Tuesday, June 17

Code of Conduct

"He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8 NAS

What is man called to do in performance of his service to God? Is it the transaction, that payment for the service rendered by Jesus Christ as He hung on a cross of wood and paid the debt for Sin? All sin for all of mankind.

Or is it something more? A REACTION to the mercy and grace given, though not deserved, and the actions of a God who loves His children so much that the ultimate sacrifice wasn't an afterthought, but a course to be taken to rescue the lost children He loves so much? No justification for our salvation, no repayment for the debt paid. A duty, honestly given and actively pursued, for the honor and glory of a God who served us without conditional response required.

To be like our Messiah; that is our motivation, our desire, and our purpose. Even though we fail as sinful, broken human beings, we continue to strive to that goal. Through the ministring of the Holy Spirit's counsel.

A code of conduct.

Yet, many people find that unsettling. We emulate our sports heroes; bringing our bodies into a healthy condition so that we can be like those million-dollar stars. We emulate our movie heroes; seeking the portrayed emotional connection that is scripted on the screen for our enjoyment.

We seek to be that simple person on the street that runs into a burning building at a child's cry with no thought of their own welfare. We glorify athletes who personalify the sport they play and spend millions in replications of their lifestyles, so that we might feel like them for a time.

And yet, we wonder why we should try and be like Christ. A haughty and difficult thing for us to do, we wonder why we should even try. After all, salvation is not conditional upon the good which we do. We are told that the price was paid so no one could boast that they had something to do with it. And, yet, we continue to try to meet some shadowy and indistinct level of performance to feel we deserve the sacrifice given. We put on the lifestyle of Christ, without any weight or value. We tithe out of obligation, not glad giving.

We are afraid to stand upon the Word and defend the distortion of it because we are told that we are called to love, and nothing more. After all, God is big enough to take care of Himself. We are afraid to declare the absolute certainity of the gospel, because Jesus wasn't pushy and neither is God. We decide that the expression of loving one another cannot include accountability, correction, or 'tough' love because......?

We cannot speak for ourselves, for we are flawed from sin's embrace and the broken relationship that we inherited. We cannot declare what is right, what is just, what is sinful, and what is good. For our views become tainted by our own upbringing, prejudices, and cultural inheritance. We cannot define something we ourselves desire equally for all.

But God can. And He has.

Homosexuality is a sin. Pre-martial sex is a sin. Pride is a sin. Covetedness is a sin. To name a few.

Each condemnable to Sin's only punishment: death.

I don't suppose to know the struggles that a homosexual person goes through as they struggle to deal with a tendency that is sinful, because I don't have that desire to be in a sexually intimate relationship with my own gender. I don't supposed to know what a transgender who believes they were 'born wrong', because I don't think that I was meant to be a woman.

I am equally condemnable in the Law for those things I struggle with, as do the homosexual, transgender, or even a thief. The adulterer, the immoral business person, and the liar all have equal footing with me before the throne of God. We are condemned by the sinful nature we are born with because of Adam's inaction and Eve's choice.

Do I hate the homosexual? I don't, despite what some may believe because I point to the scriptural reference that declares homosexuality wrong. Or because I oppose the immoral declaration that same sex 'marriages' are legal. I am called, through the grace of God and the declaration of scripture to love that sinful person as much as God loved this sinful person. To hold them accountable as God holds me accountable.
To put myself in their place, to the same standards.

Do I believe the bank robber is condemned to the death sentence of Hell? Yes, through the sinful actions that they have taken. Does that mean they cannot know God's love? No, because God has offered the sacrifice payment for sin to them just as much as He has me, a man no less sinful and no less deserving of the penalty of Hell.

"Everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" the scriptures declare. Everyone. Not just those who are actively living in Sin's embrace. Not those who struggle to take up their cross. No one. None of us have the right to feel that we've earned, deserve, or are justified to be redeemed, righteous, or restored. NO ONE.

How do we know what is right? God taught, teaches, and brings us to understanding and knowledge of what is right, what is good, and what is just. God, not the laws of man or the desires of a few, or even the many. Morality absolutely defined.

God is the sole author of goodness, righteousness, and morality.

We are called, just like we do when we obey the laws of our society, to follow and adhere to God's declaration of Law; to serve our fellow man justly in all aspects.

In as much as an earthly father instructs his children on proper good and moral values, just as the child makes a choice to violate those boundaries, those rules, so we too must live through the consequences of our actions. For our own mercy, justice is "served".

We do justly to our fellow humans; rendering to each one their due whether they are spiritually superior, equal, or inferior. We cannot hold over any one of them with the express desire to oppress due to Sin, rather we should hold them accountable to a higher standard we ourselves are accounted to. There, we have the basis for the structure of morality, secure from the whims of man and the winds of cultural shifts.

We are called to two duties before man, according to Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's commentary. "...justice, or strict equity, and mercy, or a kindly abatement of what we might justly demand, and a hearty desire to do good to others."

"We must, in the whole course of our conversation, conform ourselves to the will of God, keep up our communion with God, and study to approve ourselves to him in our integrity; and this we must do humbly," Matthew Henry's commentary states, by submitting our own understanding of truth, justice, and mercy to God's declarations, and conform our will to His precepts, not our own.

Without it, we become a immoral society that are governed by the whims of the slick of voice, the logic of the illogical, the laziness of the complacent, and the contempt of the contemptible. We find ourselves locked into culturally-defined morality that changes with the gusts of the wind, or the strongest force.

We must have justice above reproach of the whims of man, to have a higher moral authority recognized, and follow it with mercy, grace, and love.

That is what we, as Christians, should be striving for. Humble accountability, Merciful justice, and truthful restoration.

If we don't, as a society, we will fall from within as our corrupted moral center feeds upon itself.

Just look back into the annuals of history for its silent witness.

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