31 Jul The Obligations of Knowing Christian Ethics
* Christian Ethics is our christian obligations to the greatest commandment, i.e. to love God and our neighbour.
* Ultimate Scriptural Authority in Christian Ethics.
* Not only restrictions (Thou shall nots), but also positive moral duties (Thou shall).
* Man is God created moral agent to ACT ON what we know to be right and wrong.
* Yet, a society which over-emphasize tolerance make living out the truth difficult.
* If we fail to act on Christian ethics, Christians around us will slowly accept ideas which comes from syncretism.
Christian Ethics and Humility.
<Luke 18:9-14>9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
* Christian Ethics can be easily misunderstood as legalistic in such passages.
* The parable was not meant to put down the importance of Christian ethics, but self-righteousness and spiritual superiority.
* Grace is not meant to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.
* The tax collector beat (smote upon) his breast.
* He knew his sin – the sin of his heart.
* Once we know the fallen condition of our heart, we will not boast about our works, but God’s grace.
- But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me” <1 Cor 15:10>.
* Grace reduces us to humility, not spiritual superiority.
* Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life <1 Ti 1:15-16>.
Obligations to our fellow brethren.
<1 Thes 5:12-13>
12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.
1) Expectation and response towards leaders.
* John Calvin: “Work is an essential aspect of the ministry, and there is no place for a lazy pastor”.
* Demand our leaders to speak the truth in love, and shepherd us by his hard work.
* Acknowledge and hold our leaders in the highest regard in love because of their work.
* Understand the need for Pastoral Authority.
<1 Thes 5:14-15>
14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
2) Love and Orderliness among brethren.
(1) Warn those who are idle and disruptive (Or translated as: unruly).
(2) Encourage the disheartened.
(3) Help the weak.
(4) Showing patience to everyone.
(5) Seek no revenge but goodness.
** Balanced and proactive view of Christian Ethical Living **
Obligations to the non-believing world.
* The world is imposing their moral views upon us these days.
* For conscience sake, Christians have to state their moral stand.
* <1 Peter 2:12>: 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
* <1 Peter 3:15-16>: 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
1) Our good Christian behavior.
2) Learn to give the reason for your faith. (Or make a defense for your faith).
3) Strive to keep a clear conscience.