Friday, March 18, 2011

Legitimate Needs and Illegitimate Means

“…to add drunkenness to thirst.” (Deut. 29:19)

As this excerpt from the verse in Deuteronomy suggests, it is possible to satisfy legitimate needs by illegitimate means. A drink of whiskey might keep you from dying of thirst, but to claim thirst as an excuse for the sin of drunkenness is illogical and hypocritical. Alcoholics and gluttons do not overindulge because they are thirsty or starving; they do it because they have chosen to periodically defy Biblical directives. But this is true of other needs and other means.

Sexual desire, like hunger and thirst, is God-given. And God has made provision for the satisfaction of all three. He has provided both meat and plants to assuage our hunger and oceans of water to satisfy our thirst. And, in the same way, He instituted the covenant and bond of marriage, for both procreation and pleasure. But when this real, physical need is satisfied by illicit means (even in the name of “love”), again, it’s adding “drunkenness to thirst.” Fornication and adultery are not legitimate ways to allay the desire for physical intimacy. They are merely manifestations of “inordinate affection” (Col.3:5) and moral inadequacy.

Not only that, using unscrupulous means to make money is a brazen mockery of the Bible’s instruction to provide for ourselves (2Thess.3:10,12) and to prosper, to the best of our ability (3Jno.1:2). Get rich quick schemes that prey on unsuspecting, less clever people; on the job pilfering; unfair or intimidating union practices; and unfulfilled agreements are just a few of the ways an individual can use illegitimate means to satisfy a legitimate need. In this case, a way to acquire enough money to provide for oneself.

I could go on, but I think I have argued sufficiently for my premise. No one can deny these legitimate needs: food and drink, intimate contact (either physical or emotional, in the case of a single), and money. Yet, all three of these forfeit their legitimacy when they are satisfied in illegitimate ways. Drunkenness, gluttony, fornication, and thievery are all affronts to the God who has promised to supply our needs.

“It’s never right to do wrong to get a chance to do right.” Dr. Bob Jones, Sr.

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