Towards a Biblical Morality
Dr. Valson Abraham
II Kings 22 records how young King Josiah ascended the throne following years of idolatry, a time of darkness when even Solomon’s temple, once dedicated to God’s glory, became filled with pagan idols. One day, Hilkiah the high priest found the sacred scriptures in the temple, forgotten and neglected over many years. This discovery sparked a revival, a forsaking of idolatry and return to the true and living God.
How does this story apply to us today?
Most of us have little doubt that our culture is in trouble. Like those Israelites of old, our own society is increasingly bowing to modern idols of money, sex and power. Within our society, we see the growing temptations of the internet, Bollywood and sports arenas. Even within the church, young people are captured by multiple temptations. The teachings of the Bible are forgotten and unknown by many people who do what is right in their own eyes.
Today, many Christians yearn for a society based upon “biblical values.” Older generations may even wonder: is the younger generation hardening its heart against Jesus Christ?
I sympathize with the desire of fellow believers for “biblical values,” but when we regularly emphasize “biblical values,” we really preach a return to law. Paul warns us in Romans that overemphasis on the law arouses our sinful passions (Romans 7:5), so we should expect a negative response of the general culture to “biblical values.”
No one, including church people, is comfortable with God portrayed first and foremost as a judge upon those who do wrong. At some level, we all know we are sinners before a holy God, that we deserve hell. But if all we hear from Christian preachers is moral law, it will only raise a dread of God and confirm non-Christian belief in Christians as “judgmental” people.
So what is the answer? How do we achieve a society based upon biblical values? Do we launch a great moral movement? Do we march in the streets to call the nation to biblical morality?
As American pastor and author Mark Galli has said, the Bible is “not so much about living right as about being right with God.” In other words, how do we become right with a holy God without becoming bogged down with a list of rules and regulations? Such things always lead to legalism and hypocrisy. If the first word that people think about Christians is “judgmental,” we must ask ourselves whether the non-Christian world is really hearing the gospel, even from evangelical believers.
The gospel that Paul and the apostles preached won people to Christ right and left because they saw the power of God transform lives of even “impossible” people. Within thirty years, the gospel had spread from a handful of Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem throughout Asia Minor and the European continent. Jesus was born and lived in Asia, so why has He not been generally received in India and Asia as a fellow Asian?
There are complex reasons for this, but I believe an overlooked reason is that many evangelical churches dilute the original biblical gospel that changes lives.
In what ways do we dilute the gospel? In this article, we can only hint at this, but I am hoping it will cause all of us to examine ourselves honestly before the Lord, that He might reveal to us forgotten and neglected truths.
In his book, The Jesus Mission, Steven K. Scott has carefully isolated and studied 1,900 sayings of Jesus and discovered 27 impossible missions He undertook and accomplished in His time on earth.
All these 27 impossible and accomplished missions of Jesus make up the Good News. All these 27 impossible and accomplished missions enable us to become Christians and to live the Christian life with power to change our own lives, the lives of our families and the life of our society as a whole.
All these 27 impossible missions were accomplished through Jesus’ life, and at the cross and were confirmed by Jesus’ resurrection. The power to live out these accomplishments of Jesus is already available to each of us who follow Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit-that is, if we know what these accomplishments are and desire to see God help us work them into our lives.
When the world around us sees God working in us, they will want what we have, not because we are good but because God is good and gracious to help us live good lives.
This possibility terrifies Satan who works overtime
to blind the eyes of God’s children to the true
possibilities of faith in Jesus Christ. He does this by focusing our eyes upon lesser things, stirring up controversies, tempting Christians into sin—anything to obscure the full gospel from our sight and everyone else. All of these lesser things keep us from the full gospel.
How many evangelical churches know and regularly preach all these 27 impossible missions of Jesus? How many of these 27 impossible missions make up your own understanding and daily practice of the gospel in your own life?
A diluted gospel is a powerless gospel. A powerless gospel renders the church ineffective to transform lives and influence society. A powerless gospel impresses no one-not even Christians-not enough to tell anyone about it.
Paul sacrificed himself for the sake of the gospel. He said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel.” What about the gospel moved him to give his life for it? Why do such words ring foreign to so many Christians in our generation?
In addition to mourning our need for biblical morality in these confused times, let us learn how and why we as believers have lost so much of the gospel within the doors of our own churches. May we mourn the loss, repent before God and return to forgotten and neglected truths obscured by the enemy.
When we seek and preach the whole gospel as taught by Jesus Christ Himself, we will experience revival. Once again, we will influence society as Paul’s generation of believers did. The gospel will spread to the whole of India and beyond--and biblical values will quickly follow.
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Father God, forgive me, forgive all of us for not living as you intended as effective ambassadors for your Son, Jesus Christ, and the full gospel. Help me to know and live out the gospel as you meant it to be known and lived, that I will become an effective influence upon the world and among the people with whom I live, work and study. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.