"...morality isn't something where one side can prove to the other who's right or wrong. It's not testable. It's philosophy; it's logic. And depending on what assumptions you start out with, you can come to radically different conclusions, with NO WAY to reconcile them... Me, I believe that my gut is the best judge of whether something is right or wrong – I trust my upbringing to be my moral guide."
Then a little later Andrew said "For right now I’m going to avoid any arguments about morality and the Ten Commandments" I replied "you said you do not want to discuss morality and the 10 Commandments - for now. When you do, I would love if you commented on my blog to start the discussion" and I was happy with his response "Sure I'll come on over to your blog for a little 10 commandment talk"
So this post is for Andrew and Tristan (but anyone can feel free to join in commenting; but to let you know, I moderate comments to prevent foul language)
When we compare ourselves to man's standard we look pretty clean, but when we compare ourselves to the pure snow-white righteousness of God's standard—His Law, we can see ourselves in truth, that we are unclean in His sight. That Law is the holy standard by which humanity will be judged on Judgment Day.
This is the purpose of the Ten Commandments. This is why we cannot trust in our gut, or let our upbringing be our moral guide; when we do, it is easy to say compared to others we are pretty good - but how are we compared to God's standard?
- You shall have no other gods before Me. (Have you always loved God above all else?)
- You shall not make yourself an idol. (Have you made a god in your mind that you're more comfortable with, a god to suit yourself?)
- You shall not take God's name in vain. (Have you ever used God's holy Name as a cuss word?)
- Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.
- Honor your father and mother.
- You shall not murder. (God considers hatred to be as murder - 1 John 3:15).
- You shall not commit adultery. ("Whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart" Matthew 5:27-28; this also includes sex before marriage).
- You shall not steal. (Have you ever stolen anything? the value of the item is irrelevant).
- You shall not lie. (Have you lied even once? Including answering these questions).
- You shall not covet. (Have you ever jealously desired what belongs to others?)
The Law of God is merely like a mirror—all a mirror does is show you the truth. If you see egg on your face, you don't try and wash yourself with the mirror, it's purpose should be to send you to water for cleansing. Neither should you try and wash yourself with the mirror of God's Law...that's not its purpose. The sight in the mirror is not a pretty one, but if you don't face it and acknowledge that you are unclean, then all that "dirt" will be presented on Judgment Day as evidence of your guilt, and then it will be too late to be cleansed.
This may sound strange, but the solution is not to try and clean up your lifestyle—you realize that you have sinned, so from now on you will keep the Ten Commandments, do good deeds, say the right things and think only pure thoughts. But should a judge let a murderer go because he says he will now live a good life? No, he's in debt to justice and therefore must be punished.
If you read in the newspaper that a man received a $5 fine for a crime, you could conclude that his crime was insignificant. But if a man received multiple life sentences, you could conclude that his crime was heinous. In the same way, we can catch a glimpse of how terrible sin must be in the sight of God by looking to the punishment given for it—eternal punishment.
Perhaps you think that God is good and will therefore overlook your sins. But if you were guilty of terrible crimes in a civil court and said to the judge, "Judge, I am guilty but I believe that you are a good man and will therefore overlook my crimes," the judge would probably respond by saying, "You are right about one thing; I am a good man, and it's because of my goodness that I am going to see that justice is done, that you are punished for your crimes." The very thing that many are hoping will save them on Judgment Day, God's "goodness," will be the very thing that will condemn them. If God is good, He should punish murderers. liars, thieves, etc., and Hell will be their dreadful fate.Can you see your predicament? You are guilty of sinning against God Himself, and, because you have a conscience, you have sinned "with knowledge" (conscience means: con-with, science-knowledge) Isn't it true that every time you lied, stole, lusted, etc., you did it with knowledge that it was wrong? (Maybe this is the "gut" Tristan was referring to)
God Himself is not willing that you perish. To make clear what an incredible thing He has done for you in the Gospel, let's look again to civil law: You are standing in front of a judge, guilty of very serious crimes. All the evidence has been presented and there is no doubt about your guilt. The fine for your crime is $250,000 or imprisonment, but you haven't two pennies to rub together. The judge is about to pass sentence...he lifts his gavel, when someone you don't even know steps in and pays the fine for you. The moment you accept that payment, you are free to go. Justice has been served, the law has been satisfied, and what's more, the stranger who paid your fine showed how much he cares for you. His payment was evidence of his love.
That's what God did for you, in the person of Jesus Christ. you are guilty, He paid the fine 2,000 years ago. It is that simple. The Bible puts it this way: "he was bruised for our iniquities . . . Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law being made a curse for us...God commended His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
It was no small thing for Jesus to die for us. The only thing that would satisfy the demands of Eternal Law was the suffering death of the sinless Son of God. What love God must have for you! He suffered unspeakable agony, so that you wouldn't have to be punished for your sins. His sacrificial death and resurrection mean that you need no longer be in debt to the Law, and God can now grant you everlasting life if you obey Him -- death no longer has a legal hold upon those who belong to Jesus Christ.What should you then do? Simply repent (turn from your sin to Jesus) and put your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord -the same way you would put your faith in a parachute; you don't just "believe" it will benefit you, you actually trust yourself to it by putting it on.
Don't put it off until tomorrow.