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How to Love God and Your Neighbor

[N.B. This article was originally three articles which I published for ThornCrownMinistries. I decided to repost it as one incredibly long article, seeing as I had some readers tell me it was a helpful series of articles. I hope you are edified by the content, and can find practical use for it as well.]


 Part 1 – Think Before You Get “the Jab”

Seeing as many Christians are aware of the ethically suspect, if not entirely corrupt, process of vaccine development, and are aware of the serious side-effects of the gene-therapies that are now being rebranded as vaccines, there is a growing tide of individuals who feel the need to tell us that we are “not loving our neighbors” if we don’t get vaccinated. Visit social media and you can see them saying “I thought you were a Christian. Aren’t you supposed to love your neighbor?” Listen to the talking heads on television and online media outlets and you can hear them confidently asserting that “Jesus would have gotten the jab,” and so all Christians should get the jab in order to “love your neighbor like Jesus did.”

But what we are not seeing so much of is a biblical answer to the question posed by the singer Haddaway in 1993 –

What is love?

Instead, those who are “encouraging” us to get vaccinated assume that we share their definition of love and, therefore, should feel guilty for not acting in accordance with their definition of love. And, sadly, for many that is actually the case. Upon hearing that Christians who will not get vaccinated don’t love their neighbors, many professing Christians will feel guilty and get vaccinated against their their convictions. This kind of manipulation is occurring on a daily basis and warrants a better response that is biblical and to the point. I hope to present that in this short article.

Defining Love

The American Heritage Dictionary online defines love as follows –

A strong feeling of affection and concern toward another person, as that arising from kinship or close friendship.

[…]

A strong feeling of affection and concern for another person accompanied by sexual attraction.1

Similarly, Webster defines love in the following manner –

…strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties

…attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers

…affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests2

What we see in these definitions, which I think are representative of how most people think about love, is that love is an affection – i.e. a favorable and tender disposition toward some person or thing – that arises from kinship or some other kind of intimate relationship we have with others. This understanding of love is problematic for a host of reasons. Let’s look at why it is problematic, and then look at what the Scriptures have to say.

In the first place, defining love as an affection (i.e. a favorable and tender disposition toward some person or thing) means that actions taken toward another person that are not favorable or tender are not loving. Yet our own proclamations of love for people show us that this is not the case. Leaving aside the question of who gets to define what is or is not “favorable” to the object of one’s love, we simply point out that those whom we love are often those with whom we tend to lack tenderness in certain situations. For instance, the father who loves his daughter will reprimand her harshly for using drugs, hanging out with the wrong crowd, disrespecting her mother, etc. He will also “tell her like it is,” knowing that it will drive a wedge between the two of them. Is his love suspended for his daughter when he keeps her from destroying her life with drugs, for instance, because he speaks harshly to her? We recognize that the father’s love is what fuels his response. His response is an instance of love, and it lacks the aforementioned tenderness and favorableness, from his daughter’s perspective that is, that is supposedly definitive of love.

The examples here can be multiplied –

  • A sister who does not approve of her brother’s decision to divorce his wife and, therefore, refuses to give him emotional and financial support in his endeavors to split up his marriage.

  • A church that disciplines a member who continues in flagrant and unrepentant sin.

  • A parent who cuts off financial support for his children so that they can learn how to fend for themselves in the world.

  • God taking the life of David’s child born of adultery.

  • Christ calling Peter Satan.

The harshness in these examples is not evidence of the absence of love but, in fact, the proof of its central presence in the relationships described. What this means is that affection, as described above, is not essential to love. One can love another person by doing what is, according to that person, unfavorable and harsh. Our popular understanding of love, then, is wrong given our own understanding of our behaviors toward those whom we claim to love.

Secondly, because love is not an affection it cannot “arise from” some relationship we have with another person. Our relationship with another person may lead to us having positive/warm feelings for that person, but that isn’t the same thing as love. Our relationship with another person may lead to us acting tenderly toward that person, but that isn’t the same thing as love. We can interact tenderly with strangers we’ve never before met. We can also interact tenderly with people whom we hate. We can act favorably toward another person as a means of retribution, allowing that person to entertain delusions and engage in all kinds of self-destructive behavior, simply because we want him to suffer. Tenderness and favorableness cannot, therefore, be definitive of love.

So why do most people think love is a favorable and tender disposition toward another person? Simply put – they confuse the feelings they have while expressing love for another person with love itself. Unlike God, we experience emotional changes, as we are temporal and mutable creatures. We relate to others in time, moreover, experiencing emotional changes as time progresses in those relationships, and those relationships either grow to maturity or disintegrate. Is the building up of some shared life goal something that evokes positive emotions? Do those positive emotions grow as two people grow closer and see one another as reliable, trustworthy, considerate, and so on? Conversely, is the breaking of a covenant between two persons something that evokes negative emotions? Do those negative emotions grow as two people grow father apart and see one another as unreliable, untrustworthy, inconsiderate, and so on?

As creatures with passions – i.e. emotional states correlative to our proximity to perceived goods or evils – every relationship we have with others is marked by emotional changes. But as we saw above, we can be favorable and tender toward those we hate (as an expression of our hatred), just as we can be unfavorable and harsh toward those we love (as an expression of our love). Love, therefore, is not an affection, although it is accompanied by affection in many cases.

Another problem we must recognize is that of the love of God. Given that God does not have “passions” (as defined above), because he is perfect and unchanging, how are we to understand love?

Scripture Defines Love

In Romans 13:8-10, the apostle Paul writes –

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Within this pericope, we are given the definition of love, as well as examples of love in action. Love, he says, is the fulfilling of the law. The Law in question here is the law of God, i.e. the Ten Commandments, which include the first table (i.e. those commandments immediately pertaining to our relationship with God) as well as the second table (i.e. those commandments immediately pertaining to our relationship with other people). Actions which are loving are those which do not harm to our neighbor, including refraining from adultery, murder, stealing, and coveting.

But that isn’t everything. Paul adds this small clause “and any other commandment,” thereby implying that it is not merely our adherence to the second table of the law that constitutes love for our neighbor, but our adherence to the first table as well. To love one’s neighbor is to walk in accordance with God’s Law as it pertains to our relationship with him and with our fellow human. Love is the fulfillment of the law. Consequently, any act of love toward one’s neighbor that results in our disobedience to the first table of the law is not an act of love at all. Likewise, any act of love toward God that results in our disobedience to the second table of the law is not an act of love at all.

Consider Christ’s words in Mark 7:9-13 –

And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

Note here what Jesus is criticizing – it is the Pharisees’ attempt to pit obedience to God (in giving sacrificially to him) against obedience to God (in honoring one’s father and mother). What motivated these hypocrites was not love for God but sin, specifically greed, and that is evidenced by the result their supposed love for God produced – the Word of God was nullified, rendered incoherent, self-contradictory. By pitting obedience to the first table against obedience to the second table, the Pharisees had not done what is commanded by either table of the law.

Our Current Context

Given that love is not an emotion/affect but the fulfillment of God’s Law, are appeals to our duty to love our neighbor and “just get the shot” sound? In short, no. When we are told by others “if you really loved your neighbors you would get the jab!” we are being guilt tripped. This kind of manipulation is particularly nasty, seeing as it explicitly states that you don’t love your neighbor and, therefore, necessarily implies that you also don’t love God. It is important to know how this twofold accusation is false, therefore, in order to not be deceived into supposedly loving God or our neighbor at the expense of either and, consequently, failing to love either.

Let’s look at the argument being made:

If you love your neighbor, you will get the vaccine.

You will not get the vaccine.

Therefore, you do not love your neighbor.

In order for this argument to be sound, at least three things need to be true. Firstly, it must be the case that the vaccine will not harm me. Secondly, it must be the case that the vaccine will do my neighbor no harm. Thirdly, it must be the case that my decision to get vaccinated is not due to me having been manipulated, deceived, guilt-tripped, or coerced.

These three situations must be true in order for this syllogism to be sound. For in the first case, if I knowingly get vaccinated with a drug that will render me unable to fulfill the vocations which God has given me, then I am willingly abdicating my divinely ordained responsibilities (e.g. being a husband, father, worker, teacher, etc). Willingly getting vaccinated, in this instance, would not be an act of love toward God or my neighbor because it would render me incapable of worshiping God as he has commanded by making my body incapable of doing what is necessary to ensure no harm comes to my neighbor. In a word, if getting vaccinated renders me incapable of doing what is necessary to ensure no harm comes to my neighbor, then it is not an act of love toward God or my neighbor.

In the second case, if getting vaccinated does harm to my neighbor then it is an act that is loving toward neither God nor my neighbor. Physical harm is not the only harm that one can do to his neighbor, so even if we assume that the vaccine will not physically harm me or anyone else, there is still the danger of harming my neighbor socially. If getting vaccinated entails being publicly praised and retaining my God-given rights, and not getting vaccinated entails being publicly shamed and having my God-given rights suppressed, then getting vaccinated entails socially, and eventually physically, harming my neighbor who will not get vaccinated. For if my neighbor’s God-given rights are suppressed, then he is hindered from loving God by performing the vocations God has given him in order to love God and love his neighbor.

In the third case, if I get vaccinated because I have been manipulated, deceived, guilt-tripped, or coerced, then I have not acted in accordance with the truth. I have placed obedience to men on a par with, or above, obedience to God and, thereby, have engaged in idolatry. The duty to love God with all of my mind requires me to rationally assess my circumstances, and determine what actions I can or cannot take in order to achieve a goal that will directly or indirectly assist me in not doing my neighbor any harm. If I don’t do this, but instead succumb to the pressure to get vaccinated, I am not acting in accordance with the truth, and consequently not loving God or my neighbor.

Conclusion

Even if the vaccine is safe and effective, loving my neighbor requires me to love God, and loving God requires me to act not in submission to governmental mandates, media manipulators, or frantic family members, but in submission to the Lord God of Truth. If I am being told to succumb to bribes, manipulative emotional outbursts, coercive mandates, and so on, then I am being told to commit idolatry by not subjecting myself to the truth. I don’t have to demonstrate that the vaccines are not safe and effective, in other words, in order to justify not getting vaccinated. If I love God and my neighbor, then I will not obey another authority placing himself above God by forcing me to forgo the reasoning process requisite to making a good and God-honoring decision. If I love God and my neighbor, then I will not get vaccinated if that entails the ostracization of my neighbor because he is convinced that the vaccine is not safe and effective.

Those who are arguing that it is unloving – i.e. sinful – to not “get the jab” are engaging in behavior that is unloving toward their neighbors and God. This is not because they are promoting vaccination per se, but because they are twisting Scripture, disregarding truth, placing the desires of men above the revealed will of God, and placing love for God and love for one’s neighbor in contradiction to one another in their attempt to get their neighbors vaccinated. This is evil and must be rejected and refuted. Christians are to obey God rather than men, and God commands us to rationally assess our life situations in order to make decisions that are good for our neighbor’s well-being, and which bring God glory. In our present situation, the information available to us about the vaccines is incomplete and, what is more, does not look good. There have been many deaths and permanent damages directly linked to the vaccines in question, and there is good reason to think that we are only seeing a small fraction of these kinds of negative side effects. If you want more information on the dangers associated with the vaccines in question check out the links below.

The Well Known Hazards of Coronavirus Vaccineshttps://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/05/joseph-mercola/the-well-known-hazards-of-coronavirus-vaccines/

What’s Not Being Said About Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccine –

https://journal-neo.org/2020/11/13/what-s-not-being-said-about-pfizer-coronavirus-vaccine/

Doctor: Heart Failure From MRNA Jabs “Will Kill Most People” –

https://principia-scientific.com/doctor-heart-failure-from-mrna-jabs-will-kill-most-people/

COVID Vaccinated People Within 2 Years –

https://coe-llc.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/vaccine-created-varriants.mp4?_=1

2 people die in Japan after receiving Moderna Covid-19 shots from batch that was withdrawn due to foreign material in some vials https://www.rt.com/news/533323-japan-moderna-vaccination-deaths/

1.6 million Moderna Covid vaccine doses pulled in Japan after foreign material found

in some vials – https://www.rt.com/news/533077-japan-moderna-foreign-material/

Most Covid Deaths Now Occurring in “Fully Vaccinated” People –

https://vaccinedeaths.com/2021-08-26-most-covid-deaths-occurring-fully-vaccinated-people.html

Part 2 – You Shall Not Bear False Witness

In my last article,3 I didn’t urge readers to not get vaccinated because I didn’t have the time to gather all the relevant articles demonstrating that the mRNA vaccines are not safe and effective. My goal, moreover, was to get Christians to think about the propaganda that they are up against, and to love God with all of their mind by making a wise, God-glorifying decision. Given that the vaccines are being promoted by means of propaganda, however, that is enough for us to refuse them. Manipulation, coercion, threats, emotionalism, and the redefinition of love render any decision made upon such appeals sinful. If we want to love our neighbor, then, we must not act in defiance of the first table of the Law of God by abdicating our responsibility to rationally assess the present situation.

In this article, I am not going to delve into the data that demonstrates how the mRNA vaccines are not safe and effective. Instead, I want to give a single reason, and an important one, for my refusal to get the vaccine. My goal is to make an argument that can be used in everyday (i.e. not overly technical/scientific) discussions with other believers, or with unbelievers, that clearly states why a Christian should not get “the jab.”

You Shall Not Bear False Witness

As of the moment, the mRNA vaccines are being aggressively promoted by the media, government officials, and media personalities. While there are therapeutics that have been shown to be safe and effective in the treatment of COVID-19, these promoters of the mRNA vaccines do not promote them. They not only fail to promote them, they actively discourage the use of these therapeutic treatments. They argue fallaciously in order to manipulate their audiences into getting the mRNA vaccine, rather than getting cheap and safe and effective drugs like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.

For instance, rather than reporting on the successful treatment of COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine, the media reported on a man who had taken chloroquine tablets intended for fish and, subsequently died from it.4 The media’s intention was to make Trump responsible for health misinformation and, consequently, the man’s death. It was also intended to mock anyone who dare to seek treatment that was not approved of by the FDA. One news outlet made the false claim that hydroxychloroquine was not approved of by the FDA for the treatment of COVID-19, despite the fact that it had been given Emergency Use Authorization very early on and would only have that authorization revoked several days afterward.5

Another media outlet called those who were promoting hydroxychloroquine conspiracy theorists,6 falsely claimed that the drug was “condemned by the US Food and Drug Association,”7 deceptively reported that “hydroxychloroquine is well documented for increasing serious heart problems, and in some cases, resulting in death,”8 and mocked President Trump and anyone else who would dare to think differently than the so-called experts. This was more than a simple attempt to dissuade people from using the drug; it was propaganda meant to belittle, ostracize, and vilify seekers of the drug. Many other outlets did the same,9 and are now reusing the same tactics with respect to another drug that is being used successfully as a COVID-19 therapeutic, namely ivermectin.

In a recent article by Oliver Darcy, the CNN reporter, as well as the FDA, misrepresent ivermectin as “an anti-parasitic drug used for livestock,”10 while simultaneously affirming that “there are human uses for ivermectin.”11 Another CNN writer, Chris Cillizza, does the same in his article “What the ivermectin debacle reveals about the hypocrisy of the anti-vaxxer crowd,”12 identifying those promoting the drug as conspiracy theorists. He goes on to identify the drug as “a drug used to de-worm large animals, in stock,”13 and as “medicine meant for horses and cows,”14 only to then state that “there are formulations of ivermectin approved for human use in the United States, but it's intended for intestinal parasites and conditions such as head lice and rosacea,” thereby revealing his equivocal use of the word “ivermectin.”15 The goal? To identify the drug as harmful, unapproved by the FDA, and dangerous.

In a dark twist of irony, however, the same media outlet has an article written by a physician explaining why you should not “wait for full FDA approval to get your Covid shot.”16 This highlights the fact that whether or not one should take hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin or get “the jab” is being determined not by the sheer preponderance of data but the sheer exercise of authority. If FDA approval should not keep one from getting an experimental gene therapy, then why should it keep one from taking hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin, two drugs that have – over their long lifespan – a death rate that is much lower than the 13,000 plus deaths17 attributable to the new mRNA vaccines that have only been in use for about a year or so? This doesn’t add up.

Moreover, given the revelation only a few months ago that Anthony Fauci knew hydroxychloroquine was a safe and effective therapeutic treatment for COVID-19,18 why did he and the media lie about his knowledge of the drug’s efficacy?19 Given that there have been major studies showing the efficacy of ivermectin as a safe and effective therapeutic treatment20 for COVID-19, why are the media, talking heads, politicians, and the FDA arguing deceptively, manipulatively, and fallaciously in a frantic attempt to keep people from getting access to the drug?

We can guess, with reasonable accuracy, the reason behind these attacks on demonstrably successful treatments for COVID-19. It’s simple – If there exist safe and effective alternatives to the vaccines currently being promoted by the government and the media – alternatives whose benefits outweigh their risks, and are more beneficial and less risky than the mRNA vaccines – then the vaccines will lose their EUA status. According to the FDA’s own official document, the organization

...may issue an EUA after FDA has determined that the following statutory requirements are met […]

• The chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) agent referred to in the March 27, 2020 EUA declaration by the Secretary of HHS (SARS-CoV-2) can cause a serious or life threatening disease or condition.

• Based on the totality of scientific evidence available, including data from adequate and well controlled trials, if available, it is reasonable to believe that the product may be effective to prevent, diagnose, or treat such serious or life-threatening disease or condition that can be caused by SARS-CoV-2.

• The known and potential benefits of the product, when used to diagnose, prevent, or treat the identified serious or life-threatening disease or condition, outweigh the known and potential risks of the product.

• There is no adequate, approved, and available alternative to the product for diagnosing,

preventing, or treating the disease or condition.21

And while bullet point 1 has obviously been met, points 2-3 have repeatedly been shown to have not been met. Given the amount of deaths and adverse side effects caused by the mRNA vaccines, it is not reasonable to believe that they can “prevent, diagnose, or treat such serious or life-threatening disease or condition that can be caused by SARS-CoV-2.”22 This is because the vaccines have not been determined to be safe and effective on the basis of “the totality of scientific evidence available” but by studies that have systematically excluded unfavorable data. Nor has it been determined on the basis of “data [obtained] from adequate and well controlled trials” but has been determined on the basis of incomplete and poorly controlled trials.23 Consequently, EUA has not been granted to the vaccines because “the known and potential benefits of the product, when used to diagnose, prevent, or treat the identified serious or life-threatening disease or condition, outweigh the known and potential risks of the product.” Yet by excluding unfavorable data, drawing conclusions from incomplete and poorly controlled mRNA vaccine trials, and lying about drugs like hydroxychroloquine and ivermectin, the FDA has provided itself a plausible basis for claiming that bullet point 4 has been met.

The truth is that the vaccines have not met the requisite conditions justifying the FDA granting them EUA. There are, and have been, many “adequate, … and available alternative[s] to the [mRNA vaccines] for diagnosing, preventing, or treating [COVID-19]” – e.g. hydroxycloroquine,24 ivermectin, budesonide,25 quercetin alongside high doses of vitamins C and D3,26 and Regeneron27 – to name a few. If these alternatives are ignored, sidelined, lied about, etc, however, and are identified as unsafe and ineffective, then the vaccines retain their EUA.

How These Facts Relate to My Decision to Not Get the Covid-19 Vaccine

Given that the government and media have lied about the safety and efficiency of numerous treatments for COVID-19, and that the government and media have lied about the safety and efficiency of the mRNA vaccines, and that the government and media have utilized fallacious and unsound reasoning in an attempt to retain EUA for an experimental treatment that has been shown to be not only very dangerous but ineffective, I am obligated to obey God and not participate in their false witness bearing. I cannot get the vaccine because doing so would imply that I am in agreement with their lies, lies that have not only been used to destroy the lives of many people who could have otherwise been saved by cheap, safe, effective, and easily accessible treatments, but have also destroyed the personal reputations of many doctors who promoted those treatments because they were concerned with saving lives, and not with lining their pockets with blood money.

So in a word – I am obligated to refuse the jab because I am obligated under divine law to not bear false testimony, and the very reason why the vaccines have EUA and, what is more, have been touted as the best means of fighting against COVID-19 is because the media and government have borne false testimony on numerous levels. These lies have resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, the defamation of many doctors and front line workers, the destruction of innumerable businesses, the psychological ruination of many children, the dissolution of families due to suicide or substance relapse or domestic violence, and the psychological abuse of many elderly people who were denied, and are still being denied, access to their loved ones.

Because love does one’s neighbor no harm, I am obligated to not get the vaccine.

Part 3 – A More Comprehensive Argument

In this last part of my series on how to love God and your neighbor, I will give present a broad outline of why it is we are exempt from mandatory vaccinations as Christians. The basic argument is simple –

Given that mandatory vaccination overrides the magisterial authority of Scripture, as well as the ministerial authority of Logic and the academic and practical disciplines subservient to it, mandatory vaccination violates our religious liberty to worship God with all of our mind and body.

Mandated/forced vaccination hinders us from worshiping God as he has prescribed in his Word. Indeed, it forces us to sin against God. This not only violates our freedom of conscience, and our freedom to exercise religion, but attacks the very substance of Christian living and, therefore, Christianity itself.

This will be a little lengthy, but I feel the need to get into more details on this matter. I pray that you will find this profitable, and be able to utilize it in any way that will edify the body of Christ.

I. The Scope of Sola Scriptura

As the Westminster Confession correctly explains,

The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture…28

The scope of the Scriptures’ sufficiency, let us note, is broader than many would like to concede. This is evident from the authors’ use of the universal terms whole and all, as well as by their reference to (a)that which is expressly/explicitly set down in Scripture and (b)that which is necessarily implied by (a). Scripture covers all that is necessary as respects the glorification of God, man’s salvation, the doctrines man must believe, and the day to day actions that man must perform in order to glorify God.

There is nothing hidden from the Word of God, from his verbal/written judgment.29All actions are revealed to be either glorifying to God or not when they are examined in light of the Scriptures’ explicit and implicit teaching. Paul says the same in his second epistle to Timothy, writing –

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.30

All of Scripture is of divine origin and authority. All of Scripture is profitable for making one equipped every good work. No work of the regenerate man is, therefore, excluded from the explicit and implicit teaching of Scripture. All of our works are subordinate to the Word of God, receiving either approval or condemnation from God. Hence, the Westminster theologians go on to explain that –

The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.31

Again, note the universals here – all controversies of religion, all decrees of councils, all opinions of ancient writers, all doctrines of men, and all private spirits – indicating that the Word of God is the supreme judge of all thinking and action.

II. The Definition of “Good Works”

Whatever has been deemed to be a good work, then, must be examined in light of not merely the explicit declarations of God’s Word, but also the implicit teaching necessarily inferred therefrom. When this is done, we see that good works are

…only such as God hath commanded in his holy Word, and not such as, without the warrant thereof, are devised by men, out of blind zeal, or upon any pretense of good intention.32

That which God requires of men, as revealed in his Word, constitutes what we can legitimately call “good works.” If there are actions that are not commanded by God, or which contradict the explicit and implicit teaching of Scripture as to the nature of godly living, i.e. obedient living that brings glory to God, then those actions do not constitute what we can legitimately call good works.33

III. The Scope of “Good Works”

We have defined what constitutes a good work, and now we must turn to Scripture to understand the scope of that which is covered by the term “good works.” Is it a narrowly defined sphere of activity? Or is it the whole of a man’s life? Well, given that the Westminster Larger Catechism, following the Scriptures, states that “man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever,”34 it is the case that man’s very existence – the entirety of his life – ought to be lived in a manner that brings glory to God. This implies that every act of man is intended by God to be a good work.

Every action of man ought to be performed in good conscience before God, in faith that what is being performed is that which is in accordance with God’s Law, for “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”35 Every action, consequently, must be performed in order to bring God glory. As the apostle Paul tells the Corinthians –

…whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.36

Good works, then, are firstly those which are explicitly stated in the Law of God, the Ten Commandments. Good works, however, also include all the actions of men, covering every aspect of human existence, taken by faith in accordance with the Law of God explicitly stated in Scripture.

The apostle Paul also makes this clear when he tells the Romans the following –

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.37

We are called to firstly have our thinking conformed to God’s Word, and then our bodies (performing those actions which we have, by faith, determined to be in accordance with God’s Law). This conformation, via testing (i.e. reasoning about our thoughts and actions in the world), enables us to discern what thoughts and actions are good before God (i.e. what actions may be performed in accordance with God’s explicitly stated Law).

IV. Daily Individual Worship and Lord’s Day Corporate Worship

It is noteworthy that Paul defines the whole of our bodily existence as “spiritual worship.” While we are called to not forsake the assembling of the local body which meets together for corporate worship on the Lord’s Day,38 we are also called to individually worship God by having our minds and, therefore, thoughts and bodily actions conformed to the Word of God. Our daily activity is, in other words, worship to God, as is our weekly meeting on the Lord’s Day. These two forms of worship are distinct and complementary to one another, not contradictory. We worship God daily, and meet together as a body to worship him on the Lord’s Day.

V. The Individual Temple

The individual body, like the corporate body,39 is identified as the house of God, the physical place where God dwells and governs over man’s thoughts and actions by his Spirit and his Word. Writing to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul explains –

…we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.40

In this passage, Paul repeatedly identifies the believer’s body as the dwelling place of God’s Spirit. The Holy Spirit governs over the activities of this house, just as he governs over the activities of the corporate house of God.

The apostle Peter, likewise, identifies his body as a “tent,” or “tabernacle,” in his second epistle. He writes –

…I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.41

Peter H. Davids’ commentary here is very useful:

Rooted in their previous nomadic life (many of the peoples in the Mediterranean had once been nomadic) and the present use of tents as temporary shelters, the image of a tent for this mortal life is found in the OT (Isa 38:12…), but is more common in Hellenistic Judaism. For instance, in Wisd 9:15 we read, “For a perishable body weighs down the soul, and this earthly tent burdens the thoughtful mind,” a clear indication of both the tent = body imagery and body-soul dualism…42

The apostle Paul elsewhere identifies the believer’s body as “a temple of the Holy Spirit.”43 And these all, of course, are following the Lord Jesus Christ’s identification of his own body as The Temple of God.44 While Christ’s body as the Temple of God has a much greater and richer significance than our individual bodies being temples of God, the point of derivation and overlap cannot be ignored. The Son of God tabernacled among men,45 the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in him bodily,46 and was given the Spirit without measure.47 We are tent-dwelling sojourners in this world, redeemed sinners in whom the fullness of the God does not dwell bodily, and who do not possess the Holy Spirit without measure, whose flesh lusts against the Spirit as he works to conform us to Christ’s image.48

VII. What This Means for Us

The significance of our bodies being temples of the Holy Spirit lies in the fact that they are to be governed by the Holy Spirit as he teaches us from his Word, thereby making us wise and capable of discerning what is the good and perfect will of God. The good and perfect will of God is comprised of those good works which God has ordained for his people,49 and fall under two categories – 1. Good works explicitly commanded by God in his Law, and 2. Works that are judged to be in accordance with God’s Word after prayerful study and reflection on the explicit and implicit teaching of Scripture. And these two categories of good works constitute the whole of our Christian life, rendering all of our daily activities either fulfilled or failed attempts at worship.

Thinking for oneself in light of the Scriptures’ explicit and implicit teaching, in other words, is a daily act of worship in which all Christians must engage. Forcing Christians to act against our consciences, insofar as they are informed by the Word of God, not only violates our freedom of conscience and our God-given right to worship God freely, but also forces us to sin against God. This is an attack on our ability to live in accordance with Scripture and, therefore, an attack on the Christian faith (which addresses all areas of our life) in its entirety.

Consequently, forced vaccination – whether by physical coercion, intellectual and/or emotional manipulation, or government mandates – is something with which we cannot comply, lest we sin against our Lord and Savior by subordinating his Word and Spirit to the words, wishes, and powers of men and their institutions. The Christian system of doctrine teaches us that man’s body is his own possession, a creation meant to be ruled and governed by the Spirit and Word of God. Christians, in particular, are revealed to be temples, places of worship, which must be governed by the Spirit and the Word. The subordination of the Word of God and his Spirit to any authority constitutes a flagrant act of idolatry in which no Christian can, or would want to, participate.

Ultimately, the Christian is free, and must be free, to reflect on all of his actions in light of the revealed Word of God (explicit and implicit). He is free, and must be free, to judge whether or not taking an experimental medication is in accordance with the revealed Word of God (explicit and implicit).



3 See Hiram R. Diaz III, “How to Love God and Your Neighbor – Think Before You Get “The Jab,” ThornCrown Ministries, Sept 2, 2021, https://thorncrownministries.com/blog/how-to-love-god-and-your-neighbor-think-before-you-get-the-jab.

4 See Erika Edwards and Vaughn Hillyard, “Man dies after taking chloroquine in an attempt to prevent coronavirus,” NBC News, March 23, 2020, https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/man-dies-after-ingesting-chloroquine-attempt-prevent-coronavirus-n1167166.

5 ibid. [N.B. While the NBC News article mentions that hydroxychloroquine was being looked at as a potentially useful therapeutic, that is only partially correct. It was granted Emergency Use Authorization on March 28, 2020. The EUA was revoked on June 15, 2020. See “Authorizations and Revocation of Emergency Use of Drugs During the COVID-19 Pandemic; Availability,” Federal Register: The Daily Journal of the United States Government, Sept 11, 2020, https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/09/11/2020-20041/authorizations-and-revocation-of-emergency-use-of-drugs-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-availability.]

6 Jenae Madden, “Hydroxychloroquine: the conspiracy theorists’ answer to coronavirus, explained,” Happy, April 4, 2020, https://happymag.tv/hydroxychloroquine-the-conspiracy-theorists-answer-to-coronavirus-explained/.

7 ibid.

8 ibid.

9 See Daniel Funke, “Conspiracy Theory Proven False: Hydroxychloroquine Is [Still] Not a COVID-19 Cure,” Physicians News, July 31, 2020, https://physiciansnews.com/2020/07/31/conspiracy-theory-proven-false-hydroxychloroquine-is-still-not-a-covid-19-cure/; Ann McLaughlin, “Investigating the most convincing COVID-19 conspiracy theories,” June 23, 2020, King’s College London, https://www.kcl.ac.uk/investigating-the-most-convincing-covid-19-conspiracy-theories;

10 “Right-wing media pushed a deworming drug to treat Covid-19 that the FDA says is unsafe for humans,” CNN, Aug 23, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/23/media/right-wing-media-ivermectin/index.html.

11 ibid.

13 ibid.

14 ibid.

15 Ivermectin for animals differs in concentration levels from ivermectin for humans. Logically, this makes the two uses of the word distinct. The genus here is ivermectin, and the species are (a.)animal and (b.)human. By identifying the use of (a.) as proof that (b.) should not be used, the author is committing the fallacy of equivocation.

17 See Tucker Carlson, “How Many Americans Have Died After Taking COVID Vaccinations?,” FOX News, Brighteon, https://www.brighteon.com/2a2fd903-220a-4b4f-86bf-0f78aaa8fd2a.

18 See Jim Hoft, “SMOKING GUN: FAUCI LIED, MILLIONS DIED — Fauci Was Informed of Hydroxychloroquine Success in Early 2020 But Lied to Public Instead Despite the Science #FauciEmails,” Gateway Pundit, Jun 3, 2021, https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/06/smoking-gun-fauci-lied-millions-died-fauci-informed-hydroxychloroquine-worked-lied-public-instead-despite-science-fauciemails/.

19 See Daniel Funke, “Don’t fall for conspiracy about Dr. Anthony Fauci, hydroxychloroquine,” Politifact, May 6, 2020, https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/may/06/blog-posting/dont-fall-conspiracy-about-dr-anthony-fauci-hydrox/.

20 For example, see Morimasa Yagisawa, Patrick J. Foster, Hideaki Hanaki, and Satoshi ┼îmura, “Global trends in clinical studies of ivermectin in COVID-19,” in The Japanese Journal of Antibiotics 74 – 1 (Mar.\ 2021), 45-95. [N.B. The PDF, for now, is accessible online here – http://jja-contents.wdc-jp.com/pdf/JJA74/74-1-open/74-1_44-95.pdf].

21 Emergency Use Authorization for Vaccines to Prevent COVID-19, 3. FDA website, May 25, 2021, https://www.fda.gov/media/142749/download.

22 ibid.

23 See Ronald B. Brown, “Outcome Reporting Bias in COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Clinical Trials,” in Medicina

57, 199 (2021), https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina57030199; Richard Harris, “Long-Term Studies Of COVID-19 Vaccines Hurt By Placebo Recipients Getting Immunized,” NPR, Feb 19, 2021, https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/02/19/969143015/long-term-studies-of-covid-19-vaccines-hurt-by-placebo-recipients-getting-immuni; Lance D. Johnson, “Moderna and Pfizer vaccine trials RIGGED by vaccinating the control group… blatant science FRAUD exposed,” Natural News, Aug 10, 2021, https://www.naturalnews.com/2021-08-10-moderna-and-pfizer-vaccine-trials-rigged-vaccinating-control-group.html; Tyler Durden, “Ex-Pfizer Exec Demands EU Halt COVID-19 Vaccine Studies Over 'Indefinite Infertility' And Other Health Concerns,” ZeroHedge, Dec 6, 2020, https://www.zerohedge.com/medical/ex-pfizer-exec-demands-eu-halt-covid-19-vaccine-studies-over-indefinite-infertility-and.

24 See C. Prodromos and T. Rumschlag, “Hydroxychloroquine is effective, and consistently so when provided early, for COVID-19: a systematic review,” in New Microbes and New Infections 38, Nov (2020), https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2052297520301281?via%3Dihub.

25 See “Common asthma treatment reduces need for hospitalisation in COVID-19 patients, study suggests,” University of Oxford – News and Events, Feb 9, 2021, https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2021-02-09-common-asthma-treatment-reduces-need-hospitalisation-covid-19-patients-study; Sanjay Ramakrishnan, et al., “Inhaled budesonide in the treatment of early COVID-19 (STOIC): a phase 2, open-label, randomised controlled trial,” in The Lancet – Respiratory Medicine Vol. 9, Issue 7, (April 9, 2021), https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(21)00160-0/fulltext.

26 See Giuseppe Derosa, et al., “A role for quercetin in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19),” in Phytotherapy Research, Wiley Online Library, October 9, 2020, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.6887; Ruben Manuel Luciano Colunga Biancatelli, et al., “Quercetin and Vitamin C: An Experimental, Synergistic Therapy for the Prevention and Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 Related Disease (COVID-19),” in Frontiers in Immunology 19, June (2020), https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2020.01451/full; Joseph Mercola, “Evidence Regarding Vitamin D and Risk of COVID-19 and Its Severity,” in Nutrients 12, October (2020), https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/11/3361.

27 See Kezia Parkins, “Regeneron’s antibody cocktail helps prevent and treat Covid-19 in Phase III studies,” Clinical Trials Arena, April 13, 2020, https://www.clinicaltrialsarena.com/news/regenerons-antibody-cocktail-regen-cov-helps-prevent-and-treat-covid-19-in-phase-3-studies/; Alistair Smout, “Regeneron’s antibody therapy cuts deaths among some hospitalised COVID-19 patients -study,” Reuters, June 16, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/regeneron-covid-19-therapy-cuts-deaths-among-hospitalised-patients-who-lack-2021-06-16/; Lenny Bernstein and Laurie McGinley, “Monoclonal antibodies are free and effective against covid-19, but few people are getting them,” Washington Post, August 20, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/covid-monoclonal-abbott/2021/08/19/a39a0b5e-0029-11ec-a664-4f6de3e17ff0_story.html.

28 Ch. 1, Art. 6.

29 cf. Heb 4:12-14.

30 2nd Tim 3:16-17.

31 WCF, Ch. 1, Art. 10.

32 WCF, Ch. 16, Art. 1.

33 See, Isa 5:20-21; Mark 7:9-13; 1st Tim 1:8-11.

34 WLC, A.1.

35 Rom 14:23b. (emphasis added)

36 1st Cor 10:31. (emphasis added)

37 Rom 12:1-2. (emphasis added)

38 cf. Heb 10:19-25.

39 See 1st Cor 11:17-22 (this is implicit to Paul’s rhetorical question in v.22a), Eph 2:18-20, 1st Tim 3:1-5 & 14-15, 2nd Tim 2:15-21, 1st Pet 2:4-6 & 4:17, Heb 3:1-6 & 10:19-25.

40 2nd Cor 5:1-10.

41 2nd Pet 1:13-14. (emphasis added) [N.B. I’ve used the NKJV rendering here because the ESV does not provide a translation of the original Greek here, but interprets the Greek word as an analogy/metaphor for the body. This interpretation is correct, but it subtly undermines the significance of the original wording. If the body is the Lord’s tabernacle, this ties directly into Peter’s identification of believers as “sojourners” in the present age (cf. 1st Pet 2:11).]

42 The Letters of 2 Peter and Jude (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman’s, 2006), 194. (emphasis added)

43 1st Cor 6:19-20.

44 See John 2:13-21.

45 cf. John 1:14.

46 cf. Col 1:19-20 & 2:9.

47 cf. John 3:34-35.

48 cf. Gal 5:16-25.

49 cf. Eph 2:10.

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