My wife had a traumatic experience that began with a rude awakening by a rumble strip along the edge of a highway. So now, she considers rumble strips to be evil. If she knows you’re going to cross one to avoid something on the road, she can deal with it, but the reason had better be good. On the other hand, if she’s caught off-guard, she has a sensation that’s 10x the magnitude of the spine-chilling, teeth-gritting screech of fingernails on a chalkboard. I was taught to drive on narrow, curvy roads and to crowd the white line to give others as much room as possible. So, I’ve encroached on many rumble strips and been reminded how much white surrounds my wife’s big beautiful blue irises and how bright that white is.
Recently, I did a good deed for another motorist on I-40 and he waved at me when I passed him. So I waved back and veered slightly to the left toward the rumble strip causing my wife to tersely encourage me to not cross the line while trying to be nice.
I immediately recalled Paul’s statement in Romans 3:3-8 about doing evil that good may result.
In that passage, Paul condemned those claiming to quote him with the statement. This is consistent with Jesus’ response when he was accused of healing by the power of Satan (Matthew 12:22-32). Attributing the righteous activity of the Holy Spirit to the devil is the unpardonable sin. All of the fruit produced by the Spirit in and through us is good and attributing it to an evil source is the ultimate form of theft (Galatians 5:16-25; 1 Timothy 4:4-5). Likewise, in condemning those who accused him of saying that we should do evil to bring about good, Paul was also condemning those who actually believe that the ends, if good, can justify evil means. There are many examples where some minor evil, like speeding, was condoned because it kept one from being late to church, work, or some other appointment that was good.
In Romans 6:1-10, Paul continued his teaching against doing evil that good could result. Apparently, some who had been forgiven of past sins by submitting to baptism in obedience to God’s command thought that since God’s grace was demonstrated in forgiveness, they could continue in willful sin to increase his grace (Acts 2:38-39; 22:16; Romans 6:17-18). Forgiveness and our new life in Christ brings a freedom that we’re not to abuse with continued willful sin (1 Peter 1:14-16; 2:16; Colossians 3:5-10; Hebrews 10:26-27, 31). Being holy in all we do precludes doing any evil that good may result or that grace may abound.
Instead of bringing about any good, doing evil that good may result will bring about a much more severe response from God than a glaring look (Romans 1:18; John 3:36; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10; 1 Peter 3:10-12).
The thought of that sends chills up my spine so shivering that I don’t ever want to cross that line (Hebrews 6:4-6).
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org