Does Morality Matter?
Relative truth and relative morality have become increasingly popular ideas in the world today. Younger generations are being regularly taught these ideas through educational systems and popular media without even realizing it. The idea that morality is subjective and is up to the interpretation of the individual is a falsehood that is creating a world of chaos in our culture. We are living in a post-objective truth society in which we can create truth and morality for ourselves. In 2018, a Barna study, showed 24% of Gen-Z (those born 1999-2015) strongly agreed that what is morally right and wrong changes over time based on society. This number is double (12%) that of Boomers (born 1946-1964). Notably, this number only includes those who strongly agree, not those who also somewhat agree that morality can change. In the same study, 21% of Gen-Z also stronglyagreed that they are their own moral authority. These statistics are reflective of the moral slide over the past 60 years that is becoming increasingly noticeable in the current cultural climate. Consequently, it shows no signs of slowing down.
If we choose to accept this idea of subjective morality, we have absolutely no ground to stand on. What’s right to me could be wrong to you, and vice versa. You have no right to say that I am wrong in my actions and I have no right to say you are wrong in yours. This moral ideology is referred to as “relativism.” This thinking creates a world of trouble and completely contradicts the teachings of Scripture. The Christian worldview and relativism are at great odds with each other. The question is, “as believers, how should we view morality?” Let’s look to Scripture.
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Paul tells us that God’s Word is useful for teaching, correcting and training. This implies that there is something objective about what is being taught. It’s God’s standard, not ours. The doctrines of inspiration, inerrancy and authority of Scripture are foundational to Christianity. If we do not affirm that the Bible is inspired by God, only teaches what is true, and is authoritative over our lives, we can turn the Word of God into whatever we like. We become the god over our own lives and our own moral authority. This isn’t only a secular or atheistic idea in today’s world, it has even crept into the teachings within the church. This has led to the Progressive Christianity movement. Progressive Christians twist the Word of God to their liking leading many away from biblical truth while simultaneously giving them a false sense of security in Christ. One gets all the benefits of following Christ, yet none of the responsibility of being required to uphold His commands.
Okay, but didn’t Jesus free us from the law?
In Matthew 5:17 Jesus says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Through the work of Jesus, he brought freedom from the chains of the civil and ceremonial components of the Mosaic Law. Regardless, Christians today are still under an obligation to uphold the moral law of God. We know this through the many teachings of Jesus on obedience to the commandments. Just two verses later in Matthew 5:19 He says, “Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” The culture today does just that: relaxes the commands of God. Jesus not only affirmed the moral law of God, but at times, He even took it a step further. Later in the same Sermon on the Mount He teaches, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:27-28). Jesus stressed throughout His ministry the importance of following God’s commands. Additionally, He showed that obedience helps give insight to our love for Him and true salvation. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Ultimately, our obedience to the moral law of God, is a reflection of our heart. When we have been truly saved and regenerated, our desires, passions and motives begin to change. We no longer view obedience to God as an obligation or a burden, but rather, we see His law for what it truly is: freedom and protection. God’s law gives us freedom from our sins and freedom from the ever-changing moral standards of the world. It also gives us protection from much pain and suffering that comes from our sinfulness. This isn’t to say that we won’t face suffering in this world, because we will, but God’s commands are to help protect us from many of life's pain that are a result of man’s sinfulness.
We are called to be image bearers of Christ and to point others to Him. We do this through knowing His Word and being obedient to His Word. Through sanctification, we grow in spiritual maturity and seek to be more like Christ. When we align ourselves with the teachings of Scripture, our witness becomes more effective and others will see the love of Christ in us.
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3)
Hunter is the Director of Young Adults Ministry at The Journey Church in Lebanon, TN. He is married to Cheyenne and has one child, Lofton.
- Abiding: Moving From Simple Belief To Walking In Communion With Christ, Persevering: Moving From Cultural Conformity To Being Rooted In The Timeless Truth Of Scripture