Moral Compass Calibration (A Guide to God's Morals)
Moral (adjective) is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “1. Concerned with the principles of right and wrong behaviour, and 2. Holding or manifesting high principles for proper conduct.”
As we go through life, we pick up ideas about morality and mostly it is an unconscious process. We pick up things through television, magazines, movies, the web, and so on. Unfortunately, we do not often realise what we have actually picked up, and how much it affects how we live our lives. So, what is right and wrong? Jesus summed it up when He said “whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them” (Matthew 7:12 HCSB), however, what ‘you want’ is very subjective, and is probably assuming that ‘you’ are a healthy and righteous human being.
Therefore, whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them—this is the Law and the Prophets.
- Matthew 7:12 (HCSB)
Take a masochist, for example, who likes pain and enjoys being tortured. You could argue that if masochist tortured another human being those acts would be within the guideline that Jesus sets in this scripture because the masochist would quite happily have someone else torture them. What we are coming into now is the difference between morals as specific principles or ‘laws’ about what is right and wrong, and our own internal ‘moral compass’.
When I was first saved, my moral compass had been calibrated by the world, not by God. I found laws and principles I disagreed with when reading the Bible. I prayed about them and asked God to give me wisdom to understand His Word. It took a long time but I can say now that I clearly see the wisdom of His ways. There are some things in this world that seem okay at an initial glance: no ones getting hurt, everyone seems happy, so what is the big deal. Nevertheless, God has shown me that there are repercussions to certain acts and life styles that only become evident in the fullness of time. There are also social consequences to some sin that only really come up in following generations (what God was warning us about when He spoke of punishing the sons for the sins of the father).
All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (HCSB)
God created the universe, He is ‘Elohim’: the All-powerful One, the Creator. It is His design. If you want to know about Windows 7, ask Bill Gates. If you want to know about how the universe works, ask God. He is the single highest authority on the subject, and, fortunately for us, He did leave us with a users guide: the Bible. Not only did He do that, but the is a 24 hour-a-day help desk too, just in case you need to call Him directly: it’s called prayer.
Why do we put a question mark where God put a period? Why is it that we think we know better than God? If God says something is sexually immoral for example, He knows. He invented sex after all. He knows how it is supposed to work. Yes, we are a creative bunch, but just because it does not hurt anyone, or the hurt is consensual, it does not mean that there are not going to be any repercussions down the line.
We often do not know the full picture or why God does things the way He does. Take circumcision for example. Why would God make this bizarre, painful, and potentially fatal act part of a testament or pact with His people? With the act of circumcision He promised Abram that they would “be extremely fruitful and will make nations from him” (Genesis 17:6). This made no sense to me when I first read it. Now doctors in Africa have discovered that men who are circumcised are far less likely to contract AIDs and other STDs. Therefore, between seemingly quite strict rules about sex and sexual conduct, and the physical circumcision of its men, the Jews had stable, reproductively successful family lives. Is it any wonder they spread all over the world?
In contrast, the Roman’s thought they knew much better. They were an intellectual bunch, quite intelligent and freethinking. They had male bathhouses where men could get together and have sex, they had orgies, and they even had pornography. It did not hurt anyone. So, what is the problem? Well, firstly one should ask “where are they now?” Moreover, let us look at one particular consequence to their immoral (by God’s standard) lifestyle: the burning down of Rome in 64AD.
“I know not how the Christians order their own lives, but I know that where their religion begins, Roman rule ends, Rome itself ends, our mode of life ends, the distinction between conquered and conqueror, between rich and poor, lord and slave, ends, government ends, Caesar ends, law and all the order of the world ends; and in place of these appears Christ, with a certain mercy not existent hitherto, and kindness, as opposed to human and our Roman instincts.”
- Stanczyk, Henryk Prof. – Polish historian and author.
The facts can be debated but many Romans at the time believed that Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (5 December 37 – 9 June 68), the Roman Emperor at the time, had started the fire that burnt for six days, damaging or destroying 10 out of 14 districts, in order to clear land for his planned palatial complex, the Domus Aurea. However, was there a deeper reason for this, and other seemingly insane behaviours?
Nero is believed to have suffered from Neurosyphilis, a development of syphilis when it is untreated for many years. In effect, Nero went insane because of his sexual immorality. The burning of Rome was not his only insane act. Amongst other great sins, he killed his mother and kicked his pregnant wife to death for calling him a bad actor.
“What an artist dies in me!”
- Germanicus, Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus – Roman emperor, his final words before stabbing himself.
We see, in stark contrast to the Jewish people, the Romans were cursed by their own sexual immorality. God doesn’t actually have to do anything actively to punish those who reject his laws, or bless those who follow them: much of it comes down to consequences, good and bad, that He built into the nature of the universe He created.
IN THE WORLD
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
- Romans 12:2 (HCSB)
God gives us clear instructions in His word as to how we are to deal with the world: We are not to conform to it (Romans 12:1-2), to battle against it (Ephesians 6:12), keep unstained from it (James 1:27), and not to love it (1 John 2:15-17).
Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything that belongs to the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.
- 1 John 2:15-17 (HCSB)
What is your moral compass set to, the world or God?
Here is what God says about a few significant topics of the day:
God is involved in our creation within the womb (Job 31:15; Psalms 22:9-10; Psalms 139:13-16; Isaiah 44:2; 44:24), and even before conception (Jeremiah 1:5). Abortion is therefore an act against the will of God. God also makes no distinction between in utero developmental stages, such as foetal disc or foetus, but even from the moment of conception (Luke 1:36) refers to babies as “man,” “woman,” “child,” “son,” “daughter,” “baby,” “infant,” and so on, or as being in the womb (Isaiah 49:5; Luke 1:15; Galatians 1:15). Therefore, no exception can be drawn between the killing of a foetus, and the murder (Genesis 9:6; Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 27:25; Proverbs 6:16-17) of a human after birth.
The Lord hates six things; in fact, seven are detestable to Him: arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,
- Proverbs 6:16-17 (HCSB)
We are not to kill anyone because God made us in His image (Genesis 9:6; Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 27:25; Proverbs 6:16-17).
Whoever sheds man’s blood, his blood will be shed by man, for God made man in His image.
- Genesis 9:6 (HCSB)
Marriage is between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:18, 22; Ephesians 5:23).
Then the Lord God made the rib He had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man.
- Genesis 2:22 (HCSB)
Marriage is between one man and one woman (Gen 2:24; Ephesians 5:23).
This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.
- Genesis 2:24 (HCSB)
Lusting at a woman is the same as actual adultery (Matthew 5:28). We are not to commit adultery (Exodus 20:14; Proverbs 6:25, 26; Matthew 5:28; Romans 1:24; Ephesians 5:3).
But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
- Matthew 5:28 (HCSB)
We are not to kill anyone because God made us in His image, this includes ourselves: Suicide is self-murder. (Genesis 9:6; Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 27:25; Proverbs 6:16-17).
Do not murder.
- Exodus 20:13 (HCSB)
We are not to commit adultery (Exodus 20:14; Proverbs 6:25, 26; Matthew 5:28; Romans 1:24; Ephesians 5:3).
Do not commit adultery.
- Exodus 20:14 (HCSB)
So I ask you again, what is your moral compass set to, the world or God? Reflect on the scriptures above. Have you been swayed by the well-intentioned arguments of atheist intellectuals, vote seeking politicians, or agenda perusing minority groups? Take some time to think about this and the potential consequences of your choice. Even a Christian of many years can slowly be seduced by cleaver arguments and the persistent bombardment of counter-God points of view. However, we have to make a definitive decision, one way or the other. There really is no fence sitting.
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.
- Revelation 3:16 (HCSB)
If you choose God, then well done. You are one of the few. It is a hard and lonely path you have chosen and you have your work cut out for you. It is not easy going against the world. People will scoff at you. They will judge you. Some will even attack you if you speak out against their sin (John 15:19). God warns us about this, He says that there will always be wicked and evil people (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2) that will hate us without cause (John 17:14; 15:18-19, 25), will think we are strange for not joining them in sin (1 Peter 4:4), and will speak out against us (1 Peter 4:4) and ridicule us (1 Peter 4:14). God even tells us how to handle it (1 Peter 4:14-16).
If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. None of you, however, should suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or a meddler. But if anyone suffers as a “Christian,” he should not be ashamed but should glorify God in having that name.
- 1 Peter 4:14-16 (HCSB)
If you are not sure, if some of God’s laws just don’t feel right to you, that’s okay. God knows that we are human and that we sometimes reason battles with logic and insufficient information in our heads. He warns us about false profits (Matthew 7:15-20) and scoffers (Jude 1:18). He also gives examples and shows us a way through. If you lack faith to believe, then pray to Jesus for greater faith (Mark 9:24). If you lack the wisdom to understand God’s word, then pray for wisdom (James 1:5).
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, whom gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.
- James 1:5 (HCSB)
One word of caution: this newly found morality is not a license to go around judging others. God’s moral law is not a hammer with which to bash others (Matthew 7:1-4; Luke 6:41-42). It is a standard we must aspire too (1 John 2:6). God knows that we can never actually achieve it (Romans 3:23): that was, after all, the whole point of sending us Jesus.
Do not judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with the judgment you use, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye but don’t notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye?
- Matthew 7:1-4 (HCSB)
If you don’t know Jesus personally, but maybe you are intrigued by the wisdom of God's morals and want to know more, then please, I invite you to say this prayer:
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Saviour. In the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.”
Now find a local biblical based church and give them a call or send them an email. I know they would love to hear from you. God bless you.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), Copyright©1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.
The Oxford Dictionary, Copyright©2013 Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
Stanczyk, Henryk Prof. (12 December 2008). Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero. Dodo Press. ISBN 101406574945.
Germanicus, Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus (37-68). Roman Emperor between 13 October 54 and 9 June 68.
Written by Simon Geddes ©2013
Published at www.faithwriters.com on the 6th of November 2013
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