Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 25, 1964

Be Not Unwise

Arthur Cox

The apostle Paul writing to the church at Ephesus, and cautioning them of the hazards awaiting those who walk as fools said, "Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is." (Ephesians 5:17). Then specifying that which is able to make one wise, this same man of inspiration said to Timothy, "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 3:15).

We encounter much foolish teaching; doctrines that have no higher authority than that of men. "In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matthew 15:9). One such foolish doctrine is the misapplication of Galatians 6:10 by many of our brethren. The passage reads like this: "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them of the household of faith."

In their wild fervor to find justification for a number of unscriptural arrangements, such as centralized orphan's homes; wherein one church solicits funds from many churches, and proposes to do work belonging to other churches: our zealous but misguided brethren have pounced upon Galatians 6:10, believing that the exhortation "Do good unto all men" is authority per se, for any work which they deem to be good; regardless of the absence of direct command, approved example, or necessary inference. But to this I say most emphatically, That old horse won't ride. And I now submit proof.

Many brethren with wisdom and foresight, have pointed out that Galatians 6:10 is incumbent upon individual Christians, and is not authority for the church to take money from its treasury to do anything. This is correct. However, even if it were authority for church action, the phrase, "Do good unto all men," does not authorize a single thing that one cannot produce a "Thus saith the Lord" for elsewhere. It is exhortation to do only those things which the scriptures plainly teach us to do. Proof?

It is a good work to teach the word of God to lost souls? Do we know that it is so by Galatians 6:10, or by other scriptures? Do we know that it is good in the sight of God to relieve needy saints, by Galatians 6:10, or by other scriptures? Conversely, Cain offered a sacrifice which he deemed good: but God had made known what He counted good, therefore the sacrifice that seemed good to Cain was rejected. Nadab and Abihu offered fire which seemed good to them, but it was rejected of God. and He burned them with fire for their presumptuousness.

God has often employed the word "good" in exhorting men to do His will; but has never left men to set up their own standard as to what is good. The words of Micah, the prophet, should be stamped indelibly upon the heart of every man; for he said, "He hath shewed thee, 0 man, what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." (Micah 6:8). How did the Lord show Israel what was good? Obviously by giving them the law to teach them what was just in His sight: and to teach them to be merciful: and by spelling out the many commandments by which they could walk humbly with Him.

The Lord has also showed us what is good, in this dispensation under the New Testament. Read the words of the apostle Paul, written to Timothy, saying, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Tell me, brother or sister in Christ; what work does Galatians 6:10 authorize, that has no scriptural foundation elsewhere in the New Testament. The truth of the matter is, God, by medium of the scriptures has made known (He hath shewed thee, 0 man, what is good) what the church has authority to spend money from its treasury for: and He has also shown what the individual Christian is commanded to do; and if we follow the scriptures, we are then thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Galatians 6:10 only authorizes the doing of works which God has shown to be good in scriptures elsewhere.

Some may say, we can scripturally use the Lord's money to build and maintain centralized orphan's homes, because of God's law of love. But I have read that we are to "Keep yourselves in the love of God," (Jude 21;) and, "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous." (I John 5:3). Thus we conclude that God's law of love is that we keep His commandments. This forbids our transgressing the doctrine of Christ. (2 John 9).

Any religious practice for which there is not a "Thus saith the Lord" is condemned and the above cited scriptures should convince any lover of truth that all who employ Galatians 6:10, in an effort to justify any modern day fad, rest under the condemnation of God. However, I am too old to believe that all who read these lines will cease their foolish practices; and stop perverting Galatians 6:10. Therefore to those who will continue to pervert the gospel, I say in the words of Jude 9, "The Lord rebuke thee."

— Skellytown, Texas