by Dario Martini
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Acts 13: 2
The end justifies the means ?
“The end justifies the means” is a famous quote wrongly attributed to Niccolo Machiavelli, which means that any initiative is valid when the goal is to win something important.
Despite not having uttered the phrase itself, some people have made this interpretation based on his work Prince, where Machiavelli indicates that to maintain power the Prince must develop characteristics considered “unethical” such as cruelty and hypocrisy. This phrase is commonly associated with Italian author thanks to this excerpt from Chapter XVIII of his work Prince:
” Many people criticized Machiavelli indicating that he advocated the arrogance and abuse of power. However, some authors have described the book as a satirical work that depicts the cynicism of a nation ruled by one person.
When a person says that the end justifies the means, it means that she or he is willing to do anything to get something they want to achieve.
Initially this phrase was used more in political context, but then was transposed into other areas of life, where people believe that everything is permitted when you want to do something important. Many of the things that are made by these people are considered as deserving condemnation within the ethical and moral. The famous English writer Aldous Huxley said that the end cannot justify the means, because the means used determine the nature of the order that is achieved.
So the ends do not justify the means but the nature of its beginning yes, since a good start in an indicator of the quality of goals achieved. We have all heard the expression; What starts wrong ends wrong, but I prefer “When something goes wrong, ending is the right thing to do.”
For the Work of God has an expected completion, launched correctly, not by human inspiration but by the Holy Spirit.
When we do not consider this fundamental principle, we may end up involved in a Machiavellian, works of , whose principles and acts are inspired by Machiavelli, and not by the Holy Spirit.
How often the carnal prevail over the spiritual !
How often we bump with the wars for power in organizatioins and how often the carnal prevail over the spiritual. What is the reason, but these works are without commitment to the word of God. Machiavelli reigns there and not the Holy Spirit, there reigns the human will and not God. The flesh and not the Spirit.
How many people are injured and how many sincere efforts are wasted because we do not commit to the scriptures, but the structures, rejecting the guidance of the Holy Spirit and we ended up performing the work with our own imaginations and not after But God rejects what is not the work of the Holy Spirit, He does not accept the works of the flesh, for He will judge all that is of human inspiration.
Jesus used strong language to condemn these human traditions.
During His time on earth, Jesus challenged human traditions. On several occasions, the religious leaders questioned and even rejected his teachings. In reading the records of the gospel (the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), we find frequent discussions between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees. The Pharisees were known as a strict sect, but the Lord showed them to be guarding human traditions above the word of God.
Matthew 15 reports of these discussions. The Pharisees and scribes criticized Jesus’s disciples for eating with unwashed hands. The problem was not question of hygiene, not in the law itself, but to follow or not the traditional rules created by the religious. Jesus took this opportunity to directly address the much more important issue behind the criticism made by these leaders: how to deal with human traditions.
Traditions are practices, teachings and customs transmitted to other people, often from one generation to another. The religious of Jesus’ day kept long lists of rules inspired and transmitted by men, not principles that came from the Law revealed by the Lord. Such traditions have become the subject of comments Jesus in their discussions with these leaders.
Jesus cited a specific example: human traditions of offerings to the Lord and responsibilities to parents. He showed that the practices of the Pharisees were contradictory to God’s law, because they used the rules of men to neglect and disregard the word of God. Their traditions have become convenient means of escape from responsibility before the Lord! So Jesus used strong language to condemn these human traditions. Lets consider some expressions of the Lord in this passage:
“Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?” (Matthew 15: 3).
“And thus nullify the word of God because of your tradition” (Matthew 15: 6).
“And in vain they worship me, teaching doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15: 9).
These words were so strong that the religious leaders were offended (Matthew 15:12), but Jesus did not flinch. The words of Christ are demanding and often offensive to listeners. The reaction of listeners shows the attitude of
heart, and identifies the quality of each. Jesus compared these listeners to plants in a farmer’s field, and said that God would make a separation, “Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up” (Matthew 15: 13-14). We must remember this warning when we consider the doctrines and practices in religious institutions founded by men!
Even after reading the challenging words of Christ, many try to justify. One of the most common defense is to claim to be an obedient sheep. Many say: “I know there are wrong practices and doctrines in my church, but I’m just a submissive sheep; the problem is of the leaders are not my fault. ” Jesus accepts this excuse? Leaders are to blame? The Lord answers to these questions showing the importance of each one examine their practices and participation in human traditions. He said, “Let them alone; They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch “(Matthew 15:14). I cannot to think harmless, that leaders will be the ones charged. We must, reject any human tradition that contradicts the word of God, each person, their own responsibility to seek and follow the will of the Lord.
After the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ,” Colossians 2:8. To be after Christ must be a virgin birth and should be conceived by the Holy Spirit. The beginning of something determines its history and the continuing on with it, its progression. In music, the prelude is a musical piece that serves as an introduction to another musical work, The kingdom of God is always the beginning of the Holy Spirit, for He alone has the legitimate right to start work. So we call it the Work of God.
In the book of Acts we find the demonstration of God’s work must be done, being initiated, conducted and completed by the Holy Spirit, leaving only men to submit to his direction. More study carefully the verse 2 of Chapter 13, where we find the expression, “and said the Holy Spirit”, that is, it was the initiative of the work Barnabas and Saul started!
The one who inspires the work will determine its character.