The Shortcoming of Intentions
Have you heard of the saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions?” This statement captures the notion that intentions are not everything. Many who go to hell mean well. Few are psychopathic murderers. However, intention alone is not enough. More is needed.
This principle occurs in everyday life. In 2015, I made a mistake on my taxes. I did not mean to make this mistake. My motive was not to cheat the government. When the IRS came looking for their money, do you think they cared about my intention? No. I failed to do what I should have done, and they demanded I pay them. Intention was not enough.
This principle also occurs in Scripture. Look at Uzzah in 2 Samuel 6. The story goes that David was transporting the Ark. As they traveled, though, the oxen carrying the Ark “stumbled,” and the Ark became unsteady. To save the Ark from falling, Uzzah “put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it” (v. 6:6). Then, “the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died” (v. 6:7). Uzzah’s “error” was that he touched the Ark, which was forbidden (see Num 4:15). Did Uzzah mean well? Surely. Was God understanding of Uzzah’s negligence? Clearly not.
Orthodoxy matters. It is not enough that we have good intentions. We must also strive for truth. God desires that we have right intention and right belief. Anything else leads to judgment.