A certain man entered into a "partnership" with another to send fraudulent emails in order to obtain personal information from unsuspecting Internet users. The partner was also a practicing homosexual. The man left his wife and became homosexually involved with his new partner. Together, they were very successful in stealing the identities of many people and obtained a large amount of money.
Later, this man encountered one who was a Christian and, in the process of stealing his identity and defrauding him, became personally acquainted with him. He was impressed with the integrity of the Christian and began studying the Bible with him. He soon learned the gospel of Christ, and, believing that Jesus was the Christ, he repented of his sins and was baptized into Christ for the remission of sins. Mark 16:15, 16; Acts 2:38.
Upon hearing and obeying the gospel of Christ, this man was confronted with serious decisions. What was he to do about his previous "lifestyle" and vocation? What was he to do about his partnership? What was he to do about the hundreds of innocent people whom he had swindled of their money? What was he to do with his ill-gotten money? These questions arise from a sincere heart that seeks to do what is right. The Holy Bible provides guidance to such a heart.
In the first place, God commands this one to depart from immoral and dishonest practices. All forms of fornication (including homosexual relationships) are sinful. Read Rom 1:22-32. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any loner therein?" Rom 6:1, 2. Any marriage that is unlawful before baptism is unlawful after baptism. Baptism does not sanctify unholy wedlock.
His profession must change. He can no longer lie and steal. "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth." Eph 4:28.
He must end his unlawful partnership. "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" 2 Cor 6:14-18. All partnerships need not be dissolved, only those that are unlawful.
He must return all illegally gotten money. He must make all restoration and restitution possible. It is irresponsible for anyone to suggest that stolen properties may be kept when one repents of sin. When Jesus and salvation came to Zaccheus' house, Zaccheus stood and said, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold." Lk 19:8. I, personally, believe Zaccheus had these principles before Jesus came to his house. However the matter, he certainly had them after Jesus came. How far must restitution go? As far as is possible. Some things cannot be restored, e.g. the lives of murder victims, etc. Why would a repentant person not wish to restore?
Dear friends, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Truly, if we have been risen with Christ, we must mortify our members upon the earth and seek those things which are above. Col 3:1. Editor.
Return to West Virginia Christian