“Morality is the basis of things and the truth is the substance of all morality”.
Definition of morality: “principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior; behavior as it is affected by the observation of these principles”
Concise Oxford American Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 2006
To undertake the study of morality is to embark on a mission that requires reading large books and swimming through many quotes on the second most opined subject after love. There are many and varying definitions for what constitutes morality, yet most agree on two fundamental components that comprise what scholars, philosophers and religious clerics concur to be essential: “truth”, and the principle of “good and bad”. Thus anyone, any group, any society or country can devise its own moral code, and in fact, they have. That’s why we can find something morally acceptable in one place which is drastically different another culture or in a different part of the same country; and not observing it or ignoring it could cause a conflict difficult to resolve.
Needless for me to say, it begs the question of what is the correct, proper or right morality. For Christians this question is an easy one if we acknowledge that there is a moral code of conduct given by God. His moral code has been overlaid and sometimes intertwined with the moral code men have devised for their benefit resulting in hybrid moral codes which make it difficult for the uninstructed Christian to distinguish one code from the other. In addition, the Christian moral code can be overruled by man’s passions, such as can surface when discussing politics, finances, or the emotions that churn from perceived threats by others who happen to be different from us, as we are overwhelmed with a sense of wanting to protect our families, or in response to a calling to preserve the status quo. Laws are written by a government with the concise purpose of binding citizens to behave in accordance to the community’s accepted norms. Government’s police enforce the laws and by adjudication, the government executes punishment or extracts payment for fines when a law (the moral code) is violated. Violation of God’s moral code bears consequences, as well, but in this age of grace the consequences are not immediately imposed. The one consequence that constantly stares us in the face is that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and the ultimate consequence is eternal death.
If it were sufficient for men to submit to the law of the land (assuming morality is based on truth and the principle of good and bad), then moral conflict between God’s morality and Man’s morality, for the Christian, would be minimal. Sadly, immorality never sleeps. Immoral men seize power and authority, and through their own behavior push the boundaries of the moral code away from God’s morality, conforming to a hybrid-morality that suits that individual’s lifestyle and that of their followers. It should be easy for the Christian to distinguish the differences between God and Man’s morality, if the new hybrid-morality does not appeal to their passions. A Christian can be blinded by the darkness when their fears or passions cause them to find the new morality (which is immorality) more appealing for their cause than the moral code they know to be God’s morality.
Aside from any other point of view the Christian should stand, at the very least, on the moral code presented in the Ten Commandments. These “Ten” represent the opportunity to stand above any attempt to minimize the significance of God’s foundational purpose for our daily lives. It may seem easier to adhere to the Hammurabi Code of laws, or the US Constitution than the simplicity of these Ten Commandments so critical to our lives and well-being as God’s children:
1. There is only One God.
2. No representation of idols, or images is allowed.
3. Do not use God’s name for profane and vain purposes.
4. Observe a day of communing with the Almighty God. He set this day apart for you and Him.
5. Honor your father and mother. Respect those who care for you, that you may learn how
to respect and honor God.
6. Do not commit murder.
7. Do not steal.
8. Do not commit adultery.
9. Don’t covet, don’t want what others have. Be happy for them and what they have.
10. Don’t talk bad about others. No gossiping.
Every standing believer should endeavor to practice the Ten Commandments as their basic moral code. Even more, every believer should be appalled by anyone who violates these commandments in defiance of our societal norms, and who flaunt hybrid-morals as a self-granted right of passage because of their position, their wealth, or their looks. It is not difficult to distinguish between accepting the Ten Commandments as immutable morals to live by and not allowing anything else to be substituted in their place.
My hope is that in this chapter I can clearly lay for you the distinction between God’s morality and Man’s morality. I hope that it will help you to choose the godly path as the right and only path. God’s moral code is superior to man’s, and we have been given the free will to accept it or reject it, but rest assured that choosing to disregard God’s moral code is seriously frowned upon. Obedience to God’s commandments is always required of you. In addition, to accept or ignore the disobedience of others, to be entertained by their quirks, or even worse to support their disobedience is totally unacceptable to God.
Romans 1:32 (KJV) Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
In order to open wide the door of understanding God’s morality, consider that the general consensus is that morality is based on truth, and that it is balanced on the principle of good and bad. You will not likely hear it said of any man, “that he is true”, but it is said of God (John 3:33), meaning that God is truthful all the time. The Lord Jesus also says that He is “the truth” (John 14:6). No man can make this claim for all have lied and fallen short of being perfect.
There are two basic distinctions that can be observed of immoral men who disregard God’s moral code. There is the “morally bankrupt” who has no moral standards and is selfishly driven to hurt others emotionally, through physical violence, and other ways that inflict pain and suffering, even to the extent of taking someone’s life. The morally bankrupt insists that he lives in truth (his own truth), and therefore whatever he decides, from his perspective, is morally correct. This man will remain lawless, outside of God’s laws and a stranger to God’s morality because he is dominated by the law of sin, as so many are who follow in the similitude of Nimrod. They recruit followers who are seeking to embrace the lack of morals as their own standard for morality. These men “God gave them over to a debased mind, to vile passions and to uncleanness being filled with unrighteousness” (Romans 1:24-29). The morally bankrupt are in dire need of repentance, and very much in need of being cleaned spiritually.
God has written His laws in our hearts (2Corinthians 3:3) so that we are able through our conscience to decipher between good and evil/bad. Men who “lack a moral compass” (the second distinction of an immoral man) falsely assume that if something bad is good for them, that they can derive pleasure or gain from it, then they will treat it as being good. If he imagines something in his heart from which he can profit (Genesis 8:21), a man without a moral compass will only see the bad as being good for him, due to his lack of a compass that could point him in the right direction at all times. This person may live by God’s morality for a while until he is conflicted, then, as opportunity arises, he cannot live by God’s morality because he is in conflict with the consistency of good being the rule, and bad being always bad. To many of those around him this man acts and appears to be moral, (he may even be the preacher – God help us), but sooner than later he is bound to turn up in the headlines for debauchery, sexual misconduct, embezzlement or other non-violent crimes. The man who lacks a moral compass does not relish in doing others harm, he merely thinks that he is doing himself some good by doing that which is bad. He lacks a moral compass which is the same as lacking in obedience to God’s commandments at all times.
Luke 8:13-14 (KJV) They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
About the Author
Gaspar Garcia, Pastor of the Church of Divine Grace in Davie, Florida, has conducted seminars and workshops for more than 12 years to assist others in learning the Biblical concepts associated with relationships. He is the author of the book Building Blocks for Relationships. Visit his website at http://gasparvgarcia.com/.