Children of God, true disciples of Christ, know what things are black and what things are white. Let us all be determined to walk in the ways of light and turn aside from all darkness. May we always strive to do as Solomon wrote in Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life!”
Many people in the world today will do something, and then afterward, will stop and question whether or not those things that they did were right. But what about Christians? Do Christians do things that are questionable in God’s sight? Sadly, I must say that they do. There are Christians who use various ways of trying to justify their actions, even when they know that it is not completely pure. We need to learn to call things exactly as they are in this life. We need to know what is black and what is white. But before we can do this, we must first understand what sin is.
What is sin? Sin is doing anything that violates God’s law of righteousness. 1 John 5:17 says: “All unrighteousness is sin” and “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). When we transgress or do things that are against God’s law, then we have committed sin. It doesn’t matter what we do, if it is something that is not approved of by God, then it is sin, and all sin is black
Love Not the World
We are told that as Christians, even though we must live in the world, we are not to be of the world. This means that we must not get caught up in the things that unbelievers do just because they are doing it. 1 John 2:15-17 says: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is ofthe world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
Everything that we do that is contrary to Bible teaching falls into one of these three categories. It is either the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life that gets us into trouble. James tells us that friendship with the world is enmity with God (4:4), and that we are to submit our-selves to God, while resisting the devil (4:7). We are also told, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8).
Practice Makes Perfect
Practice makes perfect in everything that we do in this life! If we practice good things, godly things, then we will learn godliness (Phil. 4:9; Heb. 5:14; 2 Pet. 1:10). However, if we practice the things of the flesh, those things that are unrighteous before God, then we will become worldly and Satan will have a grip on our lives (Rom. 1:32; 7:19; Gal. 5:21; 1 John 3:10). Christians should always be practicing those things that are only righteous before God. When we fail to do so and wilfully sin, then there remains no more sacrifice for sins (Heb. 10:26-31). Notice the following chart showing the things that are placed in the black, gray, and white columns. The things in the black and white column, have Scriptures indicated showing us from God’s word that these in fact are black or white.
Now let’s take a moment and look at that “gray” column. These are things that some Christians are involved in, often claiming that there’s no divine guidance, and therefore try to justify that these are acceptable. But are they? Are there really gray areas to Christianity? Jesus said: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Rev. 3:15-16). Everyone needs to understand that everything that we do is either black (wrong) or white (right) in God’s sight. There can be no “gray areas” as far as God is concerned.
The Gray Areas Rightly Divided
Paul told Timothy to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). Let’s take a moment and rightly divide those “gray areas” into black or white. Nowhere do we read in God’s word where instrumental music is authorized, only that we are to “sing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19). Therefore, instrumental music should be placed in the “black” column. In the area of immodesty we are told to prove all things (1 Thess. 5:21), do all in the name of the Lord (Col. 3:17), do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31), live beyond reproach (1 Pet. 3:150, and to wear the proper clothing (1 Tim. 2:9-10). We have now placed immodesty in the “black” column. What about dancing? God’s Word says to prove all things and abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thess. 5:21-22), and that lusting is wrong (Matt. 5:28). Can we control the other person’s thoughts when dancing? Of course not. “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Cor. 15:33). See also 2 Corinthians 7:1, Romans 14:23, and 1 Corinthians 10:31. Again we have rightly divided dancing and placed it into the “black” column. Mixed swimming would also fall under the area of 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 and must be placed in the “black” column. Many Christians are now watching movies that have bad language and sex scenes all through them. Surely we have read God’s word which says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8), and also the words of Paul which tells us what kinds of things to think on (Phil. 4:8). See also Titus 1:15. Movies with bad language and sex scenes are certainly something that Jesus would not approve for his disciples to watch! We have now placed movies with bad language into the “black” column! Is smoking something that God approves of? Would that be a work of the flesh or a fruit of the Spirit? Surely a Christian would know and understand that smoking hurts his influence (Matt. 5:16), is an addiction and enslavement (1 Cor. 6:12; 9:27), is offensive to others (Matt. 7:12), and is harmful to one’s health (1 Cor. 6:19-20)! Do you think this is something Jesus would do? Of course not! We have just placed smoking into the “black” column. Finally we are left with social drinking. Would a Christian consider himself part of that chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a peculiar person (1 Pet. 2:9) while taking another drink of alcohol? Drinking alcohol is not a fruit of the Spirit, it is a work of the flesh. Therefore, the social drinker is sinning (1 Thess. 5:21-22). We have now placed social drinking into the “black” column. We have gone to the word of God in order to “rightly divide” all those things that some Christians would call “gray!” Did you notice where all those “gray” things ended up? Everyone is now in the “black” column. Why is that? It’s because if it is not a fruit of the Spirit, something that is righteous in God’s sight, then it has to be wrong and therefore put where it belongs and that is in that “black” column.
The law of God is made for the lawless, disobedient, ungodly, and for sinners. It is for all those who practice things that are contrary to sound doctrine (1 Tim. 1:9-10). The Bible teaches us that “if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:7-10). The apostle Paul wrote: “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:24-25). Children of God, true disciples of Christ, know what things are black and what things are white. Let us all be deter-mined to walk in the ways of light and turn aside from all darkness. May we always strive to do as Solomon wrote in Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life!”
Guardian of Truth XLI: 5 p. 6-7
March 6, 1997