Morals are objective, not subjective. This truth means that morals are discovered, not invented. If I walk in my backyard and find a four-leaf clover, it’s not because I imagined it, argued it into existence, or just decided that there should be four-leaf clovers. Morals just “are.” They don’t change due to circumstances or human will. They exist whether I believe in them or not. Morals are axiomatic, meaning that they are self-evident. If someone argues against a moral truth, it is not the truth that is destroyed but the person. I think we often forget that morals are as unchangeable as the God that established them.
Truth is True Wherever it is Found
Because morals (e.g., don’t lie, cheat, steal, covet, murder, etc.) are objective truths, it shouldn’t surprise us when we see them pop up in other religions. Often, an argument against Christianity is that a person can find the same morals in Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. It’s vital for us not to confuse morality with Salvation. Morality cannot save a person. (for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God – Romans 3:23) Only Jesus saves. It is not by works but by God’s grace that we are saved. Being moral falls into the category of works.
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,1 Timothy 2:5
Jesus Enables Us to Live Morally
Does God require us to be moral? Yes. Has there ever been anyone that was perfectly moral? Only one, Jesus, the Messiah. Jesus is what makes Christianity unique. It is not morality that makes the life of a believer profoundly different from all others. Instead, it is the spiritual character of God in us that sets Christianity apart from all other religions and traditions of man. That profound distinctiveness comes from Jesus and is formed in us through the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. We live moral lives because God lives in us. We do not have God in us because we are moral.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23
If you find yourself in a group conversation and someone begins to speak of the merits of Buddism, don’t be shaken by words that seem profound. They may be profound, but they do not save. True profoundness is found in a man rising from the dead after paying the debt of your sin, reconciling you to God, and then, through His resurrection, making a way for you to be resurrected and live with God in heaven forever. That is the Spirit of God at work in your life by God’s grace, through faith.
Notice the difference between moralism and life in the Spirit. Comparing these is like comparing apples versus oranges. Are we to live a moral life? Of course. Are we able to? We come close, but only by God living in us and transforming us by the renewing of our minds. Even then, sometimes, we fail. But our failure is like us tripping on the straight and narrow road. We fall on the road; we don’t fall off. And God has made a way for us to be forgiven and restored. To get up and continue on that narrow road.
In closing, I want to make it clear that it is not how many times you pray each day or in what direction you pray (Daniel notwithstanding), or what unique clothing you wear that decides where you will spend eternity. That decision is this: who is your master?
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