From the Preacher’s Pen…
I guess we’ve all noticed that there are some games we like to play and others that really don’t interest us. One of those games that many play and enjoy is the “game” of perverting God’s word.
Recently in a conversation, I was told that God will save even those that are disobedient to His will, so we have nothing to worry about. I quickly checked my Bible to see if God had perhaps changed His will. But, no, 2 Thessalonians 1:8 (and a host of other similar scriptures!) was still there. When Jesus comes again He will come taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So how is it that people can twist and pervert God’s word like that? Let’s consider the subject of…
Playing Legal Games with God
Back in 2012 an 81-year-old woman with a sore jaw died just weeks after a hospital in Detroit mistakenly performed brain surgery on her. A jury awarded her family $20 million. But appeals courts and the state Supreme Court reversed the decision claiming that it was simple medical malpractice and not negligence. Yet the hospital had admitted that the surgery was an error of negligence!
What was shocking to nearly everyone involved in this case is that, in an amazing display of legal gamesmanship, the courts reversed the actual evidence and facts. What the judges did allowed a crime to be committed and the criminals to be declared innocent with no hope of any future justice in the case.
As appalling as this case is, it has become relatively commonplace in the American legal system. Right and wrong are no longer decided by facts and laws but by who can play the best game.
Again, as appalling as all this is in the world, it is also a favorite game for people to play with God, His word, and His laws. For, you see, in spite of all the nonsense we attempt to use to cover the facts, God has clearly defined right and wrong and people have felt free to play legal games!
Solomon faced the problem in his day and declared, He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 17:15).
Many years later this same legal game was being played in Isaiah’s time and caused God to comment: Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:20-21) Do we disobey God, commit some sin, then either declare that it’s okay or imagine that God has to forgive us so we are free to do wrong? Even under the Old Law God recognized and forbade His people from playing legal games. The word He often used for this sin of playing legal games with sin is presumptuousness.
Many translations use this same English word but some translate it as
Do you see God’s word pictures of His view of our legal games?
Consider some specific examples: The man who acts presumptuously by not listening to the priest who stands there to serve the Lord your God, nor to the judge, that man shall die; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. Then all the people will hear and be afraid, and will not act presumptuously again. (Deuteronomy 17:12-13) Paul would echo this command to Timothy in dealing with elders (or any other Christian by implication) who sin like this (read 1 Timothy 5:19-20).
The term false teachers (or prophets) is used for those teaching or advocating playing legal games with God, and they deserve the same treatment by those faithful to God: But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die (Deuteronomy 18:20). Again the New Testament echoes this lesson (cf. 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 4:1-5; 2 Peter 3:14-18; 1 John 4:1-6, etc.)
David, even as he wrote of his praise to God, would also remember to ask, Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I will be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression (Psalm 19:13).
We as Christians face a world that loves to play legal games, even with God’s own words and commands.
- You will be told that God doesn’t care how you worship and serve Him.
- You will be told that all you have to do to be saved is pray a “sinners prayer” that’s never found in the Bible.
- You will be told that God has nothing against homosexual behavior or that sex outside of marriage is okay.
- You will be told a million things by those playing legal games with God.
And they will all still be lies that will cost you your soul if you believe them for God still says that the soul that sins will die (cf. Ezekiel 18:20).
So how about it? Are you smart enough NOT to play legal games with God? Are you smart enough to actually obey what God says? It is a choice we need to make right now!
— Lester P. Bagley