A few years ago when we lived in Tennessee, the state’s legislature was busy trying to develop an ethics policy offering guidelines to help lawmakers.
When the only objective standard ― the word of God ― is ignored, then people do what is right to them (Judges 17:6). Solomon wrote, “There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Proverbs 14:12).
Philosophers have gravitated toward utilitarianism and humanism, purely subjective ways of attempting to understand ethics. Such attempts are unreliable and doomed to failure.
What are Bible ways of insuring proper conduct? Let’s rely on the right kinds of tests.
- The Scripture test: what does the Bible say? (Galatians 4:30)
- The Influence test: how will my conduct influence others? We are always obliged to consider others (1 Corinthians 8:9-13).
- The Conscience test: a conscience trained in the word of God will provide an alarm alerting us to right and wrong (1 Peter 3:16).
- The Evangelism test: Will my conduct impair my ability to teach the lost?
- The Association test: Christians are to shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:15). Will my conduct keep my light from shining?
- The Stewardship test: Will my conduct prevent me from serving God wholly and faithfully?
If every choice was easy, there would be no need for a standard. God’s standards are absolute and discernible. Why not live up to Jesus’ standard of godly living?
[With thanks to Wendell Winkler]