One of the greatest ways to protect our consciences is to salve it in pragmatism. We believe because something will work that is it a righteous act. Far too often the opposite is the truth. The late, great lion of the faith Adrian Rogers once said in a sermon that, “It is high time we stop asking will it work and start asking is it right?” Amen Brother Rogers!
We think because we do good that what we do God will bless. God will not bless if we do not do what He wants us to do:
“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
James is teaching about the sin of omission. Some think because they are doing what they think is right that they are doing what is right. The problem is their measure of righteousness is success. Success does not always equal righteousness; just look at the most “successful” churches in America. Would you consider the preaching coming from those pulpits as righteous?
We often make decisions using man’s wisdom even if it clearly violates God’s laws. We read in His Ten Commandments “You shall not kill,” and yet we legislate the killing of some unborn babies. And we call that good. Often times this is done in ignorance, believing that they are doing good when they are actually committing a sin of ignorance. Jesus said taught there is a difference between the sin of omission and the sin of ignorance:
“And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” (Luke 12:47-48)
I understand the lure of pragmatic thinking; it often makes sense. Up until five years ago, I believed there should be an exception for abortion in the case of rape, incest, or the mother’s life being in danger, which is legally known as the Hyde Amendment. Then I met Rebecca Kiessling. Everyone should meet this amazing sister-in-Christ. My pragmatism would have meant death for this wonderful woman of God.
I know that many will object to this line of reasoning, but commenting on James 4:17, let’s allow our old friend Matthew Henry to bring some clarity to the conversation:
“All we design, and all we do, should be with submissive dependence on God. It is foolish, and it is hurtful, to boast of worldly things and aspiring projects; it will bring great disappointment, and will prove destruction in the end. Omissions are sins which will be brought into judgment, as well as commissions. He that does not the good he knows should be done, as well as he who does the evil he knows should not be done, will be condemned. Oh that we were as careful not to omit prayer, and not to neglect to meditate and examine our consciences, as we are not to commit gross outward vices against light!”
I think too many Christians attribute Paul’s admonishment to the Roman church found in chapter 1 to the lost. But let me ask you this, can a Christian commit an ungodly or unrighteous act? Of course he or she can! And if you read Romans 1:7, his letter is addressed to the saints in Rome, born-again believers. Paul is writing of God’s wrath upon unrighteousness and of course much of it is addressed to the lost, but be not deceived. We Christians are in constant danger of having our hearts stained:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:18-21)
If we are going to see revival come to America, which is the only antidote for the unleashed evil in our land, then that must begin with everyone who calls him or herself a Christian. We must examine our consciences to see what remnants of stinking thinking remains in our thought processes. Let us meditate on God’s Word and apply it first and foremost to all we do.
That is how we will know what we are doing is what we should be doing…
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Copyright © 2013 David Jeffers
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