When right is right and wrong is wrong?

Australia has become an amoral society. Tim Keller claims: "We do not live in an immoral society—one in which right and wrong are clearly understood and wrong behavior is chosen. We live in an amoral society—one in which 'right' and 'wrong' are categories with no universal meaning, and everyone 'does what is right in his or her own eyes'."

Charlie, like many brought up in Christian homes, sent to a Christian school or home schooled, confesses: "I moved to Sin City get away from family and friends. I'd had a gut full of all their stupid rules and expectations. I was always being told how I should live, dress and to never see an R-rated. Moving to Sin City where no one knew me allowed me to live however I wanted."

Today Charlie, damaged by his expressions of freedoms, is trying to put together a meaningful life after an extended stay in a rehabilitation center. Charlie saw Christian moral absolutes as simply narrow, old-fashioned, oppressive and perhaps out-dated.

Twentieth century sceptics rejected the bodily resurrection of Jesus on the basis that "miracles just don't happen." Post-modernity declares there are no moral absolutes to discover, that truth and morality are only social group constructs. People reject the absolute claims of Christianity to be true truth by saying "absolutes" do not exist.

The foundation for Christian morality, what is right and what is wrong is anchored in the belief there is a God, Jesus is the Son of God, Jesus is who he claims when he says "I am the way, the truth, the life." The death of Jesus on the cross was for our sins, Jesus bodily rose again, and Jesus is Lord. That what the Bible says is true truth. What God declares as right and defines what is wrong is true.

First Corinthians 10 records the tragic results of what happens when a community rejects God's absolutes and becomes: idolaters, indulges in pagan revelry and their bodies were scattered over the desert; committed sexual immorality and twenty-three thousand died in a day; tested God and were killed by snakes or grumbled against God and were killed by the destroying angel. Right as defined by God is proven to be eternally right and wrong as stated by God proven to be wrong.

Then the Bible advises: "Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did . . . These are all warning markers—DANGER!—in our history books, recorded so that we don’t repeat their mistakes" 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11.

The issue is this: "Do I believe there is a God who has spoken in nonnegotiable absolutes?" "Yes." But I obey God because I am indebted to Him. "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age" Titus 2:11-12.

Dr Keith Graham

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