Morality with God – Isaiah 5:20a,23

Moral Relativism Is Abhorrent To God

20 Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
but deny justice to the innocent.

Opposing Opinions

Free will is a gift and a curse.  It allows us to both make decisions in life, and have opinions, that are far outside the will and ways of God.  The author of the Book of Romans gives us some insight into how this process occurs:

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

The first steps are:

  1. Ignoring God and his commands
  2. Belief that God does not exist
  3. Belief that Man’s deductions and interpretations of life are correct
  4. The worship of the Creation rather than the Creator

Moral Morass

The author of the Book of Romans now breaks it down for us.  Once God is removed from the picture, absolute Truth is no longer a possibility in their minds.  Given that opinions and desires change from time to time, as well as from individual to individual, people no longer adhere to Truth and Righteousness, as they have no external, immutable standard with which to base any semblance of morality upon.

Morality is now subject to the whims of man’s depravity, and thus, moral relativism is born.  What is right for you may not be right for me, but I must tolerate (read: agree with) whatever YOU think is right, even though YOU may not have to tolerate what I believe is right.  As such, truth no longer holds any value, as it has no basis with which it can be moored and evaluated.

The next steps are as follows:

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

After abandoning God, the strongest desire that God has placed in mankind is corrupted:

  1. God withdraws His hand from guidance in man’s sexual desires
  2. People engage in sexual ways that deviate greatly from the pattern that God set forth in the Bible.  This step involves sexual relationships that occur between men and women:
    1. Swinging
    2. Adultery
    3. Lewdness
    4. Orgies
    5. Etc.
  3. As time goes on, even more people worship the creation rather than the Creator

Pushing further, Man delves deeper into sexual unrighteousness:

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Being unable to satisfy their desires with the opposite sex (natural relations, as described by Paul the Apostle), they now choose same-sex partners with which to satisfy their ever-increasing desires and lusts.  We see this in the world today, but this is not the first time that sexual depravity has been reported in history:

  • Solomon reported, and rightly so, that there is nothing new under the sun.
  • Lot dealt with this issue during his days (including his daughters’ unrighteous acts of incest)
  • Amnon took his sister Tamar
  • Paul witnessed them during the Roman Empire
  • Monarchs and their families have been dealing with incest for generations (in order to keep the leadership in the existing families

Once they have embraced sexual impurity, the gateway to complete depravity is opened:

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

After the people become sexually “liberated”, they become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.  They don’t just do them; they approve of those that do the same.  Because of this, justice is no longer to be found in them.

Bought with Bribes

The Bible has quite a bit to say about taking and giving bribes.  God does not approve of bribery.  Yet, once God has given people over to a depraved mind, the idea that accepting and giving bribes is now excusable and may even become the way to do business.  Truth and honor have no part in the life of people who have been given over to their shameful lusts and desires.

Since they have abandoned the belief that God exists, provides for them, and that they are accountable to Him, they begin to believe (and as their viewpoint excludes God, it appears to them to be valid) that they have to take care of themselves because no one else will.  This opens the door to justifying all unrighteousness for the sake of self-preservation.

Inexcusable Injustice

Now that people have been compromised by accepting bribes, if there are laws against such things, they can be blackmailed to do what others want them to do.  Justice has been corrupted.  People who were once stalwarts of truth crumble in light of the possible exposure of their misdeeds.  The very people who provided the opportunity and pressure to cave are now the very people who threaten others’ livelihoods and loved ones if they don’t comply.  We begin to see where people who have always been strong in conviction do something that is antithetical to their stated and previously lived-out life.

Justice is now bought and sold.  The rich and powerful get a pass for unrighteous behavior, while the lowly and poor are given the maximum penalty allowed.  This truly becomes a two-tiered justice system.  Those who agree with the people running the country are given special privilege, and those who dissent are destroyed.  The courts are used as a battering ram to financially destroy their opponents, incarcerate the righteous, and provide such terrible consequences that anyone with lesser character will be easily cowed into silence or into publicly agreeing with their world view (if only in words).

To God, who is Holy and Righteous, this must be infuriating.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  What or whom is our basis for truth?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are full of mercy and compassion.  Yet You allow us to go our own way.  You seek after us and watch expectantly for us to return, even though you know the outcome of all things.  You are to be praised and glorified forever.  Father, help me to be strong and to reject any bribery that is offered to me.  In all my ways, keep me from sinning against You.  Help me to keep You in mind at all times.  As I am pressured by people and circumstances in life, give me strength to resist and to stand fast in Your Word and in Your character.  Deliver me from my enemies, and thwart their every effort to oppose You and Your people.  Guard me and guide me this day, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Sanctification with God – Colossians 3:5-7

Be Less Like the World and More Like God

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.

Deadly Detriments

Everyone seems to know what Christians are against.  So, why do we still keep doing what say we are against?  We know that it is our sin nature.  But has the Word of the Living God pierced your heart to the point where you say with disgust and revolt, “I just CANNOT do this anymore!”?  So, what are some of the worldly attitudes that Christians are told to stop walking in?

  • Sexual Immorality
    • In the Greek, porneian.  It’s from this word that we get our word pornography.  It is unnatural (not-God-approved) sexual conduct. God has sanctioned sexual conduct within the bounds of marriage to illustrate His model of love and physical gratification through mutual submission of a man (humans born with XY chromosomes) and a woman (humans born with XX chromosomes) in a covenant relationship with each other and to Himself.
    • If we are involved in sexual conduct outside those parameters, it is time to confront ourselves and bring it to God who, through His word, will instruct us through His Holy Word by the Holy Spirit in proper conduct towards others and ourselves in this area of life.
  • Impurity
    • In the Greek, akatharsian.  We get our word catharsis from it.  In this case, it is a wrongful filling of ourselves (a- being the opposite, yielding a filling up rather then an emptying), in this case, a lack of purity.  We are to experience God’s character.  How can we do that when will fill ourselves with impurity?
  • Lust
    • In the Greek, pathos epithumian, or passionate, emotional desire.  The outcome of this is best illustrated in the story of Amnon and Tamar.  Amnon become so obsessed with sister Tamar (his desire to have her sexually) that he made himself ill.  It grew until he finally acted upon it and raped her.  Then, after he molested her, he hated her even more than he previously desired to have her.  Lust is one of the desires of the heart that is never filled, and whose outcome is often not what is advertised when contemplating and indulging the desire.
    • Once lust grows in the heart it always seeks more and more until action is inevitable.  Lust can truly consume a person.
  • Evil Desires
    • In the Greek, kakEn.  Strong’s Notes indicates that this is “worthless (intrinsically, such; whereas [this word] properly refers to effects [of worthlessness]), i.e. (subjectively) depraved, or (objectively) injurious.” Brackets and text within brackets added for clarification.
    • God builds up, but evil desires destroy not only the person that harbors and exhibits them, but those whom that person interacts.
  • Greed
    • In the Greek, pleanexion.  It means more-having, or desiring more and more.  It is not necessarily covetousness, but rather a lack of contentment with what a person already has, and the desire to increase whatever it is that is seen as insufficient.

We are told something interesting about these.  The Greek word for “which” is  hEtis, and means “which-any” or “any/all of which”.  And God, through Paul, classifies them as idolatry.

Walking in Wrath

Paul goes on to say that these are some of the reasons why the wrath of God is coming.  When we engage in these, we are denying the character and truth of God, for ALL human beings are made in the image of God, and are to be the image-bearers of God’s character in this life (and throughout eternity).

Glorious Growth

We all fall short of the glory of God.  We are told to repent.  As part of repentance, we need to introspectively examine our lives to see if we are engaging in, holding onto, in agreement with, or otherwise not completely rejecting as evil the things that God holds to be loathsome.  To be certain, cultivating these attitudes (aligning our attitudes with the attitudes of God) takes time, determination, and spending time reading, reflecting upon, and praying about God’s Holy Word.  In this way, our minds will be transformed through alignment with God’s thoughts and ways.

It is then that as living sacrifices, we will be less inclined to squirm off the altar when we face trials and difficulties in this life.  But be of good cheer!  We have a Holy High Priest who sits at the right hand of God praying for us and our success in this!

A Qualifying Question

So, let’s ask ourselves a question:  Am I spending time each day (each week?) to see if I am harboring a positive, or even neutral, attitude toward the things that repulse God?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You delight in Your children, and You have chosen not to leave us nor forsake us, even when we fail.  Strengthen me this day as I face new and existing challenges that stretch my faith and sometimes, even my ability to breathe from moment to moment.  Guard me, guide me, forgive me, and restore me as I navigate this world and my feet become dirty.  Wash me clean with the precious blood of Your Perfect Son, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  And when I fall, pick me up, dust me off, wipe my tears, and carry me until I can begin to crawl again.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?