Saturday, May 19, 2007

Will God bless people who out of ignorance violate His commands?

After I had posted my post warning people of the Global Day of Prayer (GDOP), and talked with some of my friends to warn them about it, one carnard which some of them tried to put up in defense of people who go for the event is that God will bless the prayers of the people who go, especially since they do it in ignorance. In this post, I will look into this excuse and analyze it according to the Scripture.

Now, I would assume here the rightness and necessity of the Doctrine of Seperation, and that seperating from the GDOP is a proper application of this doctrine, of which I will talk about later. If such is the case, then first of all, those people whom I have warned about this event are commanded by the Lord NOT to go for this event, of which going for them would be a violation of God's command. Furthermore, since they are warned against it, the have no excuse for their disobedience against God and in fact would be held accountable and punished more for their disobedience, no blessed. As it is written,

And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. (Lk. 12:47-48)

So the question that now arises is only applicable to those who are truly ignorant of the rank compromise in the GDOP event, NOT those who have been warned or those in the committees involved in the event (since they have been warned before by me anyway), which woud be most of the rank and file Christian 'laity' in the neo-Evangelical not-yet-post-evangelical churches. To this, let us remember the verses we had just looked at earlier, Lk. 12:48a.

But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating.

From that, we can see that ignorance DOES not mean that God will bless the people who attend the event. In fact, God punishes people based on their actions more than their motives. Between actions and motives, wrong actions deserve punishment even if supplemented with good motives. According to this passage, therefore, motives at the most serve a mitigaing factor in delivering you to a lesser punishment than if you do know but still disobey. Those people who do attend the GDOP are therefore all being disobedient to God and do not deserve God's blessing but his punishment for taking part in this compromise event, regardless of whether they know it or no. And God is not unfair in this, because believers are already called to examine everything according to the Scripture (Acts 17:11; 1 Thess. 5:21; 1 Jn. 4:1), and thus their ignorance shows a contempt for Scripture and heeding the biblical call to discern. Their pastors and leaders are of course held even more responsible for such an attitude in their congregants, because they have failed to fulfil their responsibilities as under-shepherds in shepherding and teaching and protecting their flock (Acts 20:28-32; 1 Tim. 6:2ff; 2 Tim. 2:14-15, 4:1-5; Titus 1:9, 11, 13; Titus 2:1).

Now, we would come to the issue whether God will hear their prayers. Yes, God will punish them, and yet, will He still in His mercy forgive their ignorance and still bless them? After all, it is 'all for the "global glory of God"'. As far as the ordinary Christian is concerned, he/she is doing it for Christ. To this, we look at the Scriptures and pose a question: Where in Scripture is it stated that God will bless and answer the prayers of the disobedient? Looking at 2 Chron. 7:14, the favorite text for intecessors, the verse reads that

If my people who are called by My Name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land. (2 Chron. 7:14)

The four conditions stated for God to hear our prayers is that we are to (1) humble ourselves, (2) pray, (3) seek His face, and (4) turn from their wicked ways. Now, the people going to the GDOP in ignorance ideally fulfil conditions 1,2 and 3. However, as what they are doing is a violation of Scripture, they violate condition 4, as the event itself is wicked. Therefore, are we to believe that God will violate His own Word and answer the prayers offered at this event?

Now, note that I did not say that God will not answered all prayers offered at this event, since some of the prayers may be those which are offered up in their personal prayer times too. However, all prayers for so called 'unity', 'peace' and for the expansion of the "global glory of God" would be despised by God and therefore NOT answered.

And speaking of intercession, check out this passage found in Ez. 14: 12-20

And the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it and break its supply of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast, even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness, declares the Lord God.

“If I cause wild beasts to pass through the land, and they ravage it, and it be made desolate, so that no one may pass through because of the beasts, even if these three men were in it, as I live, declares the Lord God, they would deliver neither sons nor daughters. They alone would be delivered, but the land would be desolate.

“Or if I bring a sword upon that land and say, Let a sword pass through the land, and I cut off from it man and beast, though these three men were in it, as I live, declares the Lord God, they would deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they alone would be delivered.

“Or if I send a pestilence into that land and pour out my wrath upon it with blood, to cut off from it man and beast, even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, declares the Lord God, they would deliver neither son nor daughter. They would deliver but their own lives by their righteousness. (Ez. 14: 12-20)

Noah, Daniel and Job are well known for their righteousness. Furthermore, they were also known for their prayerfulness (at least for Daniel and Job). In this passage, God is pronouncing judgment on faithless Israel in the immediate context and stressing that even the intercession of righteous people would not save her. Translated into our context, the prayers of righteous people, even though they are said to be effective (Jas. 5:16b), do not avail much for the wicked whom God has destined for destruction. And therefore, while intercession is beneficial and even commanded, we must always keep in mind that ultimately whether God answers prayers DOES not depend on us or anyone else, but solely on His good pleasure.

This realization ought to temper our inordinate so-called 'passion' for prayer, and tell us that prayer alone does not mean that God must bless us, and therefore just because the GDOP is on prayer does not mean that it is a good thing. Prayer is only as effective as the God who is pleased with it wills it to be! Prayer alone sans the approval of God, in fact in violation of His commands, is an abomination and detestable before the Lord God of Hosts. And He will not bless it nor the people involved in it.

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