Is it ever right to steal, lie, or cheat? What if these things were necessary to advance the Gospel message?

Is It Ever Right To Steal, Lie Or Cheat? What If These Things Were Necessary To Advance The Gospel Message?

Acts 5:29

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

Obeying God No Matter What

I don’t think there is ever any reason to lie, steal, or cheat to advance the Gospel message. Peter and the apostles were disobeying those who were in authority (Acts 5:29), but the higher authority is God, and when man’s laws and God’s laws conflict with one another, we must obey God over men and women. God will not ever place us in a situation where we have to cheat, lie, or steal in order to advance His kingdom because God alone is the One Who saves (Eph. 2:8-9).

Who Is Right?

Peter and John once asked which is better: to listen to those who are in authority or to God (Acts 4:19)? Peter told them, “You be the judges!” They had warned them to not ever speak about Jesus again or teach His teachings, but they could not obey the Sanhedrin while disobeying God (Acts 4:17-18). They had no choice because Jesus commanded them to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). So to them it was clear that their loyalty and obedience lay with God and not mankind, even if it was the Jewish courts they were disobeying. God is the One Who adds to the church anyway (Acts 2:47), so He surely doesn’t need us to lie, steal, or cheat to reach the lost.

What Seems Right to Us

Saul was a good example, or really a bad example, of doing what he thought was right but ended up disobeying God in the process (1 Sam. 15:9). We might think that what we’re doing is right, even for God, but there is a way we think that is contrary to the way that God thinks, and the way mankind thinks only leads to death (Prov. 14:12, 16:25). Jesus said that some would believe that by killing Christians, they would be doing God a service, but we surely know that would not be right (John 16:12). We must always speak the truth to our neighbor (Eph. 4:25) and do it in love (Eph. 4:15) because we have been taught to always tell the truth by Christ Himself (Eph. 4:21). Is it right to ever steal, lie, or cheat if it advances the Gospel message? If it is, I couldn’t find an example of this in Scripture. Therefore, I would say no, it’s never right to cheat, lie, or steal in order to advance the Gospel. Besides, God would never condone sin, and He surely doesn’t need us to make sinful choices to advance the kingdom of God.

A Closing Prayer

Great God, You are righteous, and I know You want me to always speak the truth, even in the hard places in life in which I find myself. Thank You for Your truth; Your Son is truth. Let me always depend on obedience to You and leave the consequences up to You, and in Jesus’ name I pray.


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