10 Things You Should Know about Christian Ethics — The Aquila Report

Christian ethics teaches us how to live for the glory of God. The goal of ethics is to lead a life that glorifies God (“do all to the glory of God,” 1 Cor. 10:31). Such a life will have (1) a character that glorifies God (a Christ-like character), (2) results that glorify God (a life that bears abundant fruit for God’s kingdom), and (3) behavior that glorifies God (a life of obedience to God, lived in personal relationship with God).

 

  1. Christian ethics teaches us how to live.

Christian ethics asks what the whole Bible teaches us about which acts, attitudes, and personal character traits receive God’s approval and which ones do not.

This means that Christian ethics teaches us how to live. It is important to study Christian ethics so that we can better know God’s will, and so that each day we can “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him” (Col. 1:10).

Christian ethics asks what the whole Bible teaches us about which acts, attitudes, and personal character traits receive God’s approval and which ones do not.

  1. The ultimate basis for Christian ethics is the moral character of God.

God delights in his own moral character, which is supremely good, unchanging, and eternal. His moral standards for human beings flow from his moral character, and therefore they apply to all people in all cultures for all of history (although the Bible also contains many temporary commands intended only for specific people at a specific time).

God is love, so he commands us to love (1 John 4:19). He is holy, and he commands us to be holy (1 Peter 1:15). He is merciful, and he commands us to be merciful (Luke 6:36). He is truthful, and he commands us not to bear false witness (Titus 1:2; Exodus 20:16). God’s moral character and the historical fact that he has given us moral commands provide the basis for a Christian answer to the question of how we can move from “is” statements to “ought” statements in ethics.

  1. Christian ethics is based on the Bible.

One of the purposes of the Bible is to teach us how to live a life that is pleasing to God (Col. 1:9–10; 1 Thess. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:17). Because it is the Word of God, the Bible is a higher authority in ethics than tradition, reason, experience, expected results, or subjective perceptions of guidance. While these other factors can never override the teaching of Scripture, they can still be helpful for us in making a wise decision.

  1. Christian ethics is essential to the proclamation of the gospel.

Some Christian speakers today downplay or omit any call for unbelievers to repent of their sins, but evangelism in the New Testament clearly included a call to repentance. Just before he returned to heaven, Jesus told his disciples “that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). Similarly, Paul proclaimed the need for repentance to pagan Greek philosophers in Athens, warning them that the final judgment was coming: “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31; see also Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 11:18; Hebrews 6:1). “Repentance” in the New Testament is not merely a “change of mind” but includes both sorrow for one’s sins and a sincere inward resolve to turn away from sin and to turn to Christ in faith (Hebrews 6:1; Acts 16:31).

But how can unbelievers repent of their sins if they do not even know what God’s moral standards are? I do not believe that widespread revival will come to any nation apart from widespread, heartfelt repentance for sin. Therefore gospel proclamation today must include an element of teaching about God’s moral standards, which means teaching about Christian ethics.

  1. Christian ethics teaches us how to live for the glory of God.

The goal of ethics is to lead a life that glorifies God (“do all to the glory of God,” 1 Cor. 10:31). Such a life will have (1) a character that glorifies God (a Christ-like character), (2) results that glorify God (a life that bears abundant fruit for God’s kingdom), and (3) behavior that glorifies God (a life of obedience to God, lived in personal relationship with God).

Although we are justified by faith in Christ alone and not by works, extensive New Testament teachings about living the Christian life show that our day-by-day obedience as justified Christians is an important part of the Christian life. Understanding obedience correctly requires that we avoid the opposite errors of legalism and antinomianism.

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via 10 Things You Should Know about Christian Ethics — The Aquila Report

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