Posts from — May 2012
The idea of moral relativism has been around for centuries, if not millenia. What’s good for you is good for you, what’s bad for me is bad for me. We can all do whatever we want, there is no good and no bad, only how we perceive it or think about it in our minds. There is no black or white, only gray.
“For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – William Shakespeare – Hamlet
Moral Relativism: Definition: 1) The philosophy or belief that there is no absolute value of right or wrong, and that correct moral behavior is personalized to the individual and varies based upon that person’s culture, experience and circumstances. 2) Moral Relativism can also be applied to whole societies allowing for different moral values and laws to vary based upon geographic location (i.e. country, state, city, village). 3) The opposite of Moral Relativism is Moral Absolutism which is the belief that there are immutable moral laws of right and wrong that should be applied to all people regardless of location, culture, experience and circumstances.
In the Bible the Apostle Paul states in his writings to the Corinthians, “All things are lawful unto me”. So is he agreeing with the idea of moral relativism?
This quote by Paul is admittedly taken out of context. We read this quote in chapters 6 and 10 of 1 Corinthians, and in both of these chapters Paul is admonishing for and counselling from committing sin. Clearly as we read the Bible we find that there are clear commandments to obey and clear behaviors that are sinful. Yes, there are absolutes when it comes to the laws of God.
So why then would Paul write that all things are lawful to him? Let’s look at the full verse: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being. Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; for the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.” – i Corinthians 10:23-25 NKJV. Paul was talking about food.
In the Gospel, there are things that are essential – the immutable laws of God – and things that are non-essential – the traditions and customs of people. The Corinthians had blurred the lines between these and began justifying clear sin by pointing at the customs of others. For example, there were both Jews and Gentiles in the church, and the Jews ate a kosher diet while the Gentiles did not – eating different foods did not make the Gentiles sinners. Paul was making it clear, that for the essentials there should be unity and obedience, and for the non-essentials there should be liberty. So when in Rome, do as the Romans do, as long it is not sinful – and yes, we can absolutely know what sin is.
May 30, 2012 5 Comments
There has been so much said and written about love that I didn’t think I had anything to add, so I almost didn’t write this. But who can resist talking about love? Life is filled with so much expectation, and much of that expectation is based upon what we get, when it should be based upon what we can give.
“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” – The Beatles, Abbey Road, 1969
Conventional wisdom, and today’s love quote, tell us that you only get what you give. As good as that sounds, it is not completely Biblical. Yes, the Bible does say to cast your bread upon the water and in so many days it will return to you, implying that what you put out is what you’ll get back (God and Karma), but Jesus made this principle so much clearer.
Firstly, let’s remember what Jesus did with five loaves of bread in one instance, and then with seven loaves in another. With five loaves of bread Jesus fed 5,000 people and with seven loaves of bread He fed 4,000 people. And yes, in both instances He also multiplied the few fishes He had. Those who had, gave of what they had, and God multiplied it to get so much more than they gave.
These accounts are not just accounts of Jesus’ miraculous power, they are examples of a spiritual principle. The principle is that in the end, the love you take is greater than the love you make. In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus makes it very clear:
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Luke 6:38 NIV
When you give of your love (the love you make), it will return unto you in a good measure (meaning you’ll get a lot back), it will be shaken together (so you’ll have room to receive even more), and running over into your lap (you’ll take back more love than you can hold). So today, let’s remember this principle, and if you are discouraged about what you think you’re not getting, then give some love and you’ll be amazed how God will bless you.
And for those who enjoyed the Beatles quote, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the last track of the Beatles last recorded album, Abbey Road.
May 24, 2012 No Comments
There is a famous passage in the Bible where Jesus states that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of heaven. This statement was shocking to those who had heard Him, and they responded by asking the question, “who then can be saved?”. If salvation is based upon the amount of possessions one has, or doesn’t have, then how is it possible that anyone can be saved? Surely this is impossible, or is it?
“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Author of Sherlock Holmes
Today is the anniversary of the birthday of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (May 22, 1859 – July 7, 1930), the Scottish writer who is the creator of the mythical Sherlock Holmes. In the world of Sherlock Holmes, deductive reasoning was the order of the day, and by systematically eliminating the impossible one could find the truth. So I thought I’d have some fun with what is impossible today.
In the Gospel of Mark, where we find the analogy of the camel through the eye of a needle, Jesus redefines “impossible”. His followers were no different than people in the world today, and likely believed that if you were a good person, then you would go to heaven. It didn’t matter your status in life, as long as you weren’t a thief or a murderer or some other type of “bad person” then you were OK. Heaven was totally possible. But when Jesus made His statement about how hard it is for a rich man to go to heaven, it all of a sudden became impossible for anyone to be saved.
Looking through the eyes of the natural, the logical, when you eliminate the impossible then you are left with the truth. In this case the truth is that no one can be saved. Even the Apostle Paul ackowledged this truth saying, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. However, Jesus did not end it there.
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” – Mark 10:27 NKJV
Let’s be thankful today, that when it comes to God, nothing is impossible. He has provided a way where each and every one of us can be saved in His Kingdom through His Son Jesus. So with God, we never can eliminate the impossible. And that is the impossible truth.
Tell us how God took an impossible situation in your life, and turned it into possible for you – leave a comment below.
May 22, 2012 1 Comment