Morality and Churches
Pr. P. J. Daniel
Morality and Church are virtually two sides of a coin. Without the one the other is nil. Morality is the virtuous behavior, which every church member should practice in every day life. It is the principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior. Morality is derived from the Latin word ‘moralis’ literally means ‘manner’, ‘character’, or proper behavior. It is the “differentiation of intentions, decisions and actions between those that are distinguished as proper and those that are improper”. It is a set of personal or social standards for good or bad behavior and character.
Church is a called out group, separated from the world for a particular purpose. Though Church is in the world, it is not of the world. Apostle Paul entreats the believers not to be conformed to the world, but be transformed day by day by renewing the mind. At this juncture Christian ethics has its significance. It teaches how to live. It is important to learn Christian ethics, so that we can better know God’s will, and so that each day we can walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him (Colossians 1: 10).
The ultimate basis for Christian ethics is the moral character of God. God delights in His own moral character, which is supremely good, unchanging and eternal. His moral standards for human being flow from His moral character, and therefore they apply to all people in all cultures for all history. God is love, so He commands us to love each other (I John 4: 19). God is holy, so He commands us to be holy (1 Peter 1:15). He is merciful, so we should demonstrate mercy in our life (Luke 6: 36). Our God is truthful, so we should not bear false witness (Exodus 20: 16, Titus 1: 2) Christian ethics is the character of God, which should be reflected in the lives of a believer.
The goal of morality is to lead a life that glorifies God. “Do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10: 31), such a life will have Christ-like character. Such a life results in glorifying God, or it bears abundant fruit, which glorifies God. Such believer’s behavior glorifies God - they lead a life of obedience to God. They always retain a personal relationship with God.
The foremost purpose of Christianity is to reflect God’s character in and through us, which should shine as light in the darkened world. This present world is murky with full of immorality and wickedness, depravity and corruption, dissoluteness and debauchery.
As we know about morality, we confront with certain immoral and evil activities, which are prevalent in our society. The question is: can a believer practice such things? What does the Bible teaches about such activities. Some of such activities are dealt here with, whether a Christian can practice such things in their life or not.
Alcohol and Drugs
The Bible clearly forbids drunkenness and it contains frequent warnings against the danger of Alcohol. Though, certain people point out some references for positive use of alcohol, which are noted out of context. It is a definite command that no drunkard will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6: 10)
God’s moral standard in Scripture requires us to avoid longing for physical relationship with someone apart from being married to that person. Therefore, it is morally wrong, according to the Scripture, to create, acquire and view pornography, whose primary purpose is to arouse in people sexual desires that are contrary to God’s moral standards. It brings harmful results to people’s spiritual lives, their marriage and other relationships, and their community.
God’s original design is for human sexual conduct occurs only within the context of marriage between one man and one woman. Homosexual conduct is one of the several kinds of sexual relations outside of marriage that are prohibited in the Scripture. Apostle Paul vehemently commands that such kinds of sexual passions are shameful and contrary to the original plan of God (Romans 1: 26-27).
All human beings are made in the image of God and all have descended from Adam. The Bible provides no basis for the favoring or discrimination against any group of people on the basis of their racial backgrounds. All human beings are worthy of honor and respect. There are certain negative examples found in the Old Testament. But all such curses are remedied through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Those who are born in the family of God through Jesus Christ from any race or tribe have become the member of same family. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3: 27, 28)
Divorce and remarriage
God’s original plan is for lifelong, monogamous marriage. Divorce commonly brings many harmful consequences. In some situation God tolerated and regulated polygamy and divorce in the Old Testament. Jesus replied to them who have interrogated him “it was because of your hard heart Moses permitted you to divorce. But it was not this way from the beginning” (Matthew 19: 8). The New Testament never sanctions divorce unless on the account of adultery (Mathew 19: 9). Paul added “there is no irrevocable desertion as a second legitimate reason for divorce” (1 Corinthians 7: 12, 15) He affirms the teachings of Jesus on divorce in Romans 7: 2, 3. As long as the partners are alive, they cannot marry another one, which will be considered as adultery. If one of them dies, the other one is no longer bound to the covenant. So while one partner is alive remarriage is illegal and unbiblical and it is considered as adultery.
It is an unbiblical practice, and it is our duty to abolish abortion. Abortion is a practice of terminating pregnancy, but causes of miscarriage can be considered as natural. Any human skill used for terminating pregnancy is illegal and punishable before God. We know an embryo or fetus is a human with a right of life. So abortion is a type of murder. Every life is originated from God so we have no right to obliterate such Life. “Know that the Lord, He is God! It is he who made us, we are His people” (Psalms 100: 3). Throughout God’s Word it is clear that human life is precious to Him. So it is our duty and responsibility to protect life.
There are so many other such issues relevant in the present situation, but that will consume a lot of pages. A Christian is obliged to keep the word of God, and practice such morale in their life. We should show the light that we have received demonstrated to the murky world, which is full of immoralities. The church is the lamp-stand that should hold the lamp Jesus Christ to the World.