Morality = right behavior.
God calls the people of all cultures to live with right behavior. He desires for the laws of nations to uphold high moral standards. He desires for parents and teachers — and everyone else — to teach people to live moral lives. In a culture of morality, God’s Word is the standard by which we live.
Consider these four principles related to morality.
1. The right way to live is written in stone. God gave to Moses the ten commandments — chiseled in stone — which were the foundation for the civil and moral laws in the Old Testament, and they are the foundation for the way we are to live today. [I devoted an entire post to the ten commandments HERE if you’d like to check it out.]
We are to put God first, have no idols, only use the Lord’s name in an honorable way, rest from our work and worship the Lord one day per week, and honor our parents. The commandments continue: do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness and do not covet. See Exodus 20:1-17 to read them in their entirety.
God’s Word is the standard by which we should live and by which our laws should be written.
2. The right way to live is written on our hearts. Not only has God written His law for us to read, He has also written His law on our hearts. It is no surprise that there is amazing consistency among cultures around the world regarding laws.
For instance, cultures around the world consider theft to be a crime. How would all of these cultures have such consistency? The answer is simple: God has written His laws on the hearts of all people. We know what right behavior looks like.
14 So, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, instinctively do what the law demands, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences confirm this. Their competing thoughts will either accuse or excuse them 16 on the day when God judges what people have kept secret, according to my gospel through Christ Jesus.
3. Jesus shows us the right way to live. He described through His teaching the right way for all people to live (see Matthew chapters 5-7, for example). When He was asked which is the greatest commandment, He says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength… and love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:35-40).
More than that, Jesus demonstrated the right way to live everywhere He went. He was the perfect representation of what it means to love God wholeheartedly and to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus lived a perfect life in every way (Hebrews 4:15).
4. When we do what is good, we give evidence that Jesus is our Lord. Certainly the Bible is clear that a person is saved by grace alone through faith alone, not by their works. The Bible is also clear that a person who is truly saved will demonstrate their faith by good works.
8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.
When we think about how we relate to the culture around us, we should always seek to do what is good. When Paul wrote to his friend Titus, the pastor of a church that was located in a very immoral part of the Roman Empire, he advised Titus on how to instruct the church family.
1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to slander no one, to avoid fighting, and to be kind, always showing gentleness to all people. 3 For we too were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by various passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, detesting one another. 4 But when the goodness of God and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us— not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. 6 He poured out this Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that having been justified by His grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.
These words are timely for us today. In the midst of an immoral culture of our own, we are to live a life of morality. Jesus will help us. We are to be ready to do every good work. We are to live a life of high moral standards.
God has saved us by His mercy, washing us clean of our old way of life. Through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we live a life of righteousness, a life of high moral standards, demonstrating that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord.
Editor’s Note: This is post #6 of 7 in the series We God’s People are the Conscience of the Culture. Click the links below to view the other posts.