Is it necessary for us to know and to do the things that are pleasing to God?
- The easy answer to this question is, yes (Matthew 7:13-29, Matthew 12:46-50, Luke 6:46-49, Luke 11:28, John 8:31-32, John 14:15-24, Romans 12:1-3, II Corinthians 5:14-15, Ephesians 2:13, Colossians 1:10, Colossians 3:16-25, I Thessalonians 4:1-3, Hebrews 11:6, Hebrews 13:21, James 1:21-27, James 4:17, I Peter 4:1-2, I John 2:3-6, I John 5:2-3, Revelation 22:14-19, etc.).
- Mankind was created for the pleasure of God (Revelation 4:11).
- We have every bit of information we need to know what is pleasing to God (II Timothy 3:14-17).
- To accomplish the task of pleasing God, personal desires; thoughts; traditions; conformities; prejudices have to be set aside (Proverbs 16:25, Proverbs 21:2, Isaiah 55:6-9, Matthew 15:1-14, Luke 18:9-14, Romans 10:1-3, Colossians 2:4-23, Philippians 3:9, etc.).
- Remembering that even if something is “lawful”, that does not always mean we can do it (I Corinthians 10:23-33). Even besides that point, many debates and divisions have occurred over how to carry out something before the question of it being lawful was even answered (i.e. orphan homes, pitch pipes, “christian colleges”, preaching schools, etc.).
- Before we proceed, consider how knowing and doing is not enough if the relationship; the love for God is not genuinely there (I Corinthians 13:1-13, I Corinthians 16:14, Ephesians 6:24, and Revelation 2:1-7). We cannot just go through the motions.
The application of that easy answer is not as easy as the obvious answer.
Pleasing God requires that we handle the word of God correctly as not to twist it to our own/others destruction (Matthew 22:23-33, I Timothy 1:3-11, II Timothy 2:14-18, and II Peter 3:15-18).
- Take Acts 6:1-7 for example. What is different then, from now? Is there only one known congregation on earth as there was at this time? Is there any situation like then. That situation was that Jews from every nation under heaven come to that city (Acts 2:5), obeyed the Gospel (Acts 2:36-41), and left everything that they had to live in that city [Jerusalem] becoming financially dependent on the faithful of that city (Acts 2:42-47 and Acts 4:32-5:11)? Paul was not yet a Christian (Acts 9:1-20). Timothy had not yet become a follower of Paul (Acts 16:1-3). Therefore, how to care for widows within the body of Christ had not yet been instructed (I Timothy 5:3-16). The Holy Spirit, at that time, was eventually given to every Christian and the Holy Spirit then granted them miraculous gifts (Acts 5:30-32 and I Corinthians 12:3-11). On two occasions there was H.S. baptism (Acts 1:1-8; Acts 2:1-4, and Acts 10:1-11:18). After those days H.S. baptism had ceased (Ephesians 4:5; cf. I Peter 3:20-21). The other method, after Acts 2, wherein God gave the Spirit to men was through the laying on of Apostle’s hands (Acts 8:5-24 and Acts 19:1-7). Paul was the last Apostle (I Corinthians 15:1-8; cf. Acts 1:12-26). Therefore, the Holy Spirit is not working through anyone today. So, we cannot find seven men “full of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 6:5). What that meant was clearly miraculous (Acts 6:8; cf. Acts 8:5-6 and Mark 16:15-20). This is a situation that will never be replicated again. There are always principles to learn as all Scriptures are profitable (II Timothy 3:15-17). However, this text is not authoritative for direct replication today.
- Take the subject matter of MODESTY - There are guidelines we can find, for example in reading about the garments of a priest wherein certain language is used about nakedness (Exodus 28:42)? However, the subject matter of modesty is much broader than that. Someone can be fully attired and yet immodest (I Timothy 2:9-10 and I Peter 3:1-4). That can couple with one’s conduct (Matthew 23:1-12). When it comes to viewing other people’s apparel, questions about temptation arise (Matthew 26:41). When thinking about how we dress, shouldn’t we consider the impact of our clothing choices on the desires of others (Romans 14:13)? What about appearances that clearly confuses genders (Deuteronomy 22:5 and I Corinthians 11:14-15)? Shouldn’t one adjust one’s thinking in how he or she dresses (maybe even those “fully clothed” but in skin tight apparel)? Then there are other principles to consider about our bodies. How does Romans 12:1-2 and I Corinthians 6:19-20 affect thinking on this subject? Is nudity wrong when you’re alone? Clearly not. Why not? - No one is effected by your nudity. We all know that. What about among the innocent (Genesis 2:25)? When did Adam and Eve realize they were naked (Genesis 3:1-11; 3:21 notice verse 11)? Is it always wrong for a man to see a naked woman he is not married to (Hebrews 13:4)? What about a Eunuch who can do nothing sinful concerning what he sees? Is this subject matter sometimes subjective? It sure is (ex. John 21:1-8)! What about clothing that fully covers, but sends a message contrary to one’s faithfulness in Christ by slogans, “gangster images”, popular culture inferring certain things, etc.; in light of living above reproach (I Peter 2:5-4:19)? Does “messaging” matter (Titus 2:6-8)? Why does one want to “look rich” and what could that do even amongst so-called brethren (James 2:1-4)? Do we not have “common sense”? When you look at a woman, for one example, and she looks like a whore; what can you learn from that (Proverbs 7:10; read the context too)? How many of us would declare changing a diaper on an infant sinful because you see someone naked? Let’s go back to Genesis 3:11 in thought and consider Titus 1:15. What makes nudity wrong is more about us than nudity in itself. Consider tribes wherein women walk around topless. Breasts to them are not what they are in our western culture or even Israel in the days of Solomon (Proverbs 5:18-20). Doesn’t culture therefore have an impact on what is tempting to us? With that, think about how “no shoes, no shirt, no service” impacts us Scripturally here in this country in principle (I Corinthians 9:19-27). That same thing would apply if we visit a Muslim country wherein women would be expected to cover their heads and walk behind the man. It would be immodest not to do so. So, what might be wrong for us may not be so in other areas of the world wherein their education of certain body parts differs from our own or their culture differs. Therefore, like all subject matters, this too may often come down to individual, honest application. For us being modest, don’t stand out and don’t attire yourself in a way that would knowingly tempt others. Be reasonable!
- Some Scriptures make what, on the surface, seem to be very clear points. God is a spirit, right (John 4:24)? Wait, isn’t Jesus God and didn’t He come in the flesh (Romans 9:1-5)? The fact is, Jesus was talking specifically about His Father whom is to be worshipped (John 4:21-24). He was not teaching against He Himself being deity.
- Some statements seem very clear cut, but the application is not always so cut and dry. For example, “if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10). However, what happens to that statement when you consider I Corinthians 10:23-33 and Ephesians 5:21-25? Thus, shouldn’t we consider the contextual point of Galatians 1:10 [Galatians 1:1-12]? Can we obey man over, above God? No, (Acts 5:12-42)! Are there times wherein God wants us to please men? Yes, (Romans 15:1-3, I Corinthians 7:33-34, Galatians 5:13, and Titus 2:9).