"Justified By A Lie" (March 2004)
For quiet some time now I have been concerned about what I see and hear in the lives of some who profess to be Christians. I have seen so many "going their own way"- living "loose" and immoral lifestyles; portraying ungodly and unkind attitudes; going places they shouldn't go, doing things they shouldn't do; using profanity; indulging in things that are sinful; being involved in those things that the Lord commanded us to forsake; they don't go to church; they rarely read their Bibles or pray; the things of God seem unimportant to them- they just live like they please and still claim to be a Christian. My Bible says that there is more to it than just "talking the talk"; there is more to it than a "mere" profession. We live in a very liberal society- unfortunately, the liberal thinking of the world has infiltrated the church. What we once called sin has become acceptable, and we try to justify it by saying, "That was our grandparent's religion. That's an old fashion gospel; we are a new generation, living in a 'new thing'". This is a dangerous and damnable philosophy. It doesn't matter what society says; it doesn't matter what the latest trend is; or what may be politically correct; what matters is what God says about it. If He says it's wrong- it's wrong. If He says it's sin- it's sin. And if He says we are not to do it... then we are not to do it. "But immorality (sexual vice) and all impurity [of lustful, rich, wasteful living] or greediness must not even be named among you, as is fitting and proper among saints (God's consecrated people)." (Ephesians 5:3- Amplified Bible) For this reason, the Lord spoke to my heart and said, "Encourage My people to run the race that is set before them.
The Apostle Paul compared our Christian walk to a runner in a race. "Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours." (1 Corinthians 9:24- Amplified Bible) "As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful." (2 Timothy 4:67- New Living Translation) For some reason many have thought that it was enough to just "get in" the race, but felt it wasn't necessary to "run it". We've all heard the saying, "It's not he who starts the race, but he who finishes it that wins." (A race has a starting line and a finish line.) This is true in our Christian walk as well- there is a starting point (it happens when we are born again) and there is a finishing point (when we leave this world and reach our eternity). It's not enough to just get in the race, it has to be ran all the way to the finish line. God doesn't want you to just get in the race, He wants you to finish it; He wants you to receive the prize that is laid up for you.
When we go our own way and do our own thing, we have stopped running the race. It's the job of the enemy (the devil) to make us stop running the race that is set before us. "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and destroy." (John 10:10a) He tries to do this by many ways. I want to discuss one of these ways this month; it's- justification. Normally, we hear this word in connection with our salvation (as in being "justified" through faith from the penalty of sin by the blood of Jesus), but the root word of justification is "justify". The dictionary defines justify as- to free from blame or guilt; to show an adequate reason for something done. The devil is a deceiver and a liar. "He is a liar, and the father of it." (John 8:44b) What he tries to do is get you to believe a lie so that you will act upon it. He doesn't usually come to you and flat out tell you the lie- he knows that you won't fall for it if he does. "And no marvel; for satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." (2 Corinthians 11:14) He makes it look good and sound good so that you will fall for it. This is what he did in the Garden of Eden. He made the fruit look appealing; speaking only "good" things to Eve. "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:5) We have seen him do this time and time again in ruined lives. "For we are not ignorant of his devices." (2 Corinthians 2:11) He presents a "pleasurable" side of adultery and breaks up a marriage and family. He shows the drug addict a lifestyle of popularity- when he believes it he finds himself in the gutter or jail and his life destroyed. So how does he deceive us and get us to believe the lie? He does it through giving you all kinds of reasons that you can use to justify your actions. "To show an adequate reason for something done." (You can't run the race if you are justifying and excusing your actions.)
This takes me back to one of our opening remarks- What we once called sin has become acceptable, and we try to justify it by saying, "That was our grandparent's religion. That's an old fashion gospel; we are a new generation, living in a 'new thing'". This is one of those reasons (lies) that the devil has fed the church to "justify" our sins. Let me bring it down a little closer to home- to help you better understand where I am coming from. When I was pregnant with my daughter, a friend I graduated with made the comment- "When you are pregnant, the eleventh commandment ought to be... 'Eateth all thou wanteth'." (If you have ever been pregnant, you can understand where she was coming from.) My thought was, "Pregnancy doesn't give you a license to commit gluttony." Gluttony is a sin; even if you are pregnant. But if you aren't careful, you can use the pregnancy as your reason to "justify" it- 'Well, I have all these cravings; I'm eating for two, you know'. Since I have a "good reason" (and, yes, I have a legitimate reason), then it's all right for me to do it. This soothes our conscience and, therefore, we don't consider it sin any more. (Your reason- no matter how good it is, how legitimate it is, how logical it is, how accepted by society it may be- is never a license to commit sin.)
The devil has no new devices or tricks in his bag of lies- he has to use the same ones over and over again. This is one he has been using from the beginning of time. "And the man said, 'The woman who thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat'." (Genesis 3:12) He deceives us into believing that our actions are- not my fault. You heard it in Adam's answer to God, "It's Eve's fault for offering it to me; it's Your fault, God, for creating her. It's not my fault". Adam tried to excuse what he did by saying that it was Eve's fault- so technically he wasn't guilty. We hear this same "justification" today. I am not the guilty one; it's not my fault that I did this or that, it's my parent's fault because they spanked me when I was a child; it's Uncle Joe's fault because he sexually abused me; it's my third grade teacher's fault because she embarrassed me in front of the class. If I believe that someone else is to blame for my behavior, then I won't believe that it really is my fault and that I'm to blame. If I believe that, then I will believe the lie that says God won't hold me responsible for what someone else does. Therefore, I have justified my actions, and have deceived myself in to believing that I am not guilty of doing any wrong. Beloved, this is not the truth but a lie that you have bought into. The Bible says that you are responsible for your own actions- you cannot put the blame on anyone else and try to excuse what you do. "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." (Romans 14"12) Sir, this means that you can't commit adultery and then stand before God one day and try to justify your actions by blaming your wife for her lack of understanding or affection. You will answer for yourself. Young person, this means that you can't go out and do violent acts of crime and stand before God and try to point the finger at your parents because they didn't raise you in church or because they were too strict on you. Perhaps you were raised in a single parent home, this is no excuse as far as God is concerned. You can't justify what you do just because you grew up without a dad in your home- even if he left you and your mother when you were little- your behavior is not his fault... it's yours. You are responsible for what you do and you will be held responsible for what you do, no one else will. God won't listen to it. You will answer for your own actions, and you won't have anyone to blame for what you did. Let me prove this to you. Look back in the Book of Genesis with me for a moment. "'Yes', Adam admitted, 'but it was the woman You gave me who brought me some, and I ate it.'" And to Adam, God said, 'Because you listened to your wife and ate the fruit when I told you not to, I have placed a curse upon the soil. All your life you will struggle to extract a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, and you shall eat its grasses. All your life you will sweat to master it, until your dying day, Then you will return to the ground from which you came. For you were made from the ground, and to the ground you will return.'" (Genesis 3:12, 17-19- Living Bible) When Adam tried to justify his disobedience he said it was God's fault and Eve's fault that he disobeyed- not his own. God didn't agree with Adam. God held Adam personally responsible for his own acts of disobedience. Six times in God's judgment upon Adam He said "you"- He addressed Adam personally. If you noticed, God didn't even mention Eve- the only reference we see is when He told Adam that "because you listened to your wife". Again, every man shall give an account of himself. Did this mean that God excused Eve? No, she had to answer also, personally, for her own sins. "Then God said to the woman, 'You shall bear children in intense pain and suffering; yet even so, you shall welcome your husband's affections, and he shall be your master.'" (verse16) God addressed them each separately. God will address us each separately on the day when we stand before Him.
I'm not saying that sometimes you won't suffer because of the consequences of someone else's actions- we all suffer because of Adam's sin in the Garden of Eden. Children suffer because of divorce by their parents- through no fault of their own. But what I am telling you, is that you can't justify your own actions by putting the blame on someone else. If that was acceptable to God, then none of us would face the penalty of sin- because it wasn't our fault, it was Adam's. But the fact remains, no matter what they do, or what they did, God has made me an individual, with a free will, with a right to choose, and He said that I personally will be judged by what I choose to do or not do. This is why people die and go to hell. Not because of Adam- yes, his disobedience brought eternal death upon all mankind- but I can't blame Adam if I go to hell. I have to blame myself for my own actions (which was not choosing the way of escape and forgiveness that God so graciously provided through His Son Jesus Christ). It's each individuals own fault if they miss heaven because the way is provided and they didn't take it. Therefore, they can't blame anyone else. God is a just God, not willing that any should perish. Because He is just- He gives you a way of escape from having to pay for what someone else (Adam) did- it's called salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Corinthians 15:22)
As we look in the scriptures, we see this same "false reasoning" filter down through history. We see it in the life of King Saul. "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, 'Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, 'Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord'. And Samuel said, 'What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?' And Saul said, 'They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed'." (1 Samuel 15:2a,3,13-15) King Saul was given a command by God but he didn't do what God told him to do. Instead, when confronted with his disobedience by the Prophet Samuel, he tried to justify what he did. He tried to say that it was the people and the reason they did it was because they wanted to bring back the best and give as a sacrifice to the Lord. Don't we do the same thing? We try to justify our actions by bringing the Lord into it? Lord, I only did it because I thought it would please You. I know You said I should pay tithes, but if I do I won't have enough to pay my bills, and I know that You want me to pay my bills. After all, You said in Your Word to own no man anything. If I give this to You, I will still owe them. See what I mean by "bringing God into it"? It's amazing how we justify our actions (even disobedient ones) by using the scriptures to "prove" that we are doing it to try to please God. You will never please God through disobedience. When you try to justify sin by using scripture to do so, you are doing the same thing the devil does. When Jesus was in the wilderness the devil came to tempt Him to sin. During one of the temptations he tried to use scripture to do it. "And he saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.'" (Matthew 4:6) Was this scripture the truth? Didn't God give His angels charge over Jesus to protect Him? The problem is, if you get a scripture and take it out of context and twist it around to justify your actions, it ceases to be the truth. This is the lie the devil has gotten so many to believe- if it's in the scriptures, and you are doing what the scriptures say to do, then how can it be wrong. This is false reasoning and if you believe it you have believed a lie, and the devil has you just where he wants you. That's what he was hoping to do by quoting the scripture to Jesus- get Him right where he wanted Him. If the devil can get you where he wants you, he will destroy you. But the only way he can do that is by having you believe his lies. Sadly, we see this happen too often in our society. How many abortion clinics have been bombed in the name of God? How many lives have been killed because someone thought they were obeying the Word of God to put an end to this evil. I want to go on record as saying that abortion is wrong- it's sin- it's murder of unborn babies- and God will judge our nation severally for it one day. But it is equally as wrong for us to kill those who are doing it. Those who have done so have tried to justify it by saying that the Bible says, "'Thou shalt not kill.' So, if I stop you from killing unborn babies by killing you, I haven't committed murder, I have saved lives." How false is that reasoning?! This is why the Lord told us in His word to "rightly divide the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15b) "Know what His word says and means." (Living Bible) Rightly divide it; know what it means; don't take it out of context; compare scripture with scripture. Don't just pull one scripture out and make it mean what you want it to. While we are on this subject, there is another scripture that says, "'Vengeance is mine: I will repay', saith the Lord." (Romans 12:19b) Jesus rightly divided the word in the wilderness, this is why He didn't get caught by the devil. Jesus' answer to verse six- satan's quoting of scripture- was, "Jesus said unto him, 'It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."" (Matthew 4:7)
As we have already said, the devil is out to destroy you. He will do this by trying to get you to believe the lie that your actions are not your fault therefore you can't be held responsible for them. Don't believe it, it's not the truth. You won't get caught in his trap if you will apply the two things we have talked about this month to your life- 1) take responsibility for your own actions- stop justifying them because God will hold you personally accountable; 2) rightly divide the Word of God- don't add to it, take away from it, or twist it to mean anything other than what God said. If you do these two things, you'll avoid the trap of destruction that the enemy has laid for you.