The moral foundation of the universe is an expression of God’s own nature and everything is governed by it. Those who disregard His commands will face the consequences of their sin.
The world’s values of character and conduct are degenerating and becoming so different to God’s high, unchanging standards. This is sometimes termed ‘The new morality’ where each does as they feel like or think best, against the traditional concept that God wants humanity to conform to a fixed divine standard. However, man is not at liberty to change the rules and sin with impunity. We should regularly ask, am I conforming to the world’s views and allowing it to squeeze me into its mould or am I holding fast the values as outlined in the Bible (eg Mt 5:1-7:27)? As it is against the standards of the Word of God that we will be judged, it makes good sense to live by them (Jn 12:48). We are faced with many choices each day to either follow Christ or to give in to the flesh (Rom 12:1,2, 13:14; Gal 5:16-24; Heb 12:2; 1 Pet 2:11).
God’s righteous morals are known in the hearts of all humanity, yet fallen nature so often in rebellion, insists on breaking these principles, instead choosing Satan’s pathway of destruction by catering to the inner evil desires (Rom 1:19-32, 2:12-16, 7:14-24). Satan is always on the lookout to ensnare us and get us to sin. After giving in to temptation it is a long hard road back to regaining some measure of what was forfeited.
As we will be judged by God’s standards, live by them
honours God involves considering ourselves continually dead to the old sin nature, so get rid of it and put on the new Godly qualities and characteristics (Rom 6:4-22; 1 Cor 15:31; Gal 2:20; Eph 4:22-24). This is the significance and meaning of water baptism. The 'decision to follow Christ' must be backed up with discipline and actions to maintain good morals by shunning bad company and keeping oneself untainted from the world (Job 31:1; 1 Cor 15:33; Jas 1:27). The Bible states, flee (run from) the wrong, and pursue (earnestly go after) good qualities (1 Tim 6:11). It is not just sufficient to give mental assent to the theory of a righteous lifestyle; it must be practised too, otherwise this is being a hypocrite – preaching one thing and doing the opposite (Mt 23:13-29; Lk 3:8-14).
God’s Word clearly forbids certain activities (eg. murder, stealing, adultery); in other areas the Bible gives principles to govern our conduct, doing what is the most honourable and best, which is also what we would like others to do for us (Lk 6:31). Sometimes preferences, cultural beliefs, leader’s opinions and even the media become the basis of moral standards. Just because most other people are adapting new, lower standards doesn’t mean we have to conform to peer pressure by compromising on His standards.
Both public and private morality (what a person does in their private life) do matter. When the private life is ignored, the public life ultimately deteriorates and crumbles too. The measure of a person’s real character is what they would do if they knew they would never be found out. Corruption, bribes, deceit and sexual misconduct have infiltrated society and the world’s system, with ethics being compromised, resulting in untold heartache and misery. While lust and impure desires may be contained within the inner thought life, Jesus said, if the action is wrong so is even having the wrong thought and for which we are accountable (Mt 5:27,28).
See also: accountability, boundaries, character, compromise, golden rule, immorality, inner man, integrity, peer pressure, pure/purity, standards, temptation, values.