Monday, August 17, 2009

We Can Know Right and Wrong

If Jesus said and did the things he said and did as they were recorded,
if He was more than just a good man, wise teacher, etc.
AND, assuming the honesty and accuracy of the New Testament writers, and proper transmission and translation of those writings,
THEN, we can know right and wrong. (we have a measure/standard by which to determine right and wrong)

Big questions in post-modern society include:
what's right? who knows? How do we determine? Who decides? etc.
regarding: marriage, sex, sexuality, abortion, euthanasia, life support, child discipline, lying, cheating, stealing, war, military service, politics, paying taxes, avoiding taxes, manipulating, taking advantage of, compensating employees, work ethic, charitable giving, drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography, dirty jokes, foul language, gossip, talebearing, slander, anger, retaliation, vengeance,
entertainment, ie: movies with foul language, sexual scenes, blasphemous themes, excessive violence; selfish behavior, over-eating, laziness, lustful thoughts, etc.

All these are moral questions we face today.

The questions are not new: John 18:28-38 "What is truth?"

QUESTION: Can we know answers regarding these things?
The atheist says there is no truth. There is nothing outside the physical universe.
The agnostic says there is truth but we can't know it.
Christianity (Biblical/New Testament) says there is something else out there and we can know truth because it has been revealed.

ANSWER: if the opening statements are true, then we CAN know MUCH!! Because we have the record.


Through Revelation and Record method
A. the illustration. God outside and independent from the universe.
B. the incarnation - Heb. 1:1-2 John 18:37 John 1:18
C. the documentation (record) Luke 1:1-4

Some other common methods of determining truth (moral behavior)
1. fabrication - making your own truth
2. assumption - "that's just what I believe" - without examining (has no basis)
3. intuition - That's how I feel
4. preference - that's what I like or what I want to be true
5. pragmatism - that's what works for me
6. tradition - that's what our people have always believed
7. consensus - that's what most people believe

NOTE: the inferiority of these methods compared to Revelation and Record.
QUESTION: what about:
1. reason? ans. a. we have limited knowledge.
b. flawed faculties - Jer. 17:9
2. intuition? If that worked, why would you ever lose in a casino??
3. conscience? this is good, but flawed. 1 Cor. 4:4
4. tradition? just because have always believed has no real foundation
5. consensus? - just because that's what most people believe does not make it accurate and true

These can be used and are valuable complements to revelation and record, BUT they are not the primary tools of determining moral truth..

#1. We have sufficient tools to determine moral truth.
Jesus left us with:
A. much information - issues He did deal with. Sometimes we have to search for the answers.
B. broad principles - Matt. 22:36-40 1 Cor. 8:8, 9, 12
C. the disciples a. to witness His words and what he thought
b. to expound on His words
D. the Holy Spirit - as personal helper, guide, teacher
E. the church (corporate body) - group decisions
F. endorsement in the Old Testament
Point being: by these we can question, examine, and KNOW ..... not all, but much!!!

#2. These rules (laws/moral truths) are eternal rules. True before creation, true after creation.
A. they are NOT arbitrary
B. they ARE absolute - for all people in all times
C. they are very, very consequential - Gal. 6:7-8 They are beneficial if we follow them, detrimental if we don't.

#3. These rules express God's will for your life.
You cannot separate these rules. They are NOT optional. They are not meant to "cramp" your life. John 10:10 Deut. 30:15, 19

#4. Violation of these rules is more than a mistake.
a mistake is: 2+2=5, spelling a word wrong, typo
It's a VIOLATION of the law. A conscious choice to disobey.
Here are some New Testament words: righteous/unrighteous lawful/unlawful godly/ungodly clean/unclean blessing/curse good/evil SIN/TRANSGRESSION/VIOLATION
Violation is NOT oops; it's "I choose to do wrong"

Our Primary Moral Problems

1. Ignorance - don't know what's in the Bible
2. Apathy - don't care what's in the Bible
3. Denial - know what's in there but won't admit it's there.
4. refusal - will not do that - rebellion
5. our sin nature - (inherent tendencies) - born with it.

Therefore: God has given us.......
1. A moral standard - a reliable measure based on Revelation and Record
2. A personal Savior - who came to save us from our sins

BUT: you must decide
you must choose
you must act on your choice(s)

No comments: