I want to stand out as a follower of Jesus, but I get so confused on what to say or do or how to know when to speak up and defend our beliefs. I’m not talking about the gospel in this instance, but other issues. I mainly am talking about how to witness to unbelieving family members or family believers who say they believe in God but seem to be offended when we stick to certain godly standards.

For example, we want to know what our kids will be doing if they stay at grandma’s and we don’t want them to watch programming or movies that they are not allowed to watch at home. We don’t let them stay the night at some family member’s homes because they are not believers or are practicing sin. This of course offends them and they see us as looking down on them and judging their character. I worry that they view our faith as legalistic, when I know it isn’t, they feel they believe in God but think our values are unnecessarily restricted. I don’t know if I’m making sense or not, but I go through a struggle every time we visit family, I want to be loving and I also want to show my willful service to Jesus, and I want my kids too, but I feel I get mixed advice. Be a light, don’t judge, be peaceable, be separate, stand up for God.

By the way this is the first time I’ve posted on something that many people will read. Sort of nervous about that!

#6  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Wednesday, November 24, 2010at 2:17 PM

# 5 - Beth. Hi! =)

You are making sense. I go through a bit of the same, though I don't have any family members living here, they are all overseas, and none are Christians, so that's a blessing in disguise. But I can see all that happening if they lived here.

"I worry that they view our faith as legalistic, when I know it isn’t, they feel they believe in God but think our values are unnecessarily restricted."

I think that's what people think, at least it's the feeling that I get from them. I have a hard time with my teen daughter and all the movies and stuff that teens do nowadays, and not all has to do with Christian worldview (being a parent is not easy).

It gets a little worse (in my case), my husband is not saved and doesn't understand a lot of things I say/don't say, do/don't do.

When I speak with people who are following error and false teaching, I get the same reaction: I am not being loving, I am too dogmatic, etc. I just try to remember that being a follower of Jesus is somewhat a lonely journey.

Grace and peace,

E.

#7  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Wednesday, November 24, 2010at 2:30 PM

Question?

I resign from my job from my former church. The pastor is a former marine and he hire another pastor which was a retired airforce man.

The pastor which I knew for 16 yrs made the new pastor my boss. He

wants me to act as I was in the army to get the church shipshape. I

understand that but he kept saying I am lousy in my job and complained

to me why my work is not according to a set of rules he made up. He wanted no dust in the entire church and no pieces of dirt in the corners on all of the floors. I ask if I would work more hours, he

thought I should work less. That confused me.

I stood my ground with Christ and did what he wanted. Even in the light of that, he saying I was doing awful, but others in the church say that I did a great job. Did I do the right thing? I did'nt take to anger to him or sin against him because I refuse to do it. Did I do submission right. I believe I did.

God bless.

#8  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, November 24, 2010at 2:45 PM

Hi Dan,

That sounds like a difficult situation. From your description it sounds like you handled it properly. Resigning wasn't wrong because you weren't biblically compelled to keep the job, but it sounds like you attempted to remain submissive as long as you were there which honored the Lord.

It's easy to submit when we have loving authorities, but when we're asked to do things we don't like or agree with (as long as they're not sinful), that is where the rubber meets the road and our heart attitudes really come out.

Thank you, Dan, for providing a good example of how to submit in a difficult situation.

#10  Posted by Tracey Lehmann  |  Wednesday, November 24, 2010at 3:22 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#11  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Wednesday, November 24, 2010at 3:48 PM

Thank you, Gabriel.

When I read Matt 23. It helps me to understand and exam myself as

I go through life. When I was younger, that scripture offended me,

It does not offend me anymore. It makes me exam my relationship with Jesus. The Lord is awesome!

#13  Posted by Greg Corron  |  Wednesday, November 24, 2010at 6:29 PM

Although I generally have a high regard for John's teaching, I truly believe he is way off base in this instance. The language he uses here strongly implies (though does not make clear one way or the other) that we are to bypass our conscience and not even think whether it is good or bad to submit to any church or government authority. Submit now, think later. Or, "Look at me, I'm being submissive - are you impressed with me yet?" When we elevate submission above our own conscience, we will become cult members or victims of bullies and tyrants. The TSA is a great example of this. Will you teach your children to let strangers touch them inappropriately if they represent authority? Once you start submitting to that extent, you can't turn back - you have sold your conscience to the devil. The line you say you will not cross today will be pushed further and further back so that you can justify yourself as a "good submitter" tomorrow.

The best advice is to think first, then submit. "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's" but first think about what actually is Caesar's. Does your children's innocence belong to Caesar?

Christianity is the religion of the individual conscience - "Repent and be saved!" not "Hear and obey." Submission and obedience without the conviction of a free conscience is worthless. For more of my thoughts on the Christian conscience, please visit http://isgreater.org/articles/2010/11/19/the-new-conscience.html.

(That's odd: the very next thing I have to do to publish this comment is click on the "Submit" button!)

#14  Posted by Chrisopher Nelson  |  Friday, November 26, 2010at 8:13 PM

I see it as not summiting completely to the government. We summit to the government as much as we can from our submission to God. Kinda like Daniel. He was submissive to the government until it came into conflict with his submission to God. God protects His righteous followers as long as they are submissive to Him. He will get rid of governments that are disobedient to Him. Thats what i think from what i have read here and in the Bible. i'm still young and unknowledgeable in what all scripture says though, so i might be wrong.

#15  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Saturday, November 27, 2010at 7:50 AM

#13 - Greg.

Can you cite an example where you think JM "strongly implies that we are to bypass our conscience and not even think whether it is good or bad to submit to any church or government authority." (emphasis on "strongly implies"). I fail to see it anywhere in his sermon (and I've listened to this specific sermon many times in the past, and a couple more times during this series), or anywhere in any of his sermons that I've listened for the past year (and I have listened to hundreds by now).

As a matter of fact, to get a proper and clear idea of what John believes about the conscience, you can go here:

https://www.gty.org/Resources/Articles/A273_The-Conscience-Revisited

https://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/80-235 - Cauterizing the Conscience

https://www.gty.org/Resources/Articles/A195_Keeping-a-Pure-Conscience

E.

#16  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Saturday, November 27, 2010at 8:13 AM

Chrisopher:

Thanks for your comments. You’re right on with your first thought, we should submit to the government until or unless they call on us to violate Scripture. Then we must “Obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

Now, will God always “protect” us in those occasions?—that all depends on what you mean by “protection.” God never guarantees our physical safety simply because we are believers. In fact, on several occasions, Christ warned his disciples they would be persecuted (Mt. 10:16-23), and even killed (Mt. 24:9) because they followed Him.

We are promised spiritual safety, in that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38, 39). But our physical safety must be committed to God’s sovereign pleasure. He can keep us from physical harm, and bring glory to Himself, or He can glorify Himself through our martyrdom (John 21:19). We are commanded to trust Him either way.

#17  Posted by Greg Corron  |  Saturday, November 27, 2010at 10:14 AM

Tommy: Why do you say that we must submit unless asked to violate Scripture? Scripture cannot make all our decisions for us. Did the apostles consult scripture first, or cite scripture when they refused to obey? Or were they simply acting according to their conscience?

Remember how Aaron violated the command of God because of his conscience, and Moses approved (Lev 10:16-20)? Scripture indeed informs us, but we must decide according to our informed conscience (Rom 13:5).

Scripture is full of good examples of men and women acting solely from their own conscience in disobedience. Rahab the spy and David eating the sacred bread are two good examples.

Greg

#18  Posted by Greg Corron  |  Saturday, November 27, 2010at 10:27 AM

Elaine: I was simply going on the content of the article. The fact that he failed to mention our conscience at all in the article gave me the strong impression that it was not that important to him. I'm glad to hear that it is. But he needs to preach according to what is needed. I don't see very many Bible-believing Christians rebelling against authority these days, so I don't understand the need for that kind of message. But I do see a whole lot of Christians meekly submitting to authorities in church and government, allowing their conscience to be destroyed in the process, making them easy victims of bullying. (Please see my latest post on isgreater.org.)

Thanks,

Greg

#19  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Saturday, November 27, 2010at 12:09 PM

Greg,

For a fuller treatment of submission to authority, you can check out these additional messages by John MacArthur. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2 of a series he preached from 1 Peter 2 on civil submission.

I think that approach would be better than basing your critique of John’s teaching on the “implications” of a 3-minute audio clip. Make sense?

Regarding the TSA example you cited: I can understand your position. I have a wife and 3 young children and, like many Americans, we plan on doing some flying this holiday season. This morning, my wife and I were discussing the inevitable airport experience looming ahead. I’ll have to admit—we’re not looking forward to it. But then again, who is?

This is an issue facing many Christians in our country. How should we respond as followers of Christ? I don’t think this is too far off-topic, so I’ll give my opinion.

I think the point in this audio clip (and many other messages John has preached on the subject of submission) is our attitude toward authority. Consider this: Your submission to TSA security measures does not equate to a mindless agreement with every policy and procedure. As you mentioned in your comment, “think.” Yes, by all means, think about what you’ll be required to do by airport security officials. But don’t think only about what TSA will ask you to do. Think also about how you will respond to those requests—as a Christian.

Will you verbally protest? Will you cause problems for the airport security officials who probably feel the same way you do about the procedures they put you through? Will you scowl at other travelers who comply with TSA procedures—and disagree with your position? Will you blog about your experience, post a you-tube clip, or maybe even show up at the airport in ready-to-be-pat-down attire, like some have done?

As an American, you have that right. But we’re not talking about American liberties, are we? We’re talking about Christian attitudes. Submission is not just an action Greg. It’s an attitude.

So perhaps ask yourself these questions before your family goes to the airport…

Would any of those responses (above) be the best choice? Would Christ approve of my actions? What expression of protest would honor the Scriptures, glorify Christ, uphold the gospel, and not inflict irreparable damage on my Christian testimony?

Further, must you fly? Must you select an airport that enforces the strictest security measures? Those are some questions worth asking—and discussing with your family.

#20  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Saturday, November 27, 2010at 12:10 PM

Greg:

As far as your other follow-up comments, you said, “Scripture is full of good examples of men and women acting solely from their own conscience in disobedience.” Solely on their conscience? I disagree. Name some examples. You might want to rethink listing Rahab’s lie. God commends her faith, not her sin.

I’ve got plans with family today, so I’ll be offline for awhile.

-Tommy

#21  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Saturday, November 27, 2010at 1:42 PM

#18 - Greg

"He needs to preach according to what is needed." I am sorry, but it's not up to you to decide what a preacher preaches, or when (reminds me of Paul writing to Timothy, no? "in and out of season"?). Preachers need to preach the whole counsel of God. In John's case, his words go far and away. The fact that you don't see a whole group of Christians protesting and rebelling against authority doesn't mean that it doesn't exist somewhere in the world.

Plus, and here's my point, rebellion, or lack of submission, starts at the heart of the person, not at heart of the collective. I firmly believe that it is in the little things that we submit to our Lord that we learn to submit in big things too. Like many of us, I struggle with submission. Having lived and believed most of my life in a world in which submission is seeing as weakness and being brain-washed to believe that "I" matter the most, it's very hard to turn around 180 degrees. Very hard. But the more the Word fills my mind, the more I inform my conscience and I submit accordingly. Or not, sometimes, and I sin. It's very painful to sin with a godly informed conscience.

I read your blog. Here's the way I see some things. The example you make with Jesus, Peter and John, and Paul, doesn't seem quite right to me. Reason is this: they were acting like they did because of their submission to God, which should always come first. That submission to God is what controls their behaviour, not their conscience. Of course in their case their conscience was well-informed (godly informed).

I think you've seen a lot of people acting foolishly by submitting to "christian" authorities simply because they (the authorities) were in that position. The problem is then two-fold, no? First the authority is not godly informed, and the Christian who blindly obeys is a fool. Yes, I agree with you, there is a lot of "bullying" in some Christian circles, I myself have seen it many times. That however doesn't excuse the sheep following the deceiver, does it? Now, to use the word "often" to start that paragraph (in relation to the church) is a bit too much, in my opinion. I think you tend to generalize your experiences.

You say: "... [we] should never allow anyone in authority to wrongly shame us." As much as I see the wrong in your statement, I wonder how you'd say we should proceed in cases when that happens? In what godly manner?

I could comment a lot more on your blog, but I won't. I think you wrongly use some biblical passages to support your own faulty arguments.

E.

#22  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Saturday, November 27, 2010at 1:58 PM

I know I can't protest against the TSA, Forgive them as they do their

stuff and walk away. It's hard, I know, but the terrorist won their

round. We just have to face it. Terrorists have the same sin of the flesh as we have too.

David ate the show bread, It was safe for him and his men. Rehab save

the two men lives, She by faith hid them and ask them to spare her and

her family. She actually fear the Israeli's God and knew He was real.

#24  Posted by Greg Corron  |  Sunday, November 28, 2010at 7:37 AM

My point about the TSA was not to urge you to be incensed or to protest (although there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, since we have that freedom in Christ), but to see past the veil of authority so you can protect yourselves and our children from real spiritual harm. It is harmful to the soul to allow someone who is not your doctor or spouse to touch you in the way that they do. Your body is a temple - it is special. How can we possibly preach chastity to young people if we are so careless and clueless about how we allow our own bodies to be treated by strangers in uniform? That is why our conscience must be our guide. If we feel a sense of shame while going to the airport with our children, dreading the experience but just closing our minds to it, we are short-circuiting our conscience, all in the name of senseless submission to authority.

You won't find verses in the Bible that address this issue directly, just as those who abolished slavery could find no direct support for their case from the King James. They had to rely solely on their informed conscience, that faculty that God has regenerated in every Christian. Many of them lied to the authorities and broke the law in order to operate the Underground Railroad in America to bring slaves to freedom, and they did not compromise their faith or sin in the process; on the contrary, they strengthened and lived out their faith. Those supporters of slavery who could not act without direct scriptural support were comforted that the Bible allowed slavery, and that Paul even returned a slave to his owner. They did not have to search their conscience beyond the surface of scripture. Yet they were wrong. We all know that now, but it was not obvious then.

I would love to continue this discussion, but I would ask those of you commenting on my website, isgreater.org, to please enter your comments there, so we don't end up discussing here what was written elsewhere.

#25  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Sunday, November 28, 2010at 11:43 AM

Hi, Greg, I think that one thing that was overlooked when listening to the audio sample (or the complete series, for that matter) is that I believe JMC was talking to Christians that SHOULD know we are ONLY to submit to the authorities when they act according to what we KNOW to be Godly.

In other words, in using the previously mentioned searches at airports, one must make up his own mind as to how to react.

I, myself, do think they are horrible in that the scan searches are very revealing, and put the operators in a very hard position of having to watch what I would consider porn of some kind. The "pat downs" are, in some sense, even more horrible in that now the ones doing them are actually touching people and kids (!!).

So, some questions that we have to think about (just as Daniel had to, in his experiences, and applying them to his situation), will you have your family submit to that kind of experience? Is it something that SHOULD be called out for what it is, mainly, abuse of some kind?, even if for the greater good?, and, more importantly, is the government, in just that one case, acting morally??

#26  Posted by Greg Corron  |  Sunday, November 28, 2010at 6:46 PM

Hi Jorge,

I agree completely with your assessment of the TSA, and everyone seems curious as to what I will do. The answer is simple: I won't fly. The main thing that this will accomplish is to prevent me and my family from being routinely treated like animals and having our bodies being examined by strangers. But, that is not my message, that is simply what I have decided in my own conscience what is necessary.

Like everything bad, God has meant this TSA mess for our good. As Americans, even many Christians are very casual about the body and how much we cover or what it is for. I've been to church services where I had to ask young men to cover up their underwear as their pants slipped fashionably down several inches while they sat listening to the sermon. Is it really asking too much to have a little dignity for the body? Am I being unreasonable? My conscience says no.

Greg

#27  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Monday, November 29, 2010at 5:43 AM

I find a bible verse. It's submission.

It's good to learn and put it to heart. It's hard. Trust Jesus.

Matt. 5:38-42-

You have heard that it was said,'An eye for an eye, and a tooth

for a tooth,' But now I tell you: Do not resist an evil person

If someone strike you on the right cheek, turn to him the other

also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let

him have your cloak as well. If someone force you to go one mile,

go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn

away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

One example, as I was a small child. I had 100 micro machines(small

cars). A kid, I knew want to steal toy cars from a store. I did'nt want him to do it. I told my mom if it was ok if I give up these cars and give it to him. I did and the boy was happy to have them. See, I gave it up cause I cared.

#28  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Monday, November 29, 2010at 9:04 AM

Dan:

That’s a great passage on submission—especially the “go two miles” command from Matthew 5:41. Here’s what John MacArthur said about that verse:

When a Roman soldier asked a citizen to carry his pack, he could never ask any one citizen to carry it more than one mile or the equivalent. So what Jesus is saying is, "When someone infringes on your liberty, and says, 'Will you carry my pack one mile?' and he happens to be a hated Roman and you're a Jew, and he happens to be going somewhere you couldn't care less about, the opposite direction for you, and you're literally carrying the weapons of warfare against your people, and this is your avowed enemy and he asks you to go one mile, go two." This is what Jesus is saying.

You say, "That's hard to do." Right, but that's the spirit of your Father in Heaven. If God only went the first mile with us, we'd be in real trouble. He's carried our burden far beyond that. Don't be concerned with your liberty any more than you're concerned with your security or dignity. God will give you the freedom of the sons of God, the security of His home in Heaven forever, the dignity of the image of Jesus Christ. Don't chase the things here that destroy the testimony that God wants you to be.

That excerpt is from a message titled, An Eye for an Eye, Part 2.

#29  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Monday, November 29, 2010at 9:33 AM

Greg:

Here are my final comments on the issue you introduced. First, not everyone has the luxury of declining to fly. I’m glad you do, since airport security presents you with a problem resolvable only by choosing another means of travel.

On another note, I think you place entirely too much confidence in human conscience. Reading your comments, I find statements like, our conscience must be our guide, and others with which I completely disagree. Our conscience is not a guide, Greg. It’s a warning system. In my opinion, you confuse the two, and cast suspicion on the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.

Feeling uncomfortable, frightened, or even dreading an experience doesn’t always equate to our conscience urging us to hit the cancel button. Think about that…

Here’s something else you wrote that illustrates my point. You said:

Many of [those seeking to abolish slavery] lied to the authorities and broke the law in order to operate the Underground Railroad in America to bring slaves to freedom, and they did not compromise their faith or sin in the process; on the contrary, they strengthened and lived out their faith.

Think about your statement, Greg. Lying didn’t compromise their faith? Or further, lying strengthened their faith? Surely you don’t believe that. Lying is sin. And sin is always a compromise, Greg. Far from strengthening a believer, it only serves to weaken God’s people. If that’s where your conscience leads you, I’d say you have a deceptive guide. Augustine was once asked if a Christian should lie in order to save someone’s life. His reply was that no Christian should ever lie, even if the entire world would be rescued through his deception. I agree.

I’ll leave you with that thought. Thanks for your contribution to our discussion on authority.

#30  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Monday, November 29, 2010at 10:27 AM

Tom,

I thought of that verse for a while. I will look into the sermon you mention. Tks.

God bless.

#31  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, November 29, 2010at 10:38 AM

Jorge, did you really mean, "I believe JMC was talking to Christians that SHOULD know we are ONLY to submit to the authorities when they act according to what we KNOW to be Godly"?

In other words, are you saying we only submit when authorities act godly?

If that is what you are saying, how do you account for Peter's clear instruction to submit especially when the authorities are acting ungodly (1 Peter 2:13-25; 3:13-17)? Remember the governing authorities during that time were heavily persecuting believers and were ungodly in ways we can't imagine. And yet Peter says, "honor the emperor"!

#33  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Monday, November 29, 2010at 6:33 PM

Re # 31, Gabriel wrote:

"In other words, are you saying we only submit when authorities act godly?"

I think we should. One can find many instances where the government acts immorally (like approving of abortions, for one), where we are asked to keep our opinions to ourselves and go along with the law of the land. That is clearly one instance where we should voice our disapproval, or isn't it??

Let me put it another way; did Daniel submit to what was asked of him (and the others)?, not once, but twice as recorded in Dan 3, and Dan 6 (the fiery furnace and the lion's den)?.

I say an emphatic no.

He himself said he would NOT agree to do what was asked, and rather trusted God even if it meant death.

I wonder if that kind of trusting should be expected from today's Christian, or if that was for the olden days only.

About your references, I like 1Pe 2:15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.

I take that to mean that the "doing good" should not be left undone. That part entails making sure that, even if we agree to go through what the government asks (pat downs and scannings, just to keep to the aforementioned examples), we SHOULD voice our concerns and say that it's wrong that we are asked to submit to that. Not as the world does, viewing them as mere inconveniences and protesting loudly, but making sure they are called as the MORAL wrongs that they are.

That also would apply to 1Pe 3:17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.

That is not the same as going along with whatever the government asks of us just for submission's sake, or to look good to our fellow Christians, or compliant to the world, as long as it is clearly defined what we believe.

I think we must voice our opinion and call what the government authorities do what it is. They say it is for our own good. I say fine, but they must admit the methods used are not entirely moral, and I think they truly downplay that part.

Just to be clear. I'm not advocating outright rebellion for it's sake. Just submission without betraying our convictions.

#35  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Monday, November 29, 2010at 7:22 PM

Re #29 Posted by Tommy Clayton

Hi, Tommy. There's a few points where I'd like some clarification.

Re "On another note, I think you place entirely too much confidence in human conscience. Reading your comments, I find statements like, our conscience must be our guide, and others with which I completely disagree. Our conscience is not a guide, Greg. It’s a warning system."

Correct to some degree.

See Rom 13:5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience.

I believe that means we SHOULD take our conscience into consideration. But a godly conscience (which I think Greg meant). It is the first thing that warns us something is right, or wrong, and should not to be so flippantly ignored, but as a guide to want to know more about how to act (or react).

Re "Feeling uncomfortable, frightened, or even dreading an experience doesn’t always equate to our conscience urging us to hit the cancel button. Think about that…"

Yes, but again, we should NOT ignore that warning light, but consider carefully what to do next.

Re "Augustine was once asked if a Christian should lie in order to save someone’s life. His reply was that no Christian should ever lie, even if the entire world would be rescued through his deception. I agree."

Wow, I find that troublesome at the very least. Was Augustine saying that if someone was looking for a child of his (if he had any) to kill him, and he knew where he was, he would tell that someone instead of lying to save his life?? Do you really think that is biblical??

I would understand willing to die instead, but not lying to save a life??

#36  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Monday, November 29, 2010at 8:00 PM

Re #31 Posted by Gabriel Powell

Hi, Gabriel, sorry I left something out from the response I posted before. I edited something out. Here it is:

Re "If that is what you are saying, how do you account for Peter's clear instruction to submit especially when the authorities are acting ungodly (1 Peter 2:13-25; 3:13-17)? Remember the governing authorities during that time were heavily persecuting believers and were ungodly in ways we can't imagine. And yet Peter says, "honor the emperor"!"

I don't think the government acts in an "ungodly" manner when it adheres to "...punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good."

Say the government started enacting laws that clearly contradicted the teachings of Scripture (as it has in some instances, even in trying to silence the Christian message i.e "hate speech" laws). Are we to submit to those silently knowing we know better? or, can we express our Christian faith by speaking out what we believe to be God's truths?.

In speaking out, we need not dishonor the "emperor", but should pray for authorities just as we are commanded.

I'm sorry I ask more questions than provide answers, but this is truly an issue not as easily discerned as JMC would have us believe (nothing against him personally).

No doubt the Bible teaches to submit. And he gets that point across very well. The question becomes "How ?". I don't believe it means blindly, and unquestionably.

#37  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Monday, November 29, 2010at 10:55 PM

Jorge:

Glad to provide clarity. The verse you quoted in Romans 13:5 makes a good point. It says we should submit to civil authorities, not only to avoid being punished (by those same authorities), but also to keep a clear conscience. In other words, a Christian’s conscience is informed by the highest possible moral standard, God’s Holy Word—which clearly teaches us to submit to authority and honor those who rule over us. So, if you want a clear conscience, fear God and honor the king, because if you fail to do either, and your conscience has been informed by Scripture, you should feel the pangs of a defiled conscience.

Jorge, I’ll be brief and to the point on the next item of our disagreement. I think it’s important. Here goes:

You said: Wow, I find that troublesome at the very least. Was Augustine saying that if someone was looking for a child of his (if he had any) to kill him, and he knew where he was, he would tell that someone instead of lying to save his life? Do you really think that is biblical?

Yes. I do. Here’s why. To lie is to sin (Ex. 20:16). God hates sin. God especially hates the sin of lying. It made his list of 7 most loathsome sins in Proverbs 6:16-19 (look carefully, because lying made the list twice). You are never more like Satan than when you lie. He is the father of lies and those who make a practice of lying are his offspring (John 8:44). Ephesians 4:25 commands us to put away falsehood and speak the truth to one another in love. Liars will be outside the kingdom of heaven as part of those who practice falsehood (Rev. 22:15). A lie plunged humanity in ruin (Gen. 3). I could go on and on. Lying is diametrically opposed to the nature of our Savior, who is the Truth (John 14:6).

So, yes, Augustine nailed it with his statement. Lying is sin, always sin, and only sin. God hates it, Christ never practiced it (Titus 1:2), and we should be imitators of both.

At this point, some people bring up the example of Rahab lying to the king of Jericho about the spies hiding on her rooftop. Scripture commends her faith in several places, not her sin of lying (Heb. 11:31, James 2:25). Her lie was unnecessary, and was a sin against God.

Maybe you could get creative when tempted with an overwhelming urge to be deceptive (even to protect someone you care about) and just say, “I’m not going to tell you.” After all, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that God always provides a means of escape when we are tempted to sin. That includes lying, and it means…you don’t have to do it.

Here’s a question to ponder. Which is worse, sinning, or experiencing a horrible death? Think about the example of Christ as you answer…

#38  Posted by Colleen Eubanks  |  Tuesday, November 30, 2010at 6:10 AM

To Tracy L. post #2 - so sorry and sad to hear of your experiences. I find I must constantly check myself and pray that I am exhibiting the character of Christ and the fruit of the Spirit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. As you know, Christian means follower of Christ and this is my utmost desire - to follow, live and teach the example displayed by Christ himself. Being a Christian for nearly 30 years and a sinner for almost 50 years, my old self is still waging war within, especially when it comes to criticizing others, Christian or not. I can only pray Jesus’ prayer of unity, “Make us one, Lord. Make us one in You and the Father.”

We need to be certain, as Christians, that we are not doing that which we are criticizing. And when we see this behavior from our brother and sister, should we not, in love, confront the sin? And if they don’t listen, then bring a witness, and if they still don’t listen, take it to the leadership?

Now if what you say is true, that most Christians you have encountered in the church are self-righteous and mean-spirited and that you have “never seen a Christian full of God’s love,” then I wonder two things: 1) perhaps you are in the wrong church, and 2) what do you see in the mirror? Are you laying forth and exemplifying this sacrificial love you haven’t seen or is it easier to criticize the brethren rather than be an example? Don’t sit around hoping Christian teachers will bring this to light, it is up to you to let your light shine into the darkness you see.

Dear Lord, make us one, let our light shine and let us not be accusers of the brethren, but help us to examine ourselves and be examples of your love and holiness. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

#39  Posted by Colleen Eubanks  |  Tuesday, November 30, 2010at 6:15 AM

To Tracy L. post #2 -

So sorry and sad to hear of your experiences. I find I must constantly check myself and pray that I am exhibiting the character of Christ and the fruit of the Spirit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. As you know, Christian means follower of Christ and this is my utmost desire - to follow, live and teach the example displayed by Christ himself. Being a Christian for nearly 30 years and a sinner for almost 50 years, my old self is still waging war within, especially when it comes to criticizing others, Christian or not. I can only pray Jesus’ prayer of unity, “Make us one, Lord. Make us one in You and the Father.”

We need to be certain, as Christians, that we are not doing that which we are criticizing. And when we see this behavior from our brother and sister, should we not, in love, confront the sin? And if they don’t listen, then bring a witness, and if they still don’t listen, take it to the leadership?

Now if what you say is true, that most Christians you have encountered in the church are self-righteous and mean-spirited and that you have “never seen a Christian full of God’s love,” then I wonder two things: 1) perhaps you are in the wrong church, and 2) what do you see in the mirror? Are you laying forth and exemplifying this sacrificial love you haven’t seen or is it easier to criticize the brethren rather than be an example? Don’t sit around hoping Christian teachers will bring this to light, it is up to you to let your light shine into the darkness you see.

Dear Lord, make us one, let our light shine and let us not be accusers of the brethren, but help us to examine ourselves and be examples of your love and holiness. Thank you, Jesus. Amen

#40  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Tuesday, November 30, 2010at 6:39 AM

I think Abraham provides a good example of someone who lied to protect his life but was not commended for it in scripture. He twice told a ruler (first the Pharaoh of Egypt and then the King of Gerar) that his beautiful wife was his sister (Genesis 12:10-10 and Genesis 20:1-18). While she was his half sister, he was rebuked by the rulers for his lie. In spite of God's promises to him that he would have many descendants, Abraham felt the need to lie to save himself. God was merciful to him and ultimately Abraham's faith grew to the point where he was willing to trust in God enough to sacrifice Isaac on the altar, but I think the point is that Abraham did not have the faith to trust God in the presence of the rulers who might have taken his life. A lie might be forgivable, but we can not declare it morally right will when God has said lying is wrong. A lie is the result of not fully trusting in God's sovereignty and feeling the need to rely on oneself. Telling the truth requires great faith but God can be trusted to be faithful, even if the result is that we are ushered into His presence.

#41  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Tuesday, November 30, 2010at 8:17 AM

Sermon on the mount. It's powerful and digs in our hearts to realize

our relationship. Wow.

Right, we are to listen to both godly and ungodly leaders but if they

say we can't tell the gospel or send bibles. Then it would be a different situation. Like when Peter and John in Acts. When the lame

man was healed by the power of Jesus. The Pharisees said to both Peter

and John to stop telling about Jesus. Peter stood his ground and said

No, Obey God, not man. Meant trust not in ungodly wisdom. Only trust in God's wisdom.

Another part in scripture. Jesus said about the ungodly judge that got tired of hearing the woman requests, then the ungodly judge gave it to her.

#42  Posted by Greg Corron  |  Tuesday, November 30, 2010at 8:47 AM

Two quick points, about Rahab and about 1 Peter 2, "Honor the emperor."

Rahab's deceiving the authorities was necessary for her to act on her faith. There was no way to avoid it. But this cannot be sinful, because the Bible says in 1 Cor 10:13 that God will not even tempt you beyond your ability. It would seem that God went far beyond tempting Rahab and entrapped her into sinning (if she indeed sinned as some maintain) by giving her faith, and then giving her only one option to act on that faith. The only answer that makes sense is that she did not sin.

In 1 Pet 2, we see not only "honor the Emperor" but "honor everyone". So it is clear that the word "honor" does not mean to strictly obey, since it is impossible to obey everyone. Is that not obvious? I understand the meaning of the word honor as acting in good faith according to your informed conscience. Honor your father and mother does not mean strict obedience to them, or even to like them. Rather, we need to honor whatever is honorable in them as parents. If a store has a sign that says, "We honor American Express Traveler's Checks", it doesn't mean they will accept forgeries.

Many preachers unfortunately take Peter's advice to slaves in 1 Peter 2 and apply it to citizens. These are two different classes of people. Paul challenged Roman authorities based on his citizenship and made them back down (Acts 22:25). He did not submit to them as a slave.

Greg

#44  Posted by Tracey Lehmann  |  Tuesday, November 30, 2010at 9:45 AM

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#45  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Tuesday, November 30, 2010at 10:06 AM

Greg:

This will be my last response to your comments.

Click here and scroll down until you get to Phil Johnson’s message titled, “No Lie Is of the Truth.” He preached that message on 8/24/2008 in our GraceLife fellowship. He takes much more time than I have here to explain why lying is never OK for a believer. He hits on the Rahab incident as well. I’d recommend you listen carefully to that message for some clarity on lying and faith.

Your statement about Rahab’s deception being necessary in order to act on her faith is completely false. Her deception–necessary, for her faith? Surely you don’t believe Scripture supports that—anywhere…

As Phil points out in his message, lying is a unique prohibition in the commandments. God Himself cannot commit, because it is impossible (Titus 1:2). God forbids humans murdering, but we read of Him taking lives in Scripture. But unlike killing, lying is in a category of its own. God never lies. Therefore, we can never justify our practicing it—for any reason, even when our lives are threatened. That’s what the writer of Hebrews was after when he confronted his suffering but vacillating readers with this charge, “You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin.” In other words, you’d rather jeopardize the glory and honor of Christ than risk personal danger in upholding the truth. When dying is more dreadful to us than sinning against, God, we have a backwards theology.

That’s ultimately where your thinking leads if you follow it consistently in life.

Regarding your other comments, the hermeneutics you use to interpret 1 Cor. 10 and 1 Peter 2 are inconsistent and, to be honest, unreliable. You seriously neglect the principle of interpreting Scripture with Scripture (analogy of faith).

Thanks for the interaction, Greg. I hope you find time to hear Phil’s message.

-Tommy

#46  Posted by Yc Lee  |  Tuesday, November 30, 2010at 12:03 PM

I'm afraid we Christians are becoming Pharisees!

When Hitler's assistants were submissive to his authority and killed millions, I don't see any one would praise their behavior of submissiveness. The truth is that this is a sinful world and we Christians are to live out of love, not of "law". If your friend's daughter hid in your house to escape from being raped by soldiers, will you lie for her (against God's law)? This is not uncommon in some countries. A church brother said he would not lie in any situation because he has faith in God. When I asked him if it was his daughter instead, would he still has the faith and not to lie, he had no word to answer me. The truth is we only love for ourselves and use God's law to cover the fact that we have no love to others. With the greatest command of loving God and loving others, we should know what to do in any situation. However, we do have to exam ourselves often because each of us will stand before God to explain each one of our words, thoughts and deeds.

#48  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, November 30, 2010at 2:08 PM

Before saying anything else, I think we can all agree that Scripture is clear as to when we should not submit, namely, when we are commanded to something contrary to God's Word.

So if the government says, "stop preaching negatively against homosexuality or abortion," we simply refuse to submit and accept the consequences. If the government says, "you must not meet together for worship," we refuse and do so anyway (even if in secret). We don't need to rub it in their nose (like have a church service on the White House lawn, or purposefully have a sermon series on homosexuality after a law in enacted, but we continue to meet, and if homosexuality is addressed in our current passage then we speak about it.

But, if the government says, "you must pay us 75% taxes" or "you must completely fill out the census telling us everything we want to know about you and your family," then we must submit because those are not sin issues.

When the government knocks on your door demanding to know if you are hiding Christians, you can either choose to trust God (He could have prevented them from coming to the door if He wanted to, so He must have a purpose), or you can assume that physical life is more important than obedience to God.

As Tommy has clearly demonstrated, lying is against the very character of God, and Jesus never lied even though doing so would have saved Him a lot of pain. No one in Scripture was ever commended for lying, nor can anyone say that lying is ever a necessary evil. God is sovereign and can accomplish His purposes in many ways (ever heard of the person who admitted he was hiding Jews and the soldiers laughed and left because they thought he was lying?).

Lying is an attempt to accomplish man's desires without regard for God's sovereignty. It is man trying to "help" God out. The lying person assumes they know God's will, but somehow God lost control and lying is necessary to help Him out. Make no mistake, nothing happens apart from God's will, and God never ever ever needs us to sin for His will to happen. If God wants to save the one we are protecting, He can save them. If He wants to take them to glory, He will make it happen. Nothing you or I do can thwart God's will, so making emotional appeals to justify a sin doesn't make the sin right, necessary, or permitted.

Back to something we would all agree with. Lying is forgivable, and in God's providence He does use the sin of man to accomplish His will (hardening Pharaoh's heart, for example). I honestly don't know what I would do if someone knocked on my door looking for my little boy. But I do know one thing: if I lied, it would be a sin for which I must repent.

#49  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Tuesday, November 30, 2010at 2:27 PM

Well said, Gabriel, very well said. (post # 48)

Also, people would really enjoy the sermon by Phil Johnson. Tommy Clayton pointed it out in post # 45. I am listening to it now and am being so blessed by it.

The Devil is the father of lies, and God cannot lie, so therefore God cannot sin. I had someone tell me one once that God is capable of sinning, if He wanted to. I was so upset, that I had to literally sit down on the couch for quite a while, because I felt as though someone had taken a club and hit me in the chest. I have NEVER had a reaction like that before, but it was so painful for me. So, I simply went to Scripture and defended my Lord and Savior. His integrity is worth defending, each and every time. How could we not?

#50  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, November 30, 2010at 2:28 PM

Jorge,

I completely agree with you on the issue of voicing our opinion. We live in a system where we can indeed voice opinion and seek changes in government according to what is right. The Bible does not call us to passivity where appeals can be made. Where there is a built-in mechanism for us to seek change, we should take advantage of it. But that is a far cry from not submitting to current laws (again, provided they do not contradict clear biblical mandates).

Also, you asked Tommy, "I would understand willing to die instead, but not lying to save a life?" The problem is you can't save a life. You don't know how the soldier (in this case) would respond. They might not believe you and find the person anyway. That person's life is not in your hands, it is in God's hands. If you lie, and the person is found, then the result is you've sinned and accomplished nothing. Sure, if you lie and they aren't found you'll feel like you've accomplished something, but really it was God who permitted that lie deceive the soldier. So in a sense, at that point you're testing God to see if He'll bless your sin.

Again, I acknowledge that we're speaking about this from the comfort of our desks with no threat in sight. We're not debating how easy it would be to lie or difficult to tell the truth, we're simply discussing what is the objective morally right thing to do; and the answer is simple: lying is a sin, don't do it.

#51  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Tuesday, November 30, 2010at 3:37 PM

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#52  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Tuesday, November 30, 2010at 3:39 PM

Jesus never lies and weaves around the truth. For let God be true, and man liars. O Lord, Thank you, you never have sin and full of goodness.

Amen.

Jesus doesn't want us to put sin in practice.

#53  Posted by Greg Corron  |  Tuesday, November 30, 2010at 4:28 PM

OK, Tommy asked if Scripture supported the idea that Rahab acted properly. Yes, I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned it. It is found in James 2:25. James says most emphatically that Rahab was justified not only by her faith, but by her works; that is, the work of helping the spies. There's just no getting around it, folks. You can't separate her faith from her works, the only work of hers that is recognized in the Bible. It was an act of faith, not sin.

#55  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Tuesday, November 30, 2010at 4:59 PM

#53 - Mr. Greg, what James 2:25 says is this:

"In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?"

Where does it say that she was justified by lying?

#56  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, November 30, 2010at 5:00 PM

Greg, the problem is the text specifically mentions the works that were commended, specifically, not the lying part.

Really, James would have said the same thing if she hadn't lied. So whether or not she lied is unnecessary to James' statement.

James' point is that true faith is expressed in works. Rahab is an example of a Gentile working out her faith. The fact that she lied is irrelevant to the issue. It is not commended by James. James is being general, not specific. We can say someone was a great king while not mentioning certain obvious mistakes they made. The declaration of that person being a great king is not a commendation of his mistakes.

#57  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Tuesday, November 30, 2010at 5:19 PM

Oh, I see what Gabriel meant. We must not talk negative of the king, cause we all have sin as well the king does.

Greg,

Rehab lied, God is not pleased with that lie, She protected the 2 men with works of faith, It pleased God why cause she willing to give up her honor of her king for the real King. 2 differences.

#58  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Tuesday, November 30, 2010at 8:26 PM

Re #57 Posted by Dan Wilson

"Rehab lied, God is not pleased with that lie, She protected the 2 men with works of faith, It pleased God why cause she willing to give up her honor of her king for the real King. 2 differences. "

Very good insight, Dan. While God may not have been pleased with Rahab's lie, it is reasonable to assume it was the right thing to do, since even the writer of Hebrews commends her:

Heb 11:31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

Not only did she give a friendly welcome, but lied (or, at the very least, did not tell the whole truth) to save their lives. Important to note is the fact that she did what she did because she feared God (even though it's not clear if she just really did it to save hers and her family's lives). Still, it's clear that she had enough faith in God (whom she only heard about) to know it was worth lying to save His spies.

Another example worth mentioning is:

Exo 1:19 The midwives said to Pharaoh, "Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women, for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them."

Exo 1:20 So God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong.

Exo 1:21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families.

Again, we see the fear of God (in doing the right thing), is commended by God even if lying is involved.

In Rahab's situation, we see Scripture does not even mention the lie. Never is it even considered, but anyone can see that she lied (with a lot of imagination).

In the midwives situation, God Himself dealt well with them, never saying it was OK that they lied.

What I'm trying to get across is that no one should beat himself up WHEN and IF we find ourselves in a situation when we see no other way out but to lie (like Peter did in denying Jesus).

I admire anyone who has enough faith to allow people to be killed knowing it may very well be God's will (as some here have pointed out). But that is for the mature Christian. Please consider the young in the faith.

#59  Posted by Greg Corron  |  Wednesday, December 01, 2010at 6:33 AM

Dan and Gabriel,

Are you saying then that the ends justifies the means? That God will praise you for accomplishing something good, even if you have to sin to do it? The Bible teaches we should never sin so that good may come (Rom 3:8).

Greg

#60  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Wednesday, December 01, 2010at 9:13 AM

Greg,

I won’t speak for Dan or Gabe, but wanted to point out a flaw in your thinking. Consider your statement below and apply that to your argument that Ruth’s lie was a virtuous and faithful deed. You illustrate the point I’ve been making all along. Do you see what I was saying now about your hermeneutic being inconsistent?

Greg said, Are you saying then that the ends justifies the means? That God will praise you for accomplishing something good, even if you have to sin to do it? The Bible teaches we should never sin so that good may come (Rom 3:8).

#61  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, December 01, 2010at 9:15 AM

Greg, unless I'm seriously misreading your comments, it sounds like you and Jorge are saying that the ends justifies the means (it was ok for Rahab to lie because of the result), while Tommy and myself are trying to say that the ends do not justify the means. Lying is always wrong.

Thank you for pointing out Romans 3:8... that strengthens the argument we were trying to make!

#62  Posted by Tracey Lehmann  |  Wednesday, December 01, 2010at 9:18 AM

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#63  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Wednesday, December 01, 2010at 3:53 PM

What God says in the scriptures is what He says. Lying and Truthful

is different period. What James says in scriptures that our tongue is a fire, with it we say good things and with it we say things which are

sinful and we can't tame it.

Please read the sermons.

I quote from the scriptures. Nothing else.

#64  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Wednesday, December 01, 2010at 8:52 PM

Re #62 Posted by Tracey Lehmann

Re "We shouldn`t sin because it`s against God`s holiness but we will because we have a fallen nature."

Yes, aside from that, though, we should not downplay the role the conscience (a godly one) plays in the situation. The example of the midwives ( Exo 1:21 ) clearly teaches that, when God Himself comes into the picture, in some instances, He does not condemn people for lying, even though lying is a terrible sin. That verse has nothing to do with God approving of lying. I see it as just another example of His grace towards us, in that, if we fear Him, He will make "all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." So there ARE times when lying WILL bring about God's rewarding. Isn't that saying that lying is not always wrong??

It may have something to do with how and why the sinning comes about. If the lie is for personal gain, it would bring reproach and be subject to correction; if it is for the safety of someone else, God will commend us for it, as the writer of Hebrews did Rahab, and God Himself did for the midwives. Something to think about.

Re "As far as the submission thing goes, I don`t think that you blindly just submit to anyone."

Yes, that should be obvious, yet, by a paragraph in the very introduction to this post, one would not know that.

"Here’s John’s point. If you don’t submit to the authorities God placed in your life—parents, employers, government, even teachers—then you're not following His will. Period. In fact, if you rebel against those authorities, you rebel against God (Rom. 13:2)."

I find the "Period." part very troublesome. I cannot believe they mean that when someone (including oneself) would be endangered by the submission, we should still go ahead and submit. That would be like acknowledging that the JW's are right when they will not accept a blood transfusion (I use this example from their history, not knowing what they believe now) because they are told to trust God will save them without one (according to their leaders). That shows, on the surface, a faith worth commending, yet, prone to be confused with "testing" God.

#65  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Wednesday, December 01, 2010at 8:54 PM

Re #61 Posted by Gabriel Powell

"Greg, unless I'm seriously misreading your comments, it sounds like you and Jorge are saying that the ends justifies the means (it was ok for Rahab to lie because of the result), while Tommy and myself are trying to say that the ends do not justify the means. Lying is always wrong."

Hi, Gabriel, whether Greg and I are right or wrong is not the issue here. I think we have shown the Bible clearly commends Rahab and the midwives even though lying was at the core of their "good works".

I wouldn't go as far as to say the ends justify the means ever. I will say God, in those instances, clearly overlooked the sin of lying. Ignored it even.

I will say it seems God, in those instances, clearly shows us the means DID justify the ends.

He could have had the spies discovered and killed. He could have had all the Hebrew male children killed by the midwives. His plans would not have been thwarted. He would have just done things differently. Yet, he chose to have things develop the way they did for reasons known only to Himself.

#66  Posted by Colleen Eubanks  |  Wednesday, December 01, 2010at 11:24 PM

Dear Tracey,

As I mentioned in my first reply (#44), I am so sorry and sad to hear of your experiences. I pray you can overcome.

I apologize if you were offended by the mirror comment and for not being clearer. I hoped I could find a loving and sisterly way to say that your post (#2) exemplified the very thing you complained about (I’ve done this more times than I can count). You sounded self-righteous (been there, I can drive so good, everyone else – not so good. Or, if everyone else would just…).

Call me blind, but I cannot see any encouragement to love, nor any building up of the body. I actually see the opposite.

Should we be tearing down and slamming all Christians based on our individual experiences? Is this how we show ourselves to the world? Or should we “build each other up in the love and admonition of the Lord.” Should we not just simply speak the scripture and let the sword of the Spirit do its work? Confront sin. Start with self. Don't be concerned about the speck in your brother's eye if there is a log in yours.

One thing is certain, if you you’ve never met a Christian full of God’s love or your pastor is not teaching on it, then perhaps you are not really surrounding yourself with Christians and perhaps you’re not in the right church. At least talk to your pastor about more teaching on love.

In His unfailing love, your sister in Christ.

#67  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Wednesday, December 01, 2010at 11:25 PM

The following is from a Question and Answer with John MacArthur. A little girl named Shelby asked John about Rahab's lie:

SHELBY: In Joshua, was it wrong for Rahab to lie to save the two spies? Some Christians I talk to disagree about lying. Some say that God sees your heart and if you lie for a good reason, like if you're having a surprise party and someone asks...Are they having a surprise party for me?...and you say...No, they're not having a surprise party for you." Is it always wrong to lie, say even to save someone's life?

JOHN: Let me tell you something, Shelby. I'm going to ask you a question. Does God need a lie to accomplish His will?

SHELBY: No.

JOHN: I don't think so. What would have happened if Rahab told the truth? If God wanted the spies to escape, and Rahab told the truth, would the spies have escaped another way? Sure...sure, because look, God doesn't need your lie. God doesn't need your lie. This is touching on some sacred ground. Remember the story of Corrie Ten Boom who as a Dutch lady who was hiding Jews in her house when the Nazis came? Now there's no overt lie. You don't have to tell everybody everything. You don't have to say to the person, "Hey, by the way, did you hear about your surprise party? I know you'd want to know about it." You don't have to say that. You don't have to go outside your house and say, "Hey, by the way, Gestapo, we have some Jews in here under the floor boards." You don't have to tell everybody everything. You don't have to if they don't ask you. But I'm convinced that if you are asked a specific thing that you can tell the truth and trust that God can still accomplish His purposes without a lie to help Him. He doesn't need that, okay? Good question, honey, thank you.

JOHN: You could also say this, Shelby. You can also say, "I'm not going to tell you." Okay.

#68  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Thursday, December 02, 2010at 4:34 AM

God never thanks us for our sins.

Our sin hides God from us.

One who holds sin will be accounted for. One would be

thrown in the mouth of hell in last days who does not

confess their sins and not receiving Jesus in their

lives and not forgive others too.

#71  Posted by Greg Corron  |  Thursday, December 02, 2010at 8:02 AM

Tommy: I was simply showing you the contradiction in your thinking - but instead you attributed what I said about what you said to me. So now the discussion is really tangled up, and seems to be drawing to a close anyway. Thanks!

Greg