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The Matter Of Moral Absolutes

By Lois J. Stucky

    An article, "The Decline Of Absolute Truth," appearing in Intercessors For America Newsletter 4/2002, gives reason for strong prayer. The article states that recent research shows only a minority of Americans believe in the existence of absolute moral truth. These studies also found that less than one out of three claiming to be born-again Christians "adopt the notion of absolute truth." Some of us find this last statement especially disappointing, even tragic.

    We can expect it from humanists, for humanism opposes Christianity and that which is morally oriented. Humanism promotes among other things, abortion on demand, decriminalization of prostitution, approval of homosexuality and lesbianism, leniency on pornography, child’s rights over parents’ rights, legalizing drugs, gambling and euthanasia.

    But how grievous to be told that many claiming to be born-again Christians do not believe in absolute moral truth! How can this be? Some of their values apparently come from within themselves or from the world instead of from God and His Word.

    When God called forth a people to whom He would make known His ways, He spoke to them through Moses, saying: "What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?" (Deut. 10:12-13). God at that time gave them the ten commandments with clear moral absolutes which have never been revoked. Jesus reinforced them in His ministry. For example, He said to the rich young man of Luke 18: "Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother" (v.20).

    And remember Jesus’ warning to us as He concluded His sermon on the Mount with its many clear teachings on the values of the heavenly kingdom. The wise man who heard and obeyed Jesus’ words, was building on a firm foundation that would endure to the end. The foolish man who heard but did not obey these teachings was on a weak foundation such as shifting sand. The end was great destruction. See Matthew 7:24-27.

    A truly born-again Christian believes that the Bible is the Word of the true and the living God. He or she believes John 3:16, that gem which many of us learned and loved even as a child: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life." If we believe God’s Word for the saving of our souls, we must continue to believe it and rely on it wholly and obey it fully for the life we are to live as a Christian. The author of Hebrews says of Jesus, "He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Heb. 5:9). We ought to say as did the apostles: "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).

    The Apostle Paul says of the Christian: "God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have [now] obeyed from the heart that form of [teaching] which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" (Rom. 6:17-18). There is no room for middle ground. We are either servants of sin, or we are free and servants of righteousness.

    The Apostle Paul speaks of our calling as Christians as a holy calling: God "hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Tim. 1:9). We are called to live holy, uncompromising lives, walking in obedience to God’s Word. What the Bible calls sin, we should call sin. Let the world reject and ridicule and accuse us of discrimination, but let us be true to God and His Word. Let us do it with a humble heart and not a "holier than thou" attitude, for our calling and enabling are not according to our works but according to God’s great and marvelous grace to us. We walk in the footsteps of the meek and lowly One who said, "He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me is not worthy of me" (Mt. 10:38). Let us not be ashamed before men to strive to pattern our life after that of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Let us not waver, depending on the situation or the company.

    The Apostle Paul also speaks of our high calling: "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14). His eye was single and was on the goal, and he held back nothing in striving toward it. To know better this One whom he loved and esteemed above all others was Paul’s passion. In this perilous hour there are many and strong temptations to us to let down the standards. Remember, ours is a high calling for ours is an exalted, holy Lord, excellent in all ways and worthy of our best and our all. Who of us can say we are totally obedient, but our hearts desire and strive to be so. And when we fall into sin we have His Word: "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy" (Prov. 28:13).

The Law of the Lord Is Perfect

    The Apostle Paul exhorts us, "Brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions [teachings] which ye have been taught" (2 Thes. 2:15). Psalm 19:7-11 emphasizes to us how alive, how precious, how vital is God’s Word through which we are taught:

    "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward."

    How foolish it is that man opposes or compromises God’s excellent Word! "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded and it stood fast" (Ps. 33:6-9).

    What power, what authority is in the Word of God, and it "standeth for ever" (v. 11). Opponents and compromisers of God’s Word, in fact, all of us should consider seriously Peter’s words: "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you" (1 Pet. 1:24-25). Long after man "lies silent in the grave," God’s Word will be preaching/teaching as eloquently and as powerfully and authoritatively as ever, and it will be the same message He committed to men of old. It is the everlasting Word of the eternal God!