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Moral Arguments Good to Avoid

A friend of this blog sent me a YouTube link to a brief argument against those who consider themselves more moral than atheists.

The thoughts that followed went something like this: Religious people often claim that atheists have no morals because they have no moral guide. It went on to say, for instance, if you’re a Christian, you’d probably say that the Bible is your moral guide. But which parts, are your moral guide, the good parts you accept or the horrendous, violent, portions you reject?

The person in the video went on to say, if you want to live under the morality of Mosaic law where people are stoned for the most insane and ridiculous of reasons, you might as well go and live under a tyrannical religious system where they still stone adulterers, children who insult their parents–or where they cut of the hand of a poor man who steals a loaf of bread.

The video concluded, saying that those who believe they are moral because they affirm the morality of the God of the Bible are deceiving themselves. They are really being their own higher power by accepting some moral positions of the Bible while rejecting others. That means, says the speaker, that the Bible is really not your moral guide. You are. You have a conscience, and you need no god but yourself to see the difference between moral right and wrong, even in the Bible.

Seems to me that such a defense of atheism is important to think about not only because it is  articulate and compelling, but because it’s a reminder of the kinds of assumptions that we should not make about ourselves and others.

We are not necessarily more moral than atheists because we have the Bible as a moral guide. The Bible itself argues that people without the Bible can be moral because God has written his laws in everyone’s heart (Romans 2:14-15).

Furthermore, the Apostle Paul goes on to say in his letter to the Romans that those who have the Bible don’t necessarily keep the law any more than those who have no Bible (Rom 2:17-24).

So in more than one sense, the advocate for moral atheists is right. You don’t have to have the Bible as a moral guide to know the difference between right and wrong. It’s also true that today the morality of Levitical law sounds more like the worst case scenarios of oppressive religious systems that still exist—chopping off hands, and stoning people who break the laws of tyranny.

So going forward, here’s what I’m thinking. If we believe in the Bible, let’s not posture ourselves as better than anyone else because of our own moral practice. Neither does it make sense to argue that those without the Bible cannot have the moral guidance of their own conscience.

Just as importantly, let’s not read the Bible the way the person in the YouTube video does—as if the Bible is simply a collection of statements floating in a timeless limbo, without a storyline that gives sense, perspective, proportionality, and explanation to what we now recognize as the parts of the Bible that we  either accept or reject for the betterment of ourselves and others…

PS Philosophical arguments about whether true moral guidance exists apart from the real existence of a God who has revealed himself to us is a different issue.


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87 Responses to “Moral Arguments Good to Avoid”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    My first reaction when reading this topic was to just *avoid* it altogether and it may yet come to that as I search for a purpose and a point.

    I remember very long ago someone telling me never to make assumptions, as when we assume anything it makes an *ass* of *u* and *me*. There is a lot of truth in that statement.

    I am of course referencing the *donkey* or jackass shown in Mart’s pictures an picture word for unyielding stiff necked unreasonableness even though we learn from Scripture even when the jackass speaks the truth it is still the truth.

    I think it basic for our mental health to *feel* good about ourselves. Not constantly wallowing in self pity or in self hate always negative and always expecting the worse of ourselves. This is not the mental attitude Jesus of Nazareth offers any of us. He offers us freedom to feel good….Peace!

    I am of course not talking about feeling above or superior to another.

    The Bible also makes it clear not to argue with a fool or to be drawn into a senseless debate that can have no end.

    Using the example of Scripture; all of the societies, including Rome, were never *atheists* rather they were all devout religious people worshiping the wrong gods. God’s only reference to someone who doesn’t believe in Him is that he is a fool. All other discussion is about mankind’s misguided *faith*.

    Atheism or humanism is a modern movement and one that is usually a springboard to occult beliefs or the brother of agnostics and is most often associated with those who consider themselves too intelligent to believe in a god.

    The Romans practiced very immoral lifestyles as did most of the barbaric societies of history and though we get a great deal of our human ethics and moral guidance from the Greek’s they also fell short of Biblical ethics in many areas.

    Jesus set all of the followers of the Mosaic law free from it, that includes us as well, but we still have the basics to adhere to, Love God and your neighbor….If you follow this you are obeying the *heart* of the Law.

    I am starting to wander sorry; Point is there is nothing wrong with you feeling good about doing that which is right and living a moral life, it is made better by living it as a Christian and striving to be like Jesus in your life and attitude. You are given an example and a goal instead of wandering aimlessly looking for your own set of values of right and wrong.

    So feel good and be at peace, don’t let anything or anyone steal that peace from you.

    Steve

  2. Mart De Haan says:

    Good morning to all. Hope you’re having a good between holidays week.

    Just a thought on the pics above. I have strong empathy for the donkey with whom I can identify (Prov 30:2-3).

    I caught the last pic in an antique shop in Curitiba. Today the Jesus in the mirror, overlooking the owl and shopper, remind me of how the Bible can be read without an understanding of a storyline that slowly unfolds until climaxing in events that throw light on everything that precedes and follows.

  3. saled says:

    I’ve often thought about why some of the non-believers that I know are among the most moral and giving. I’ve thought that their behavior better models ‘Christian’ behavior than my own. Mart’s explanation that people without the Bible can be moral because God has written his laws in everyone’s heart makes sense.

    I am judging here and may be wrong, but it also seems to me that my atheist friends take pride in their morality. I would like to have their people skills and contribute as much to my workplace and community as they do. But is that what it means to be Christian? For me at this point in my life, being Christian means realizing a deep sense of failure and sorrow about trying for so long to live this life in my own power. My hope for redemption is in Jesus; no longer is my hope in my own efforts. Judging again, but it appears to me that some non-believers are able to reach high levels of morality by their own efforts.

    “Freedom to feel good- Peace!” I love that, Steve. Still looking for it though.

  4. His Sparrow says:

    From my perspective, I would want participants in the “argument” to have a workable, useful something to work with….definition of “moral.’

    Thanks.

    Love
    His Sparrow

  5. SFDBWV says:

    Yes! Exactly, His Sparrow; Without the guidelines given from God as what is acceptable morality, people make up their own moral interpretation of what is right and wrong and in all cases it is what is right for *them* not necessarily what is right with God and for the betterment of another.

    Steve

  6. swwagner says:

    Morality in one culture may be a little different than it is in another, I think. Social expectations are different from culture to culture too. A “band of thieves” has a warped idea of what is “honorable” behavior in their midst. And, I think that some churches have a warped idea of morality as well. Also, each individual has a personal moral code that measures others according to what we deem to be acceptable…or not. It is a wonder we haven’t insulted each other to death as we argue about what is “right and wrong”.

    I am not capable of holding up under a lot of disagreement and arguing without bursting into tears…so, I will just depend on God to hold those answers and to guide me in the path of life He has given me to follow. I will rest in His mercy when I mess up. I will praise Him for the salvation He has provided to cleanse my soul and save me from myself.

  7. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you Mart for this wonderful topic. It comes very timely for me. I have been struggling with an issue I had with my church housegroup. And when I read your article this morning I suddenly saw, that it was real what is written in the New Testament: we are no longer under the old covenant! It is over, done and gone. Jesus came to be a mediator for a New Covenant. Hebrews 7:11-12,,18-19.
    But we are not at a loss, as if we have no clue what is moral: in the article the last picture of the Jesus figure in the mirror is so beautiful, it says it all:
    We have Jesus, look to Him and you know the way to go.
    Hebrews 7:22-23,24-25,26,28
    I liked what Saled wrote: we are worn out of knowing of ourselves how to live, and yield to Jesus. It is best to know Him better so as not to yield to someone who you do not know.
    But He is our perfect High Priest, who meets all our needs, that is the strength to live as He wanted us to live.
    He gave us a new command. New, that means the old is gone. The new is better, much higher morality, so high, it is impossible to live according to it, without the Life of God in us, and so it is we have to eat Jesus, eat the bread and the wine, and live on it.
    Thank you very much Mart, you helped me out my struggles.
    By the way, I had a wonderful Christmas, the best ever, but want my life day bey day to be the best ever, this day to be better then yesterday. Today…

  8. Gary Strike says:

    My tendency is to go to Micah 6:8 (NIV2011), “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Justice along with mercy from an all knowing God.

  9. poohpity says:

    I guess I have never read the bible as a one up on any one in fact quite the opposite. I see it as a storyline about the relationship between God and man. If I ever get in a discussion with an atheist about God then I have already started a losing battle. John reminds us that those discussions are futile and not even to engage in a discussion or that is how I understand it from 2 John 1:10-11 NLT. That does not mean that I treat them without respect or put them down because of their beliefs I just do not engage them in a losing discussion because I am sure my peace will not be present.

  10. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends!

    This is a great question, Mart – for we will be thrust upon philosophical ground in the market place of thought. There is no shame in standing upon faith in every context. Jesus is more than the “author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2) Jesus is in fact the God who created the cosmos. As such, he stands as the Seat, the Being and the Ruler of Reality.

    To love him as he loves me is to follow him wherever he leads me. Both Jesus (Matthew 22:37, 38 39) and his follower Paul (Romans 13:8) declare that this New Covenant is formed in the love of God – and transforms any who welcome him as Lord. His Presence is a transforming quality.

    To keep the Great Commandment is to be in harmony with the cosmos, its Creator and its ultimate outcome. In actual moral cases, the Way stands up beautifully, so long as I do not claim to possess the purity and righteousness of my Lord, whom I can only follow as best I am able.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  11. infiniti07 says:

    Is it fair to say that if sin did not exist, there would be no requirement for morality, there would only be one standard of values which amount to being perfection.

    As it is, there are as many definitions and distinctions of morality as there are religion, philosophy or culture. Morality in terms of good or bad , right or wrong is not absolutely evidenced by either the atheist or a theist. However, as a person of faith to one God and Saviour, we can be thankful that our failure and the failure of others (believers or not) on any moral issue is covered by Christ.

  12. remarutho says:

    All the victory, glory and manifestation of power are God’s, not ours. Even the Church can only make a joyful noise in praise of Christ, our Emmanuel. Maru

  13. poohpity says:

    I agree saled, there are a bucket load of people who do not consider themselves believers who do good. We are not superior to others as some would like to believe, we are forgiven and allowed a relationship with God and I think it has more to do with how we interact with others because of how God interacted with us, with forgiveness, grace and mercy. That would lead one to think that is what is different about us but I am afraid that most do not live by that set of principles. We see more anger, hostility, malice, rejection and self righteousness so how can we attempt to persuade an atheist that we have God living in us when there is not much difference in worldly values in our hearts and minds.

  14. poohpity says:

    I think that God does not need our help to prove His existence but I think it will take a lot of work from the atheist to prove He does not exist, lol. Let them have the the hard work of proving that everything that is, is because of itself, making itself out of nothing, just happenstance.

  15. billystan121 says:

    Let’s face it, either we believe what God’s word tells us or we don’t. Over and over I hear Christians proclaiming that life is to be a bowl of cherries. I feel that if we really study His word we will see that differently. I am not trying to be argumentative. Does it not make sence that as Paul repeatedly tells us, be thankful for yourtrials and persecutions. I see what is trying to be said, but I also know that we have a place where happyness will be eternal.
    The words of Jesus in John 5:17-18, very distinctly tells us 1) That Jesus came to fulfill the law, and the prophesies of the prophets. 2) That not one minute particle of the law or prophesies will be put away or pushed aside.
    I know many people that live “moral” lives and have no idea whatsoever what God’s word tells mankind. Yes, a Person who does not follow in Jesus’ footsteps is a foll. We are told many times in Proverbs what to expect from fools and the final destination of those choosing to play the fool. The only way for us to help these people is to share God’s word with and pray for their salvation.
    So what is the difference between a moral man and a man of God? As Christians we know we will make mistakes, and we know that when we do we need to confess to our savior our fault, and we will be forgiven. For the poor, foolish moral man there is no way out of his or hers final destination.
    Bill

  16. swwagner says:

    So many good thoughts here…Thank you for such a good discussion.

  17. teardrop1 says:

    THE WORDS I WOULD LOVE TO LEAVE IS I LOVE THE WORD OF GOD AND THE ONLY WAY I CAN LEARN MORE IS TO OPEN MY BIBLE AND READ IT,IT KEEPS ME GOING WHEN I WANT TO THROW IN THE TOWEL

  18. kingdomkid7 says:

    The world is full of hurting people. Some of them live “moral” lives without submitting to the one true God, who sent Jesus to save them from themselves. Some of them live “moral” lives as a reflection of knowing the Savior. The only difference between the two that I can see is that those who know the Savior have a place to take their hurt and their guilt — a place of refreshing and redemption. Those who don’t know the Savior just try to cover up their hurt and guilt the best they can — and they are probably very tired. Oh, we all need Jesus!!

  19. poohpity says:

    I was thinking that problems come when we lay our moral compass on others to live up to when we have such problems adhering to it ourselves. In reading the Bible we each understand that we are responsible to God individually not collectively although collectively we walk hand in hand with other believers as a strength when we fall helping each other up with encouragement and support. We can posture ourselves as those who understand the failings of human nature producing empathy and the need to be forgiven. I wonder what those who have a moral compass do when they fail to live up to those morals? Do atheists just accept the fact they mess up and live with piling up all that guilt? How do they know to ask for forgiveness without the principles taught in the Bible?

  20. remarutho says:

    Good Afternoon Mart & Friends –

    Mart, referring to your comment upon the Bible critic:

    “Just as importantly, let’s not read the Bible the way the person in the YouTube video does—as if the Bible is simply a collection of statements floating in a timeless limbo, without a storyline that gives sense, perspective, proportionality, and explanation to what we now recognize as the parts of the Bible that we either accept or reject for the betterment of ourselves and others…”

    The Judeo-Christian Scriptures are not a systematic code of ethics – far from it. Scripture is the story of God and God’s people, as you say. To study the Bible as the inspired Word of God is to derive a life-changing understanding of God from it. To treat the Bible as a “collection of statements” may involve an assumption that it is to be read through once and judged as either “useful” or “not useful” to one’s own independent moral agency. Receiving the revelation of the Bible is an on-going life pursuit.

    Debaters who still go toe to toe with one another over: whether the Bible is inspired writing, cannot come to a definite “verdict.” Faith and doubt are both present in every human being – believer and unbeliever alike. Understanding the difference between the culture of the city of Ur in Chaldea and the city David Ben Jesse conquered (Jerusalem in Israel) – for example, is of vital importance in the moral development of a person of faith. What was morally acceptable in Ur was not so in Jerusalem.

    King David remains as a hero of the Bible – because he stumbled and fell very low in his conduct, and rose from the ashes of his moral life. He inspires me by his confession, repentance and the forgiveness of the God he loved. This Scripture has great bearing upon my own moral conduct. God makes it clear that he so loves and honors David as to put his offspring on the eternal throne. From this story I do not learn to defy the commandments of God – but rather to seek to uphold God’s excellence in my life, and to quickly repent and seek God’s forgiveness when I fall.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  21. christiansuffer says:

    Mart: I also agree that it is best to stay away from the discussion of morals whether right or wrong…As was said the bible does make clear that we all know the difference within ourselves… We as christians are under a microscope to produce these morals because we bare his name…Because he lives within or hearts
    his light shines forth and makes those dark and evils things obvious in their lives…We have Jesus…He makes the difference!

  22. kingdomkid7 says:

    Pooh, I can’t speak for anyone other than me, but when I was an atheist and then an agnostic, I did not think about forgiveness. It simply was not a part of my world view. It was unnecessary “baggage,” unbefitting a true “sophisticate”. Guilt was something unaddressed, but it did pile up. As far as I can tell, some people drink, or use drugs or sex to keep from focusing on any of these “messy”emotions (like guilt). Others, like me, do “good work” and throw themselves into it. I could go on, but I will simply say I agree that the “moral” argument is best avoided. Once God gets His grip on us, we probably should just stop comparing ourselves to others as either “more” or “less” of anything: That kind of comparing may be a product of unregenerated thinking.

  23. castaway says:

    All that God does is intrinsically good and righteous, so it is also good and righteous for Him to do as He pleases and I mean everything He does, even those things some deem “horrendous and violent” (as Mart describes them) even though they are recorded in the Bible. Humanistic thinking will always be horrified by this teaching, since it is more concerned about man’s dignity and comfort than God’s purpose and glory, but those with the mind of Christ should have a heart of gratitude and reverence and affirm that God is righteous, and that He does all things well. Let those who attempt to find God by reason do so with all the gusto they can muster and let us who have been saved by God through His Son, thank Him for our salvation.

    I stopped delving in apologetics years ago; sinful men are content to be sinful men. There is no moral argument to avoid; non-Christians are incapable clear-thinking and rational thought, having their minds enslaved to sin.

  24. SFDBWV says:

    I think one of the most interesting secular studies out there is Psychology. Though I will be frowned upon by others for saying so I really don’t consider it a science. Psychiatry on the other hand is.

    In looking at the behavior of human beings there certainly are quite a number of personalities and mixes of them all, in spite of the efforts of some trying to make people fit into a box or a category they tend to often spill over into other categories so it is impossible to arrange people into finite headings of personalities, this is of course my own observations and opinion.

    If you look deeper into this world of behavioral *science* what you find are some very dark and sinister monsters living among us.

    If you read or watch the news, we have seen over the past couple weeks several acts of horrible murders and senseless acts of violence.

    To the perpetrators of these acts of violence they were justified and right in their own minds for doing what they wanted to do, to the rest of us their acts were immoral, but to them they had a *moral* right to do what they did.

    What seems insane and immoral to most (not all) of us is the (disputed) fact that some 7,000,000 (seven million) Jews were killed by Nazi Germany only some 70 years ago by a nation of people who considered it a moral act.

    Head hunters in the remote jungles of the world proudly display their trophies on poles or belts, considering it morally acceptable in their society.

    I can go on if necessary, but I hope you get the point. Left alone the human mind will digress further away from God’s morality until it becomes what most of us would consider depraved and abominable.

    Paul and Peter are known for bringing not only Christianity but the full Word of God to the known world at their time and Rome spread it all over their known world, it has been broadcast, read and introduced to every nation and people of the world and as a result God’s morality stands in contrast to many moral standards of many different societies and peoples.

    The fact that right and wrong was by istinct given by God upon mans creation means mankind has no defense against being immoral at the judgment.

    Atheists are fools; avoid being drawn into arguments of their making and into their arena giving them a sense of being equal with your position of being a joint heir of the Kingdom of God.

    You stand in contrast to the world, accept the fact that you stand on a higher *moral* ground than the people of the world and let His light shine so that they can find their way to what and who shines out from you….Jesus of Nazareth, one with God and the giver of *morality*.

    Steve

  25. BruceC says:

    I once asked a brother in Christ what he thought the major difference was between Christians and unbelievers. He said we are forgiven. That statement has stayed on mind as strongly as it hit me way back then.

    The atheist, who is moral; as Steve has said, is likely the most deceived of all. Because he does not believe in God, heaven, or hell; the ‘code’ he follows has no eternal reward for him. And in actuality it has for no one as we cannot obtain eternal life through good works and morality, but only through faith in Christ. The atheist does not think he needs forgiveness. Who would give it to him if there is no God in his opinion? It is that implanted knowledge of what is right and wrong that God has placed there to drive us to Him for His mercy, grace, and Life; because we then realize that we are not good. Pride is the biggest dam against this and stops many from confessing their need of a Saviour. Just like the atheist that is “moral”; they continue on doing what is right in their eyes.

    Once we come to Christ and are forgiven by the Father; then what we do, our “standard of living” and our good works glorify He who saved us from the wrath to come and lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven.
    His Name Be Praised!!

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  26. leaderjimm says:

    What is the difference between the Atheist and the Religious? The people Jesus rebuked the most were the Religious. The Pharisees. The best way I know how to separate myself from the Atheist or Religious, is through Relationship. What happens to most new “Born Again” believers is they become excited and want to share the good news with others near to them. This is where the problem lies. They come across, like I did when first became saved as “Judgmental.” Through relationship and teaching, over time we get better at witnessing. Sometimes the best witness is not saying anything at all. “Preach the Gospel always, and when necessary use word.” St. Francis

  27. poohpity says:

    I think the problem still exists today leaderjimm, not the doubt of God from the atheists but those who consider themselves religious who look down on others and elevated themselves. Neither have any idea about God. One says there is no God while the other says there is and acts like they are one.

  28. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Mart – you wrote, “If we believe in the Bible, let’s not posture ourselves as better than anyone else because of our own moral practice. Neither does it make sense to argue that those without the Bible cannot have the moral guidance of their own conscience.”

    Thank you for saying that. It is hard to understand how some who proclaim to be “a Christian” can at times be so hurtful and hateful and smug and condescending, while others, who I know are not Christians, but in fact are agnostics, or Buddhists, or what have you, can be so generous, comforting, hardworking and just plain kind.

    I am not speaking of anyone on this blog. I am speaking of people in my life. People from my past and people I know and interact with at the present time. I am speaking of myself. I know I am a Christian. I know I have surrendered to Jesus Christ, and yes, I know at times I find myself being hurtful, hateful, smug and condescending. I see people I know that are not Christians, and they are better people than me.

    Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world…” One of the patterns of this world is to reward the good and punish the bad. That is a worldly view. Everyone thinks this, even those who have never read the Bible. Matthew 5:43-47, Luke 6:32-36

    Jesus did not come to reward the good and punish the bad. He came to make atonement for our sins, to pay the debt we owe and redeem us. He came to save us from our sins. Matthew 1:21

    I pray for the lost that their hearts might be opened to know the love and mercy of God and receive His gift of grace.

  29. poohpity says:

    Very convicting and beautifully said, tracey.

  30. fadingman says:

    I think trying to argue for God, the Bible, and Christianity from a moral standpoint is problematic today. A common understanding of morality has to do with how people should relate to one another so that things are done fairly, society doesn’t fall apart, and everyone (or at least the majority) lead happy, peaceful lives. Morality has become very pragmatic.

    The problem is that, defined like this, God is left out. He becomes unnecessary. It used to be that people understood morality as tied to God’s standard (like in the older Webster’s dictionaries), but that connection has been severed in many people’s minds. Today’s morality focuses on injustices between men, but it ignores injustices done to God (i.e. sin). The examples given in the youtube video were about dealing with injustices between man and God. If you leave God out and consider only injustices between man and man, then of course, it’s going to seem morally wrong to stone someone for breaking the Sabbath, etc.

    Rather than argue from today’s morality standpoint, we should be arguing from a *righteousness* standpoint, which requires that God be the main focus of the equation. Righteousness is about right relationship with God. What good is it if everyone lives in peace and harmony here on earth, when they’re going to go to hell because the injustices against God haven’t been dealt with?

  31. leaderjimm says:

    It is really about meeting people where they are at to gain trust. Once there is trust, then with love we can infuse the truth. It is about being “Christlike”….if we follow Christ’s example of dealing with Atheists or Religious, then we are on the right track. They way we learn about his example more is by reading his “God Breathed” word, (2Tim3:16) and by praying. One of my favorite daily reads is “My Utmost for His Highest”-Oswald Chambers.

  32. poohpity says:

    Even in the OT with regard to the Mosaic Law when one admitted their moral failings there were sacrifices to cover those sins. The results of not admitting those sins were consequences that fit the crime for Moses to enact so that crimes could be justly punished just as our justice system does now. Well not really because now the perpetrators are just put behind bars and depending on the state sentenced to death depending on the crime. If you stole something back then they cut off your hand, I wonder if they did that now how many would not steal. They were also made to pay restitution. Anyway what I am trying to say is that maybe with a closer evaluation of the OT it may not seem so severe and especially when we trust the mighty hand of God and believing that He knows what is best. I have never met anyone who lived by those commands that would not be anything but a welcome member of our society so if atheists think the moral law is bad maybe they can not see the light through the darkness of a world without God which would not even be a world without Him creating it. One day EVERY knee will bow, even the atheists when the Lord reveals Himself to ALL of creation even those who have fallen asleep.

  33. kingdomkid7 says:

    I think you’re on point, fadingman, when you suggest we give up the”morality” discussion and instead talk about righteousness. There is no true righteousness apart from Christ. And there is no counterpart to Jesus to whom an atheist might point when the subject is righteousness.

  34. billystan121 says:

    Fadingman and Kingdom7, In my heart I heard a great deal of truth; Yes we must measure our lives with righteousness. Jesus, Himself told us in the beatitudes, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:10)
    As Christians we are going to suffer persecution from non-believers. A few months ago I was handing out information in regard to church hours at the church I attend. I no more than got about four or five houses away and a lady came running up behind me and said, “Don’t ever leave that stuff at my house again.” Small, yes; but when put into context, how long do any of us believe that the persecution in Southeast Asia, and the Middle east will cross the oceans and enter our own country. On some level that very thing is happening now.
    Some of us (Christians) get spit on, we can not pray in our schools, in some American cities it is unlawful for that cities administration to publically display a manger scene. Our campuses and some of our courthouses have been told not to display a plaque with the ten commandments on it.
    Yes, righteousness is to be our guide. When we make righteouness part of our everyday lives we have nothing to fear, “This I know because Gos is for me” (us). (Psalm 56:9)

  35. kingdomkid7 says:

    Amen, billystan. I agree that we are already experiencing a form of intolerance in America that could easily lead to more overt forms of persecution. We must be ready for the escalation.

  36. swwagner says:

    Hmmm…I agree that righteousness might be the more important discussion. Even as believers, our feeble attempts to be good Christians fall far short. We are as filthy rags. The righteouness of Christ is all we can cling too.

    Concerning the wrong ways we witness and the mistakes we make in representing God to others: I grieve when I think of those I may have turned away from Christ by being sanctimonious and/or inconsistant in my life style. My prayer is that the words of God will find their mark (not return to Him void) in spite of my errors and sins.

  37. castaway says:

    When you take a biblical approach to presenting the Christian faith, you are acting as God’s instruments to unleash His own revealed wisdom to vindicate Himself and to defeat the enemy. Rather than using our intuition, sensation, or fallacious reasoning to testify about God, our defense is essentially an expression and application of God’s testimony about Himself, since God is His own best witness, and He can swear by no One greater.

    The truth is that the non-Christian is also held captive by the Word of God, and by his innate knowledge of God’s attributes and God’s laws, so that his mind can only function on God’s terms, even as he rebels against Christ, who is “Reason” in the flesh. The non-Christian is deceived into thinking that he is a “free thinker,” with a “free-will” but the only thing that he is running
    from is “Reason” Himself. Still, he cannot escape, for “Reason” will crush him every time, and grind his futile arguments to powder.

    The Bible is the infallible Word of God, so anyone can more or less become a competent defender of the faith when he firmly stands on it and on it alone and faithfully argues from it, that is, if one feels compelled to engage someone foolish enough to challenge a person who know their bible.

    Christians today are too quickly embarrassed by the intellectual challenges thrown at them by the unbelievers. Although we are not divinely inspired like the prophets and the apostles, if we will wholly depend on the revelation of Scripture, we will be the master philosophers of this world

    Because we have divine revelation as the foundation of our philosophy, unbelievers are not in fact competing against our own wisdom, but the very wisdom of God. Thus if we will only learn to apply divine revelation with skill when answering their challenges, there can be no real contest, but we will be able to destroy every unbelieving argument, and embarrass the gainsayers.

  38. poohpity says:

    castaway, I fully believe we are still divinely inspired as the prophets and the apostles were if one is reliant on the Holy Spirits’ leading. When we pray for that leading expect that it will happen especially when it comes to learning God’s Word, sharing the Gospel, doing His will and just talking with God and listening to Him speak back.

    It would be nice if more people today were grounded in His Word to engage in fruitful discussion. From 2003 to 2010 in Africa, the Middle East and Asia terrorist attacks on Christians have increased 302%. There is a wonderful article in Newsweek, Feb 13, 2012 about “The War On Christians” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

  39. remarutho says:

    Good Evening Mart & Friends –

    While I support the Christ-like humility you teach, Mart, when you admonish believers in the Bible not to claim any moral superiority. But I am troubled by your claim that there is no argument for a creed or moral standard that bases virtues on divine moral good: truth, justice and compassion.

    Mart, you wrote:
    “Neither does it make sense to argue that those without the Bible cannot have the moral guidance of their own conscience.”

    The difficulty with individual conscience as a moral guide is that such a standard is subject to widely differing application according to the pressures and desires of the moment. It is, therefore no guide at all. Self-justifying behavior, without consequences for wrong-doing, drifts away from the good. Even a culture and society that holds “human virtue” as a high value will devolve into corruption without holding fast to an unchanging standard. There must be a dedicated, intentional “turning away from evil” (Proverbs 3:7) in order to stay on a morally consistent path.

    Believers in God’s word are called to personal humility, but we may not erase the image of our Creator from any aspect of life. Secular morality is weak and inconsistent and dangerous when selfish and evil desires are defended as intrinsic to society. “Nobody’s perfect” becomes “nobody can be perfect” – and before long society is embracing “nobody should be perfect.” This is the path to moral decay, all in the name of “scientific thinking.”

    It requires faith to live by Jesus’ call to expect persecution in order to see good things come into being in this life. (Matthew 5:13, 14, 15, 16) The salt and light of Christ’s goodness preserve life, even in a fallen world. Humility is good — but silence is wrong.

    Blessings at New Year!
    Maru

  40. BruceC says:

    Spot on Maru!!

    Apart from God there is no “morality” or “code of conduct”. It has either been placed in the conscience of the atheist, as it has been to all mankind; or it is in the bosom of a Christian throuhg the indwelling Holy Spirit and the study of the Word.
    Secular “values” apart from God erode very rapidly in the right circumstances. Nazi germany is a prime example. Look at our own culture. Do we any groups of atheists banning together against abortion.
    Atheist have a god. It is they themselves that they place on the pedestal of their lives and their “morality” is their work of righteousness.
    I surely would like to see some statistics that show how many atheists there are with a high degree of morality.
    I think where we as Christians slip up is when we get bogged down by this culture that daily bombards us with it’s deceit and temptation. Some of which is so subtle that we hardly notice it during the everyday rush of life.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  41. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Bruce!

    On the statistical side, I believe Barna has some small studies of frequency of an array of sins (lying, gossiping, drunkenness…) among believers vs. non-believers. It seems that some sins are committed tens of times more frequently by non-believers than believers — without apparent guilt or remorse. I probably should not mention this, since I read it on the internet & did not pursue the details of the study!

    It seems to me that conscience, so painful in some persons, can be quelled and silenced by continual denial and over-riding the effect of it. The old adage among church-goers is “it only takes six weeks to lose the church habit.” That is the time, a month and a half, at which point conscience for seeking the fellowship of the saints no longer influences our hearts. Pursuing sinful things must have some of the same aspects — the more you do it, the more “right” it seems.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  42. castaway says:

    The biblical worldview rescues, preserves, and exalts the intellect, more so than any other worldview. Made in the image of God, the mind of man is the part of him that has fallen in sin, and it is the part of him that is renewed and reconstructed at conversion. The intellect is where the discussions Mart talks about, must occur. We have nothing to fear (avoid).

    Related to all this, the subsequent process of sanctification likewise involves the development of the intellect in conformity to the content of biblical teaching, which is “the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Paul writes that one who has undergone regeneration “is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:10). Through the prophet Jeremiah, God says that the “shepherds after my own heart” are those who will lead his people “with knowledge and understanding” (Jeremiah 3:15). Christians now have the “mind of Christ”.

    When you have read the Bible in its entirety, you cannot escape one of its main thrusts; Scripture teaches that one of its’ goals is the total refutation of non-Christian intellectual ideas, along with providing an invincible rational presentation and defense of its own position.

    “As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures” (Acts 17:2) (Luke describes Jesus doing the same thing in Luke 4:16 using the same grammatical construct)

    Paul’s preaching ministry involves reasoning, arguing, and lecturing – all of which are highly intellectual activities. Arguing was an integral part of his evangelistic strategy. This is crucial to understanding Paul’s writings – rather than arguing for the gospel’s existential value – its ability to satisfy the unbelievers’ “felt-needs” “lagging doubts” or creaturely longings – he argues for the gospel’s central propositions, such as God’s revelation and judgment, and Christ’s incarnation and resurrection.

    He presents the gospel as something that people must believe because it is true, rather than focusing on its power to deliver them from such things as depression, loneliness, or meaninglessness.

    This is what it means to do defend the gospel – it honors the gospel and converts the sinner by persuasively arguing that Christianity is true, and therefore must be believed.

    Paul says, “Now God commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). God imposes a moral obligation on humanity to believe all that the Scripture teaches, including Christ’s incarnation, atonement, and resurrection, so that no one can reject the gospel with impunity. Believe and live, disbelieve and be damned.

    If you do not know your Bible or perhaps you do not believe it in it’s’ entirety, then perhaps you should avoid any and all moral arguments and therefore, avoid bringing reproach to the name of Christ?

  43. leaderjimm says:

    I wouldn’t trust the best fifteen minutes I ever lived to get me into heaven.” Adrian Rogers quote

  44. poohpity says:

    One can reason all they want but it is the Spirit that draws people to God. Not by intellectual arguments or apologetics unless that is already how one is but that will leave out the heart and spirit. I do not read the Bible to present a case to someone I read because God put it on my heart to do so and I want to know the God I worship and to see that humanity has remained the same although the times were different we still have the same character qualities and behaviors. I also read knowing it is truth so that I will not be deceived by the many false teachers that will come my way. We can have intellectual argument for reading the Bible but there is also a matter of the heart. After all we are to worship God with all our hearts, souls and minds, so that says to me we can’t have one without the others.

    Paul also stood before many and asked the Lord to give Him the words to say to an unbelieving crowd but before the Jewish leaders he used apologetics. There is a time and place for each and sometimes that means just sharing our own individual stories of how the Lord has effected our lives and sometimes we have to give reason to our beliefs. The tricky point is the wisdom to know which is called for.

  45. poohpity says:

    And that takes divine inspiration.

  46. poohpity says:

    It is 43 degrees in Mesa Az and I do not know how you guys up in all the snow handle going barefoot when it is so cold, I may have to take the sandals off and find some covered shoes.

  47. leaderjimm says:

    43 degrees is golfing weather in WI

  48. poohpity says:

    :-)

  49. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart and friends… why is the premise placed on avoiding moral argumens? It that not akin to the premise of society today who would also like to avoid any mention of Jesus Christ?
    A recent discovering by a pastor was to find a survey by a local paper in which people were asked to define the best things about Christmas by selecting certain categories. Like… family and friends gathering, traditional foods being eaten, what favorite gifts were shared and so on, but there was never any mention about any spiritual connection.
    I guess the person doing that study just relied on his good worldly developed conscience and high moral character.
    Lets face it, society at large is drifting away at record pace believing that they are being good enough to get to heaven if you want to believe there is one, and if not that is also, okay with them, so it doesn’t really matter.
    Just have a nice day, follow your heart, do good things and you are already blessed by them as being qualified and morally fulfilling your destiny, pleasing to both Mother Nature, and the Universe.
    If only those Christians weren;t around the ones who mess everything up by all this Jesus stuff they drag around in front of us all the time, maybe if we just ignore them, they will go away, just like the mentioning of Christ in schools, court houses, government and the real moral people of the world who know better,then we will all be totally free.
    I wonder why it is that the battle of the mind is always ours?
    Oh yeah, it is the battle of the renewed mind that sees truth through the Holy Spirit within, a newet of morals that the world cannot grasp on their own, nor could we before conversion.
    How do we now transmit our God-given disease to them? Gary

  50. oneg2dblu says:

    Oh yeah, by not arguing with them in the first place!!

  51. oneg2dblu says:

    Happy New Year!

  52. poohpity says:

    Gary, do you remember when we tried to share things with someone who did not believe Jesus was the Christ? It was a futile discussion that only lead to problems. So sharing about morals with an atheist would be similar to beating one’s head against the wall. Psalms 14:1 NLT; Prov 14:7; 18:2; 26:4,5,12; 28:26

  53. davids says:

    People seem to be ignoring the points of Mart’s Blog.
    1. Athiests point out that Christians say the Bible is their moral guide,
    A. But most Christians pick some Old Testament (Levitical) laws to follow, but ignore others.
    B. Almost no Christian would accept stoning for adultery.
    C. So most Christians are putting themselves as the moral authority by picking which moral precepts to follow.

    2. We are not necessarily more moral than atheists because we have the Bible as a moral guide.
    A. The Bible says people without the Bible can be moral because God has written his laws in everyone’s heart.
    B. Paul says that those who have the Bible don’t necessarily keep the law any more than those who have no Bible.

    3. Therefore, let’s not posture ourselves as better than anyone else because of our own moral practice.

    4. Let’s not read the Bible as simply a collection of statements floating in a timeless limbo, without a storyline that gives sense, perspective, proportionality, and explanation to what we now recognize as the parts of the Bible that we either accept or reject for the betterment of ourselves and others.

    My view on this is colored by the fact that I was raised by “moral” but not Christian parents. Then I landed quite unintentionally at a Christian University. I was quite surprised by the behavior I saw. Most people were no more “moral” than other people – and some were quite a lot worse.

    This experience put me off of Christianity for a couple decades before God in his grace drew me near to Him.

    My answer to the athiest is clear. I do not accept the Levitical code. It was meant to instruct a tribal people to prepare themselves for the Messiah. What matters is the morality expressed by Jesus and in the New Testament writings, taking into account the prejudices and cultural norms of the time.

    I know some will find this an unacceptable viewpoint, but people have taken the New Testament literally to justify the persecution of the Jews, slavery, and the exclusion of women.

    So many are still picking parts of the New Testament that they choose to obey. This is the hypocrisy that people still see in God’s church.

    I believe that only by focussing on God’s love and compassion can we get to the core of Christ’s message. This is what is missing in how the world views Christ’s church.

  54. castaway says:

    Scripture does not contain mere human opinion or even the human interpretation of divine revelation, but it came “right out” of God, so to speak, and thus there is no difference between what Scripture says and what God thinks or what God says. The Scripture is what God thinks and what God says.

    There is no difference between the authority of God and the authority of Scripture. To understand Scripture is to understand the mind and the will of God, and to disobey Scripture is to disobey him.

    Regardless of times and cultures, the Bible wields absolute authority over every human being. Every person must believe it, obey it, and then be judged by it. In it is the message that saves some for heaven and damns all others to hell. Anyone who would approach God must come to him through faith in the Bible. It rules over mankind, and in it is written the fate of the world. Whether we are referring to believers or unbelievers, they are behaving in the manner that the Bible says they would, and their respective destinies will also be what the Bible predicts. No one is exempt, and no one can escape – you either fall upon the Rock and be broken, or the Rock falls on you and crushes you to powder.

    To involve the heart (i.e. love or compassion) is to drift into subjectivity.

  55. foreverblessed says:

    To everyone, a very good new year, that this new year will be even more a year of rest, the Sabbath rest in which we entered when we fully lay down our lives in faith in Jesus in God’s hands, in His mighty Hand.
    We rest in His love. He loved us first, with such a great love that He lay down His life for our redemption. I pray that we will have a love that is full blazing coming out of our heart. God does want our love too, just as we enjoy the love from our dear ones we love.

  56. s2inkzoo says:

    Thank you davids for the outline! I was thinking of doing the same thing to frame up my thoughts. A lot of good thoughts on this subject.

    I see wisdom in both of the main conclusions of Mart’s post. On the first point, i think there have been a lot of good posts and I don’t have much I can add. On the second point, we do need to understand the context of what we read in the Bible to apply it correctly. I read somewhere recently that stuck in my mind — if we tell people the Bible says something it doesn’t, we are really saying God said something he didn’t say — like a false prophet. The point that we can’t our responsibility of telling others what God’s word says. If we are truly seeking God, we should be looking to the Bible to seek what he is trying to tell us, not just answers to questions or directions on the path we are traveling.

    I have also heard someone refer to the method some people use of applying the Bible as “dalmatian theology”. This is the believing the Bible in “spots”. Without understanding that the Word is a single story and congruent whole. If we can decide which parts to follow, then are we not setting the agenda instead of God?

  57. foreverblessed says:

    szinkzoo, thanks for your thought, we should be very careful about saying the bible says this or that. I say amen to Davids post too! We do not live under the old covenant, Jesus came to bring a new one. We who live in faith in Him live under the New Law.
    I wanted to say some more on the Sabbath law. We have an issue here in my house church group. The person had a bible study on it, all scriptures from the bible, so you could say, it was bible based. The outcome was that the sunday is now the new sabbath, and this is what God wants, He wants us to keep sunday holy.
    What are we, are we still under the old covenant? Jesus came to fulfill the law, He did not destroy the sabbath law, He came to fulfil it. He IS the Sabbath rest. It is said in the old testament we should not carry any load on the sabbath, then comes Jesus, and He invites us to give our loads to Him Come to Me, you who are heavy carry your own burdens. He does not not say it as a Law, Thous shalt not carry any load yourselves. He invites us to come to Him and lay all our burdens.
    And so here is my wish for all of you again: Carry the load of your life to Jesus, give it to Him, in the deep trust that He takes care of us, always, not just one of seven days, but all the time, every minute of our life. And see for yourselves how your love for God will grow and grow, and all our morality will not be out of a book, but out of love for God and for our fellow man. It is love that counts!

  58. foreverblessed says:

    Sorry for the mistypings, I think you call them typos.
    Jesus said: Come to Me, all who are heavy,(carrying your own burdens) and I will give you rest. The true Sabbath rest.

  59. carlh says:

    The most obvious difference between the moral Atheist and the believer is in where he/she puts the credit for their goodness such as it is. The Atheist believes it originates from within , the believer gives the credit and all the glory to God who places His Spirit within us, enabling us to please Him by His power, or has “written his laws in our hearts” as Mart pointed out. I do not believe that the Atheist will be condemned as much for his unbelief as his arrogance, since deep down he does believe or he would not have to argue his point.

  60. florida7sun says:

    Best wishes to all for a Blessed New Year.

    An evangelist friend of mine (now with the Lord) prayed this prayer, which I too embrace:

    “Lord, man’s voice is loud and easily heard, but Your voice is still and small. Teach me to listen to man with an open mind and to You with an open heart.”

    Proverbs 4:23 cautions us to “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

    There are so many voices that offer opinion and insights. Some are louder, even much louder, than others. Through the years I have discovered that all I hear must be personally filtered through God’s Word, one-on-one with the Holy Spirit as my teacher.

    No other distraction or resource. The Lord gives me the freedom to seek a quiet spot apart from the din of this dying world. It is there He offers understanding along with all of His loving attributes: grace, peace and mercy.

    Ray

  61. poohpity says:

    If we are paying attention to the moral law then we are not bringing glory to the only One who could fulfill the it. The moral law was used to point to Jesus, the fulfillment of that moral law and to show us how much we needed someone to step in on our behalf because we could not. If we are even discussing morals at all then we are wanting another to acknowledge how good we are and we aint but He is.

    castaway, to me we are more than a mind and so is Christianity. If the heart is subjective then what do you call faith? Maybe relative? Staying objective prevents the totality of man.

  62. poohpity says:

    Ray, so very wise. I am one of those with a very loud mouth, lol!!

    This morning I was reading in Revelation 22:11 NLT; stood out to me.

    Here goes my usual offer for the New Year, would anyone like to join me in a trip through the Bible in this coming new year? I know at some points it gets rather dry and hard to stick with but it will bless your socks off if you wear them, lol!!

  63. SFDBWV says:

    Psalm 50:23 “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.”

    1Corintians 10: 31 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

    John 14: 6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the father, but by me.”

    Why does the atheist live, what he might consider, a moral life?

    Why do the Christian live a *Biblical* moral life? Is it only for his benefit or is it a shared benefit and offering to God?

    An atheist will not praise God through his *works* but the Christian gives praise to Jesus by his works and actions and attitude. (John 13: 15)

    Steve

  64. poohpity says:

    The Bible ends with Rev 22:21 NLT.

  65. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends!

    As we count down to 2013, let us draw near to the Lord!

    I hear you, Pooh! Let us cover that terrain yet once more together: “The one who testiies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be wsith all the saints. Amen.” — Revelation 22:20, 21

    Blessings at New Year,
    Maru

  66. remarutho says:

    Of course, I mean “with all the saints!” :o) Maru

  67. oneg2dblu says:

    Good morning All… while we exchange point of where vmorality comes from who obeys it and who does not I pose this thought… If morality is already palced in the hearts of man by God, why the Law?
    If the good conscience is placed in the imnds of man by God, then why the Cross.
    If God has made himself knowe to all mankind already, why the Grat Commission?
    If we already are aware of God have our morals instilled and possess a good conscience, why a Savior?
    Oh yeah, all the Law in the Bible, the preinstalled morals, the already inplace conscience of man has never been enough for him to live free of sin. It is by disobedience, and unbelief that mankind trips himself after hearing the word.
    “Do not eat of the tree of good and evil.”
    Then, all the offspring of man was forever tainted and in need of a Savior. His heart was always bent toward evil.
    So, his conscience, his morals, and his mind were all tainted.
    But, through the renewing of his mind, which can only come from God through faith in Jesus Christ, does man get his forgivensss, his sin washed awsy. Then, does man get a clean slate on which to live again a new life in Christ.
    His new conscience, his new heart, his new mind and his new morals all come from God through the Spirit that indwells him.
    But, he still has his freewill to not listen, not obey, and not follow. It will be disobedience and unbelief after the deposit of the Holy Spirit that will condemn man to live separated from God for eternity, according to the bible spots I choose to wear.
    That spot on my forhead is not for the world to see, but for me the show them by how I now live, forever changed, forever His.
    Gary

  68. oneg2dblu says:

    Sorry for all the typos I’m on my small screen!

  69. oneg2dblu says:

    Pooh… I never knew socks were even allowed when we are standing on holy ground, but if just reading the word will bless them off, then….it is a mute point.
    So, I guess that qualifies me as a loud mouth also! :0

  70. poohpity says:

    Gary, are you able to follow all the moral law? If you were then Christ would not have went to the Cross and there would be no need for grace, forgiveness and mercy.

    I guess that is why I do not wear socks, Gary, how about you? When it comes to obedience to the Law you are qualified.

  71. poohpity says:

    I guess that is the point of not getting into moral arguments with anyone because we will all beat our chests and realize how much we all fall short of God’s intent. Luke 18:9-14 NLT

  72. kingdomkid7 says:

    Did Jesus ever argue about morals? I would say no. He sometimes made pronouncements about what was wrong, urging the woman caught in adultery to “go and sin no more,” for example. He also commended some who showed great faith — the woman with the issue of blood and the Centurion, for example. But the tricky Pharisees got no argumentation from Him. He quietly set them straight, sometimes by simply asking them questions they could not answer. And yet, we know He is the embodiment of all morality.

    So I would say that another reason for not arguing about morality is because it must not be the way to reach people — otherwise Jesus would have done it. My early church experience introduced me to hypocrites within the church — which kept me away from the church for a long time (only hurting me, not them, of course!) Unbelievers who are trying to live by a moral code (albeit a code they cannot fully comprehend) seem to have radar for hypocrisy — they believe they can “win” the moral argument by having “better” behavior than the Christians. Unfortunately, that is not too hard to do. If we do not argue, then what do we do? I would say wait for the leading of the Holy Spirit to speak the good Word in due season. The Word must be written on the tablets of our hearts, and we must be prepared to offer the defense of what we believe, being able to “rightly divide” the Word of God. If we appear to unbelivers as somebody who has been with Jesus, I think we will have plenty of opportunities to engage them, but probably not by “arguing morality.”The Holy Spirit will convict them of their sin. That is not our job, IMHO.
    Happy New Year everyone!! Love and peace in 2013!

  73. poohpity says:

    I agree, kingdom, that it is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin and it is done with kindness in truth tempered with such amazing grace and mercy.

    Hope the new year brings a better understanding of all that God has allowed us to know as we show to others what we have received from our amazing Lord and Savior. God’s peace, grace and mercy to all in Jesus’ name. Happy New Year, Mart and friends. :-)

  74. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… am I qualified? Yes! Every Christ Follower is qualified.
    We are qualified to follow through Him with obedience, or to follow the world. Qualified to serve Him with excellence, or serve the world. Qualified to share what God has written, or sit back and wait for others do it for Him.
    Qualified to be silent about what Christ has done for you, or speak up.
    God is not going to tell someone your testimony for you.
    Only you are qualified to do that!
    The socks thing… that was more than I needed to know.
    But, thanks for sharing. :)

  75. poohpity says:

    Qualified as a loud mouth, also, in agreement with you, especially yelling about our moral failures as you see them.

  76. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh…I wonder, what is our witness worth to the world around us, if there is never a change seen in us?
    Let me see if I got this correctly, there is no more law under Christ, so we are free to live as lawless as we desire.
    No more morality issues for us, because we are already forgiven them, but we are still always living as helplessly immoral sinners anyhow.
    No change in us is ever required to show the world we are any different from them.
    We must accept that there has to be pride as the reason for any change if there is change.
    We now beat our chests with that pride, if we argue with those who do not believe as we do about anything to do with biblical godly morals, because we are not yet perfect either.
    So, “Follow me, Feed my sheep, Resist the Devil and he will flee from you, Live holy as I am holy,
    If you love me you will obey my commands,” were all just a suggestions because God already knew we would never be able to change anything, even if He gave us His Helper, or His Holy Spirit to live in us.
    Gary

  77. poohpity says:

    Gary, do you still sin? Yes or No No rhetoric just a yes or no. Do you obey all the Lord’s commands? Yes or No

    I do not live as a helplessly immoral sinner, I live as a redeemed saint forgiven by God’s amazing grace. No pride there, all the Glory goes to God. Nothing I can do to earn it or keep it, it is all God.

    We can follow after the accuser of the brethren or the One who saves and redeems.

  78. oneg2dblu says:

    Pooh… maybe in our reading this year we may find some other things compelling you to actually change, in His strength of course, lest we claim pride in our own works.

    Living as a sinner forgiven? Yes!
    A redeemed saint? Yes!
    Forgiven only by God’s amazing grace? Yes!
    Unearned? Yes!

    That is exactly where “every” follower first starts their walk. Right after, their first conviction comes then their first work, the work of confessed repentance.

    Never forget that a work is first required, to show the actual change of heart.

    A confession of true repentance precedes our filling where the spirit then comes from along side to dwelling within.

    According to the words of Christ himself,
    “Repent and be saved!”

    Or do you also deny any form of repentance because it can look like a prideful work?

    You may have also read this once or twice, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

    How does one receive that particular blessing upon entering into eternity with God, if no works are ever required?

    I believe the fall actually starts when we even start to think there really isn’t ever anything that we can do.

    Pagans and the like who are clearly not forgiven, and do not have that empowering still small Voice of God living within them, should they not also feel as you, that there is nothing they need to do also, as they have neither law or commandments they need to follow either?

    Where is the living testimony that each saint should possess, living as a light to the world?

    Where then, is the difference to the ever watching world between an unchanged redeemed saint living like a pagan, and a pagan living as they please?

    Have I been taught wrongly in this type of thinking?

    “If nothing changes, nothing changes!”

    Please forgive my Christ like actions taken here, my asking questions so one can see through their own answers, or where they actually stand.

    No Condemnation here or intended of course!

    But certainly there is still a form of conviction.

    It is presented when reading God’s word which He has been placed before us to actually change us.

    Or is this seen again to be labeled or called a pride filled accusing of the brethren?

    Just a thought to end the old self, and the old year’s unanswered questions…

    May the Peace of Christ dwell richly in you throughout this New Year!
    Gary

  79. oneg2dblu says:

    Oops… I meant to say compelling “us,” all who will meet your challenge, not “you” specifically in my opening statement. :0

  80. foreverblessed says:

    Dear Gary, I was wondering, how do you get to the conclusion at Dec 31, 9.43 pm
    “Let me see if I got this correctly, there is no more law under Christ, so we are free to live as lawless as we desire.”
    We are not under the law of Moses, but we are under Christ’s law. Although Christ does not want us to follow these laws just as a servant, but as a dear brother, one who loves Him so much that you want to follow Him.
    And indeed the first requirement is that we repent, if there is no repentance then there is no need for a Savior. So no real christian start anyway. But on the other hand if there is repentance, then there is a real good start: no way you want to go back in a life of sin.
    Isn’t that a great start, not need to tell about laws, you already have them in your heart, just like a husband and a wife, who are really in love when they start out there journey together, it is not on the basis of laws that they live together, and do certain things not, like not cheating, but on the basis that they love each other, isn’t that so? The basis of all is real love, (the godly unselfish love, the love that Jesus showed, that is it. God does not want us to be with Him in eternity just because we follow a set of rules, but because we have a burning desire in our hearts to live in His love (and so laws) THat is my wish for us all in the hew year, to live in His love.

  81. poohpity says:

    I guess I should have known that it would be rhetoric rather than honest answers to the questions, Gary. Through the honest answers to those question then the lesson of Matthew 7: 1-4 and Luke 6:37-38 can be learned. Normally what we accuse others of are the things we struggle with in our own lives. So your answers show a lot about how you are living your life and the faults you so quickly see in others.

  82. oneg2dblu says:

    Yes pooh, it must be as you say.
    Wow, another label to now live up to.
    I guess they will never end as long as you are always being the counselor, but,I’m not the one who’s always seeing pride in others. :0

    I guess you’ve never read anything about those who are in the church, those who are taught correctly, taught by Paul to be calling other brothers and sisters out in their immoral behavior, their misunderstanding, or their receiving of false teaching.

    Paul said to the church, they are actually to judge others, holding them accountable, according to the teachings he employed, or the unaldulterated scripture as you first heard. (unless of course, you were falsely taught from the beginning and aleady deceptively following another gospel)
    But, then you would be so deceptively blind, ever be judging others as prideful, and never changing.

    Perhaps, I read you all wrong and need to await your reply to my questions instead of jumping to any judgement and calling you full of rhetoric, because you choose to answer a question differently, or with something other than, yes or no!

    Seeing faults in others is a gift only if you can help others to see their faults, like any good counselor, otherwise they see only your pride and will not take any correction.

    It already seems the New Year is off to and runnig as usual!
    Gary

  83. oneg2dblu says:

    forever.. I first replied to you, quite lengthy actually, and probably very aptfully written as well, if I must say so myself.
    But it is all lost now, because of pushing the wrong buttons while trying to use extremes in my thinking. Gary
    I’ll just have to let it go… Get my point? :)

  84. poohpity says:

    Paul teaches when we do go to a person when we see a problem we go in a certain way with a humble spirit so that we also will not fall with them. It is also says rather than making generalizations we specifically address the issue one on one first then with a couple others then take them before the church. Not to just go around shouting about all the imperfections in others while neglecting the areas in our own lives, that has nothing to do with counseling although counseling has learned from what the Word says. foreverblessed has tried to talk about this same issue with you too, so since you have problems when I say something listen to her but more important read about it in God’s word.

  85. poohpity says:

    Seeing faults in others is not a gift it is a curse, it is a gift to look for the good and to look at them with the same eyes God looks at them through the blood of the Lamb.

  86. poohpity says:

    Those who have very critical spirits are usually those who were brought up in homes where nothing the child did was every pleasing to the parents so they grow up picking on others by looking for all their faults in that they seem to feel better about themselves. They lived with criticism and learned how to criticize, judge and condemn that is what counseling teaches.

  87. foreverblessed says:

    Gary, God bless you for letting go!

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