“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”
Be on guard to recognize and avoid the many shallow forms of humanistic thinking. Why? Because historically, humanistic values have rapidly changed directions! They have no enduring mooring and vacillate because they are driven by short term public opinion and human emotion. Without God’s unchanging absolutes, right and wrong would always be inconsistent and arbitrary. Clearly, our world would be highly insecure and a very dangerous place to live if “… everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” (Judges 17:6)
Stop to consider your own fears, desires, and personal weaknesses. Are other humans not equally subject to the same imperfections, limitations, and temptations that you experience (see 1 Corinthians 10:13)? The Bible therefore warms that when “… the blind lead the blind, they will both fall into a ditch.” (Matthew 15:14) The only wise and meaningful way to live is with God’s enduring values that are presented in His word.
No one but Jesus Himself has ever lived up to His Father’s perfect standard of holiness. Therefore, Christians who understand this – must either purpose in their hearts to follow Jesus’ lifestyle of chosen obedience or sadly live in “lukewarm” (Revelation 3:16) fruitless disobedience. The values we adopt will either make us spiritually hot and usable or cold and defeated by mediocracy!
Have God’s teachings sometimes changed? The answer is very seldom and most importantly those few changes have already taken place and been recorded in Scripture (see Revelation 22:18-19). As an example, originally, for humans to multiply and populate the earth, men were expected to love, protect, and provide for – multiple wives. This was both normal and fully moral for countless centuries (see Genesis 4:19; 1 Kings 11:3). Later, however, during the approximate 400-year inter-Biblical period when God raised up no prophets, no one was inspired to speak or write on this subject. Soon the Messiah would provide that teaching.
When John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus arrived – God’s inspired new teaching on marriage was first explained and then expounded through the New Testament’s letters. Men were thereafter to have only one wife at a time (see 1 Corinthians 7:2; 1 Timothy 3:12) and it was also clarified that there would be no marriage in heaven (see Matthew 22:30). This was accompanied by new instruction on marital commitment and divorce (see Matthew 5:31-32).
The Lord’s dynamic statement steadily redirected Hebrew thinking away from their early legalism toward grace and a new understanding of their purpose. Soon, it became clear that He had not been sent to negate Old Testament law but to spiritually fulfill it! Following His resurrection, what Hebrews could now eat was greatly expanded (see Acts 10:9-16) and in their deeper spiritual understanding, their righteousness included their thinking, not just their outward actions (see Matthew 5:28). They came to better comprehend that “…the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Spiritually, Jesus announced God’s changes by explaining, “…you have heard that it was said… but I tell you…” (Matthew 5:31,38). The end of rigid outward rules, symbolic animal sacrifice and multiple wives all illustrated God’s new, full, and wonderful final revelation (see Revelation 22:18-19). Nothing more was to be added to the Scriptures and nothing was to be taken away!
As believers slowly became better prepared to appreciate God as their – one true holy and triune Creator, they were allowed to more fully understand His sovereign purpose and merciful nature. In that amazing process, Jesus was guided to say, “he who has seen Me has seen Him who sent Me” (John 12:45). This is why Jesus’ values are what actually matter in society. They were and remain exactly the same as the values held by His Father!
The 10 Commandments will always be God’s spiritual foundation for our laws, civic values, ethics, and morality. However, when we fail, we now have a Savior who loves us and demonstrated that by suffering on our behalf. His Father’s grace, purity, and patience – were all reveled in His life, teachings, and final victory.
By Billie Hanks Jr.