Ask Your Preacher
Is it a sin against God to drive a car without a driver’s license? I have my learner’s license, but I still drive my car on my own. I am a born-again Christian, and I have given my life to Christ, but I want to know if I am sinning against God.
Behind The Wheel
Dear Behind The Wheel,
God tells us that as Christians, we must obey the laws of the land in which we live. Rom 12:1-2 says that God is the one that puts all governments in place, and we are to be in subjection to those governments. The only exception to that rule would be if the government creates laws that would be immoral to follow (like forced abortions or banning Bibles). In that case, we obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). In your circumstance, if you only have a learner’s license, you should only drive when and how the learner’s license allows.
Hi, I saw your response to the "Guilty As Sin" posting today and found myself wondering: could a Christian plead down the charges to a crime then? Say, if they plead guilty to a lesser charge, or is that lying as well?
We aren’t lawyers, but our understanding is that “pleading down” the charges typically involves admitting to the crimes but asking that the sentencing be reduced due to extenuating circumstances. Asking for leniency is not the same as denying that you committed the crime.
Where in the Bible does God say to protect Israel?
Dear Hebrew Helper,
Christians aren’t told to protect Israel – they may be America’s national ally, but biblically, Christians have no closer ties to Israelis than they do to the rest of mankind. Under the Old Testament, the Jewish people were God’s nation (Deut 7:6). The Jewish nation was warned that if they rejected God’s Son, they would be rejecting God, and God would make a new nation out of those who believed in Christ (Jesus explained this to the Jews in the parable of the vineyard – Lk 20:9-19). The vast majority of Jews didn’t believe in Jesus, and therefore, they never became a part of Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus’ chosen people are those that love Him and keep His commandments (Jhn 14:15). The Jewish people rejected God because they decided to keep their traditions instead of accepting God’s Son (Mk 7:9).
Is it okay for a Christian to file for bankruptcy? Wouldn't that be basically the same thing as lying since you've signed legal documents promising to make payments for the life of the loan? I know of someone who rationalized "letting the bank have the house" even though the house is worth a lot less now. What does the Bible say about this?
Dear Money Management,
Bankruptcy is never “okay”, but there are mixed reviews on whether or not it is a sin. Bankruptcy always involves pain and suffering, and regardless of whether it is a sin, filing for bankruptcy is never an easy road.
Some folks point to verses that talk about keeping your word (Matt 5:37) and being a faithful steward (1 Cor 4:2) as prohibitions against bankruptcy. Probably the strongest condemnation can be found in Ps 37:21. There can be no doubt that God desires us to pay our debts and to hold ourselves accountable for the management of what resources He gives us. However, that isn’t the only side of the story.
What about when the debt is too large to ever repay? The Bible clearly talks about such circumstances – our debt of sin being the greatest example. Verses like Lk 7:40-42 and Matt 6:12 emphasize the value of forgiving debts and helping those who are in a financial bind.
So, what we are left with are two Bible principles. Those who are borrowing should be careful to not be reckless or spend lavishly that which they haven’t earned themselves, and they should seek to faithfully and diligently repay their debts because that is what good stewardship is. And secondly, when there is opportunity for a lender to show mercy to an honestly struggling debtor, that is a blessing as well.
What is the biblically appropriate thing for a Christian to do if they should commit a crime? Shouldn't they turn themselves in and "do the time"? Should they ever plead innocent and try to get off if they are truly guilty?
Nothing But The Truth
Dear Nothing But The Truth,
One of the most basic teachings of the Bible is that lying is wrong (Col 3:9). It is better to suffer than to be a liar (Pr 19:22). Christians should love the truth… and loving the truth includes speaking the truth (Eph 4:15). If a Christian has committed a crime, they must own that sin and own the consequences as well.