Friday, September 11, 2015

Morality or Jesus?

The church needs to get away from the morality drill. Morality should not be our focus. Why? Because without God's enabling, none of us can truly be moral.

It's not that morality doesn't matter. It absolutely does. However none of us can produce a truly moral life *simply and merely by willpower. It is the fruit of something far deeper; something missing. 

Morality (i.e. choosing to live according to God's commandments) is not the cause of God's acceptance of us it is the fruit of it. So why should we ask or expect the world to do what none of us can do on our own, Christian or otherwise. Morality is the RESULT of being loved by God first and than loving and honoring God in response (which also involves loving others as we wish to be loved).

Christ said, "if you LOVE me, you WILL keep my commandments" but instead, we somehow hear "I must keep your commandments so you will love me." Sorry, but this is not his message. Read it again slowly and in its context. Morality shouldn't be our focus, the greatness, the goodness and the love of God for us and our response of love, should be.

When we see God as he truly is, all loving, all wise, all powerful for and to us and always present with us, this causes us to *want to seek to honor him in our words and deeds i.e. live morally Isa 6:1-8. We don't seek moral living as our primarily aim. When we see him as he is, "high and lifted up," (i.e. of tremendous value, beauty, majesty, wisdom etc) loving God will be our primary desire and aim. In fact this statement itself; that he should be our primary desire and aim, is a 1moral statement and the true essence of morality.

We are not to focus on how poorly we or others are behaving but rather on loving God with all our heart soul mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. Focusing exclusively on morals cause us to take our eyes off of God. It is the cart before the horse.

People are tired of moralistic preaching and it's condescending hypocritical message; of us expecting and demanding of non believers something we Christians can not (and do not) even do ourselves unless moved by God. Truth is NO ONE is or can ever be moral enough to be approved by God. Christian or otherwise.

So why are we trying to get or expecting the world to be moral. **Morality is not what they need. They need Jesus first. When they fall in love with Jesus everything else follows. Then and only then will they want to honor him with their words and deeds.

All the "Christians" that are always preaching or demanding morality from an unbelieving world needs to please stop.

Instead we are all called to fall passionately in love with God. To love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbor as yourself. Don't we think this is convicting enough or a pursuit worthy enough of everything we are and have? There is a reason Christ said on these two do all the other commandments hang. In fact it's entirely dishonoring to God to focus on moral behavior because it brings attention to us, not him i.e. "look at how moral I am. You should be moral too"

Why? Will morality save us? NO!!! It's precisely because we are not moral and never can be moral enough to ever be approved by God, that God sent his Son to do what we could never do for ourselves. To provide and then offer to GIVE us a perfect moral status. Yes, give it! This is why it's called "good news." We don't have to be moral in order to be totally accepted and fully loved by God because Christ did that for us. He was moral on our behalf and he bore the complete and total consequences for our immorality.

The truth is we must be 100% perfectly moral for God to ever accept us 100%. Well, guess what? That's never going to happen and that is precisely why Christ came. To provide that for us and offer it to us as a gift.

For several posts on the legitimate role law plays in a believers life click here. 


1For a further discussion on the grounds or basis for morality click here.

*Php 2:12  Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13  for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 

**I am not saying morality isn't important, or there is no right or wrong. There is wrong doing that causes real harm and should be corrected. But this is a societal issue. 

I am speaking of our personal relationship with God. I am saying the morality we all need to be good enough to be restored to God we can never produce. We are simply too morally bankrupt to ever be perfectly moral. True morality is the fruit of godliness not the cause of it. Godliness is the fruit of loving God. Loving God is the fruit of him loving us first

Perfect morality has to be provided for us and given to us as a gift. And since it does, this is the message we must bring others; the good news, not "stop being bad...and start acting good..." Rather we must declare we are all bad and can never be good enough. None of us. The heart of where we all drop the ball is we don't love and honor God according to his true majesty, beauty and honor. All other immoral behavior is simply the fruit of not loving God as we ought and He deserves.

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Grace to you
Jim Deal