A popular idea today maintains certain goals or “ends” are so good and noble that the methods used to reach them, even sinful ones, are justified. Actually, this concept is not new. Paul wrote “And why not say, “Let us do evil that good may come?” – As we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just (Rom. 3:8). God’s Word exposes this deception, not only in this passage, but throughout the scriptures.
Moses’ Law clearly stated that only priests (from the tribe of Levi) could offer sacrifices to God. Every Israelite knew serious punishment awaited anyone, other than the priests, who offered sacrifice on God’s altar. The Lord once told King Saul, a Benjamite, to wait a week before engaging their enemy, the Philistines, in battle. Samuel, the prophet, would offer the sacrifice that week. He delayed in coming and the Philistine forces grew so large Saul panicked and personally offered the sacrifice. Samuel immediately appeared on the scene and asked Saul, “What have you done?” Saul knew he had sinned. Rather than confess his fault he focused on “why” he sinned. The king expressed his fear the enemy would attack before he implored The Lord’s help. “Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering” (I Sam. 13:12). Samuel said Saul acted foolishly and because of this sin he and his family lost their right to rule over Israel (I Sam. 13:13-14). Though it seemed appropriate to sacrifice to save the people God denounced Saul’s flagrant sin.
This philosophy spawns several bad consequences. Some superficially good things may not prove to be as good as first thought. When Jesus reproved the multitudes for following Him for fleshly reasons the disciples appeared perplexed (Jn. 6:26-71). On another occasion, Jesus exposed a wrong priority in a rich man who sorrowfully left our Lord (Matt. 19:16-22). The disciples thought Jesus should appeal to the crowds through carnal means and perhaps bend the truth slightly to draw the wealthy. This seemed best to them. However later they observed the rich and powerful persuade the masses to condemn Jesus to death. They proved to be His enemy rather than His ally.
The harm caused by dubious methods may outweigh the good accomplished. The insecticide DDT worked marvelously in controlling insects. Great! However, eventually dangerous health fallout on human beings became known. The human deformities this insecticide caused far outweighed any benefit in fighting bugs. Many laud the good accomplished by certain sins. Gambling receives credit for money for better roads, lower taxes, better schools, etc. Upon further investigation Gambling cost more than it produces: broken homes, bankruptcy, mental health problems, etc.
Finally, this philosophy supports a lie. God’s Word clearly defines right and wrong (good and evil) (Jn. 17:17). Regardless of the circumstances (as one preacher used to say), “It’s always right to do right and it’s always wrong to do wrong.”