“If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.”

– John 11:48-50

Self preservation always gets in the way of doing the right act. The classic example is Caiaphas, who schemed to kill our Lord and Savior in order to preserve his ideal lifestyle. Now to be perfectly clear, the following verses reminds us that God was, is, and will be always in control of events: “He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad” (John 11:51-52).

In today’s society, we are constantly bombarded with arguments that justify the actions of those around us. In popular movies, novels, and even in the nightly news we hear that the ends justify the means. While this mentality can often make a good story, is it ever correct? In his book Just War as Christian Discipleship, Daniel M. Bell Jr. states this matter best,

Only modern Christians have dared to argue that it is right to do an evil, even only a lesser evil, for the sake of a good result. While this kind of consequentialist thinking–that the ends justify the mean, especially when the end is a greater good–may be rather commonplace today, especially in our political and economic life, it is alien to the majority of the Christian tradition. Indeed, it is the logic of those who crucified Christ (John 11:49; 18:14) and a logic that St. Paul spares no words in denouncing when he says of those who endorse evils for the sake of good, “Their condemnation is deserved!” (Rom. 3:8).

-Daniel M. Bell Jr., Just War as Christian Discipleship, pp. 34-35.

In a world that is getting ever more relativistic, Christians must stand firm against such arguments. The ends never justify the means, there is God’s way and all other ways. God never distinguishes between greater and lesser evils; sin is sin, there is always an absolute line between God’s way and sin (all other ways). We are called to stand firm and do what is right.

I will leave you with this fabulous quote by Tim Challies, “God does not draw a necessary correlation between God-glorifying means and God-glorifying results; God does not necessarily place his stamp of approval on our actions when he uses them in a positive way. We do not absolve ourselves of responsibility if, in his providence, God uses our unwise or sinful actions to bring about positive results” (Sinful Means to a Glorious End).

Advertisements