SWM 094 – Anonymous Question: Who is more righteous?
I received a question through our anonymous question page. That said, the question, phrasing, and terms used point to an individual that has been arguing with me for the last year or so in comments on the blog. In large part, the core of my argument with this individual has been that I believe God’s laws are just and timeless, and he believes that the church should amend God’s laws to adjust to a changing society. In particular, he wants to change the “rules” regarding sex outside of marriage as he feels they are unfair.
In the anonymous question, he poses this hypothetical situation and a question:
There are two people. The first person participates in the modern Sexual Marketplace by dating around, having a series of mid-to-long-term relationships that involve sex, and having a few hookups, but ends up in a stable marriage and has children by his mid-to-late twenties. The second person follows Biblical Courtship (or whatever you want to call it), saves sex for marriage, only courts/dates Christians, but never finds a spouse and ends up as a 40-year-old childless virgin.
Who was the more righteous of the two?
Reading it reminds me of Matthew 22. There are three stories in that chapter in which people try to trap Jesus by asking questions. This individual appears to be attempting to do the same here. Some of my supporters would tell me to delete a question like this as it’s clearly from a troll, but Jesus answered trolls. So I will too.
As such, I will take this opportunity to teach others as Jesus did because, like the groups trying to trap Jesus, I doubt there is any desire from the questioner to learn from my answer, only to attack. I’m also afraid that, like Jesus’ responses to his attackers, this might get a bit embarrassing for him, and like the attackers of Jesus, he’ll likely cover it up with anger and indignation.
So, who was the more righteous of the two? Well, let’s see what the Bible says about righteousness.
And he (Abram/Abraham) believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.Genesis 15:6
Romans 4:3, 16, Galatians 3:6 and James 2:23 affirm this “righteousness through faith” of Abrahams.
For in it is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.Romans 1:17
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.Galatians 3:11
I could go on because there are lots of verses, but I think this passage says it best:
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.Romans 3:21-26
Who is righteous? The one who has faith in Jesus. So, which of these two men in your hypothetical story has faith in Jesus? Well, I’d argue the second one. The first one ignored God’s laws and precepts and did whatever he wanted. The second had faith that God is good, and even if it doesn’t produce earthly gains, we are waging a more significant battle.
Of course, we can’t know for sure. Perhaps the first had a conversion later or got more serious about his faith, as some do when they start to have children. Or maybe he had no faith, as there’s no mention of his beliefs, but I’m assuming the question implies they’re both Christians.
The second one only dated Christian women and followed Biblical Courtship (I don’t have a better term either). This would indicate that he at least had some mind to follow God. The fact that he turned his back on the world and stuck to his principles even when it was hard.
Because as much as righteousness is by faith, that faith produces certain behaviours in people. If you genuinely believe that God is God, that His son died for your sins, then that will create a desire to follow His commandments. So, in that way, actions can be righteous, but it’s not the action that produces righteousness, but rather righteousness that produces actions.
So, I think your original question is flawed because you put the works at the centre rather than Jesus and God. Romans 8 may explain why.
Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh; but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. The mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind of the flesh is hostile to God: It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the flesh cannot please God.Romans 8:5-8
I would submit that this is what your question looks like, as well as all your comments on the blog. You don’t want to submit to God’s law because you’re focused on the things of the flesh. This lust to have sex so blinds you that you’ve determined the church needs to update God’s law. You believe God forgot to account for today’s “Sexual Marketplace.” You think you’re smarter than Him because you have ideas where you believe He failed to deliver.
But your focus is on the wrong thing. I don’t believe God intended His law to keep up with society. It’s intended to show us how far we are from perfection. The further and further society drifts from God’s law, the better it shows us that we need a Savior to return and end this sinful experience.
It is a test to see which you’d prefer – to live according to man’s or God’s desires. You’ve embraced the deception so much that you’re now actively engaged in a campaign to not only deceive others but to get them to deceive all Christianity.
The sad thing is, you’ll probably win in the end. The vast majority of Christianity will accept deception, one way or another. In Revelation, we see the church corrupted and turned into Babylon, and the angels calling the believers out from her (Revelation 18:4).
So, yes, the church will drift further and further from teaching the truth and into apostasy. We have seen it happening and will continue to see it.
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.2 Timothy 4:3-4
So, who is more righteous? I’ll leave you with this verse from Revelation:
Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.Revelation 14:12