Morality, Immorality, and Law

 

There is probably near universal acceptance of the idea that ďLawĒ should not be immoral. But there is surprisingly little consensus when it comes to what is moral and what is immoral! Still we can pretty much agree on the definition of moral and immoral. Moral is good/right behavior and of course immoral is bad/wrong behavior. Stealing is immoral but preventing a robbery is moral. For my purposes today there will be no in-between. All human behavior and even thought will be either immoral or moral.Put another way: If something is not immoral then by default it is moral.

 

There is a problem here: What is moral and what is immoral and how or who decides? The Bible has something to say abut that question.

*†† (Prov 21:2 RSV)Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.

*†† (Judg 17:6 RSV)In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.

Clearly if moral and immoral are to have any meaning at all the meaning has to have some objective basis: Some basis that is based on absolute unchanging principles. Ordinary people, that is to say all people, are obviously excluded. So whom then can we turn to? The answer is of course God. It matters not what we think but only what does God think. What has he said about a particular matter? The Bible has an answer for nearly any question that can be considered in the realm of morality. Letís look at a few verses that illustrate that God is right. God is always right!

*†† (Psa 19:7-10 RSV)The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; {8} the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; {9} the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever; the ordinances of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. {10} More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.

*†† (2 Ki 10:30 RSV)And the LORD said to Jehu, "Because you have done well in carrying out what is right in my eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab according to all that was in my heart, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel."

*†† (1 Ki 15:4-5 RSV)Nevertheless for David's sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him, and establishing Jerusalem; {5} because David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

*†† (Exo 15:24-26 RSV)And the people murmured against Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?" {25} And he cried to the LORD; and the LORD showed him a tree, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the LORD made for them a statute and an ordinance and there he proved them, {26} saying, "If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give heed to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases upon you which I put upon the Egyptians; for I am the LORD, your healer."

Now letís relate what we have seen to law, law that man has made. Man made law should be based on Godly principles. Throughout most of American history most of our laws were based on those principle. Itís true that the efforts were sometimes misguided but at least the effort was made to find Godly principles that applied One example was divorce. For many years in many states the only recognized justification was adultery. Another example is abortion. Yet another example was discrimination against various homosexual acts. The list goes on and on.

 

What should all of this mean to us? First we should choose for our leaders God fearing men and women. Second, we should resist and challenge any law that is immoral as determined by the word of God. We can do this by refusing to reelect people that donít live up to Godly standards in their lives or in the legislation they pass. They should be able to defend their actions base on the Word of God.

 

We can refuse to obey laws that are clearly against the word of God. This is civil disobedience and can be costly in many ways. It cost Martin Luther King Jr. his life. Peter made the point very well when he saidÖ (Acts 5:29 NIV)Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men!Ē

 

We need to resist evil whenever and wherever we encounter it. That may be in school or on the job or in conversation with others. This resistance can be difficult because you run the risk of public disapproval or shunning. Thank God that Jesus and the Apostles were more afraid of disappointing God than disappointing acquaintances.

*†† (Mark 8:38 NIV)If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."

Put another way.

*†† (James 4:7-10 NIV)Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. {8} Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. {9} Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. {10} Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

 

Do not fear to discriminate. Do not fear to judge. Discrimination and judgment may be inappropriate at times but required at other times. Learn the difference! Why should the ungodly make the rules? Why should we act as if their opinions carry the same weight as the word of God? Edmund Burke put it very succinctly when he said, ďAll that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.Ē

 

Christians are losing the cultural war in America. We are losing it not because we do nothing but because we donít do enough of the things we should be doing. We need to be bold and if being bold is offensive to some, then so be it.