Ethics

<<moral principles>>

Proper or right human conduct based on the values of integrity and honesty.

Biblical ethics are concerned with the style, manner and conduct of living that the Bible prescribes and approves.  God’s commands are not just for the outward actions but primarily relate to the heart for it is the source of one’s life and “As a man thinks so is he” for our thoughts to a large degree shape our lives (Prov 4:23, 23:7; Mt 5:28; Mk 7:20-23).  Man justifies his actions to others yet God knows the heart and often has a different view (1 Sam 16:7; Lk 16:15).  Many of the things permitted and even approved of by the world cultures and governments are not necessary sanctioned by God.  Christian ethics are in harmony with God’s commands as they reflect His nature and will, and bring Him honour when lived by, beginning with a right relationship with Him, through Jesus Christ, and the continual guidance from and obedience to the Holy Spirit, living in purity and honesty in this world. Daniel was such a person, without corruption in his life (Dan 6:4,5). Likewise, it is our responsibility to do what pleases God by keeping His commands; resulting in conformity to His character and will (Deut 6:17,18; Jn 14:15; Eph 6:6).

God’s commands us to love Him with our whole being, and then with our relationship to mankind summed up as ‘love does no harm to a neighbour but seeks their highest good, doing to them as we would like done to us and so fulfilling the law of Christ’ (Mic 6:8; Mk 12:30,31; Lk 6:31; Rom 13:9,10; Gal 6:2). God wants us to conform to a fixed, divine design that remains constant. Our lifestyle should reflect that of our heavenly Father.

The moral foundation of the universe is an expression of God’s own nature and everything is governed by it. It is essential to have a clear understanding of the principles and commands of Scripture, besides being sensitive to and obeying the Holy Spirit so we do not sin. Just as physical laws can’t be

 The Bible should govern every aspect of                    our lives – including our morality

violated without peril, so it is with moral laws. However, some dilemmas don’t have a clear or perfect solution and we may need to apply the ‘lesser of two evils’ principle (Josh 2:1-6; Prov 6:30).

Good work ethics mean applying yourself diligently to whatever you do, working at it with all your might ‘as unto God’ and not just when the boss is watching (Eccl 9:10; Col 3:22,23). With an unethical person what they say and what they do don’t match. Is my speech and behaviour consistent?

Situational ethics is the concept that there are always circumstances in which absolute principles of behaviour don’t apply because of changing values, with each situation warranting individual treatment dependent on the variable factors. It is human thinking that one can change or compromise the divine rules and sin without being punished – ‘everyone doing what is right in their own eyes’ rather than obeying God’s clear boundaries and guidelines (Jdg 21:25; Prov 21:2). Saul disobeyed the direct command to destroy the enemy, thinking he had a good motive to keep the best of the livestock for a sacrifice but God thought otherwise! (1 Sam 15:3, 9-15).

See also: diligent, golden rule, integrity, lifestyle, morals, principles, standards, thinking/thoughts, work.


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