Justifying the Means

We as human beings, especially as Christians, try to justify the means if the result is right. We try to do this even if it contradicts God’s Word. We reason, “But look at what happened as a result!” “See how it turned out in the end!” “Even though it might have been wrong, it all worked out.” We think the means are justifiable because the result is right.

In the Garden of Eden Satan tempted Eve, “You will not die. Your eyes will be opened. You will be like God.” Eve could justify the means, because the result seemed good. She could justify breaking God’s Word, because the result was good.

Abraham justified his lie (the means) in order to save his life. After all, he could not have lots of descendants if he was dead. Sarah would be taken anyway, why not save himself and his descendants and hope Sarah would be able to come with him after a while. As it happened, things did turn out okay, Abraham lived again with Sarah, no damage was done, except for Abimelech’s loss of respect for Abraham. Abraham justified his lie as a way to procure a good result.

A second time Abraham lied in order to save his hide. Abraham had adultery with Hagar in order to have descendants. Isaac followed in his father’s footsteps, justifying the means in order to have a good result. God told Rebekah that the elder would serve the younger, so when she helped Jacob steal the blessing, she justified the means to help God out. David could justify killing Uriah the Hittite because the result was favorable, “We can’t have the people know that their king is an adulterer.” Ultimately, Caiaphas figured it was expedient that one man (Jesus Christ) should die for the people. All these people justified the means, lying, adultery, trickery, and murder, because the result seemed right or necessary.

We feel it is okay to lie in order to protect people, such as the Jews in Nazi Germany. We think it is fine to kill in order to save others or ourselves. We think we are doing right because the result is right, even though the means may be wrong. The righteous lie, and the godly killings, do not exist. It is just us trying to make it seem like doing wrong for the right reason or the right result is okay.

When it come to evangelism, this idea is very prominent. Some religions justify prostitution as way to bring others to their faith. Christians may justify serving alcohol at church so they can preach to the drunkards while they are there. Some churches may try rock music or dancing routines in order to bring people in. “But it works!” they claim. We cannot justify the means because the result is good. Why not have Non-Christian pastors, so, as they are preparing for their next sermon they might be in God’s Word and eventually they might come to Christ.

Satan tries to pollute the Church with the idea that we can do something bad in order to accomplish a good result. We must not justify the means because the result is right or scriptural.