Dear Church Family,

Does the end justify the means? It can. I think we all would agree that the end of spreading the Gospel justifies the means of illegally entering a closed country. On the other hand, entering that same country illegally, in order to spread your business, would not be justifiable.

But does a good end always justify the means? Not always. Producing results outside of God’s ordained means may seem effective temporarily, but it will eventually incur God’s judgment. This is true no matter how good the end itself is. Neither divine provision, knowing the future, or performing miracles justifies transgressing God’s Word. You might not think those ends are possible for those who disobey the Lord, but they are.

In Numbers 20:2-13, the Israelites quarreled with Moses because they were without water. When Moses sought the Lord, he was told to speak to a certain rock and God would provide water for everyone. But instead of speaking to the rock, Moses struck the rock twice. Nevertheless, enough water gushed out for all of them. Since the people still got their water, no harm, no foul right? Wrong. This lack of trust in God’s Word cost Moses his life.

In 1 Samuel 28:3-25, the Israelites were on the eve of battle with the Philistines after the last judge, Samuel, had died while Saul was king. When Saul saw the opposing army, he was so afraid that he trembled violently. He inquired of the Lord to know His will and favor to no avail. According to the Law of God, Saul had removed all of the mediums out the land because they were an abomination to the Lord. But without an answer from Him, Saul found one to discover the future from Samuel. Saul learned the future alright, but his disobedience to the Word of God cost Saul his life.

In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus teaches, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” These professing disciples of Christ had accomplished many good works, but they did not proceed from a heart of faith in Jesus, and it cost them their lives.

The ends we pursue as Christians must be reached solely through the means God desires. We must never sacrifice biblical theology for the sake of pragmatics. Results by themselves can be misleading, but God knows the full story and He will reward those who serve Him faithfully in the ways in which He has commanded. Insofar as we are governed by the Word of God in everything we do, we will be able to join with the apostle Paul when he says, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:22-23). Let’s pursue the ends God commands through the means He has ordained to the praise of His glory.