October 25 I Thursday
1 Timothy 5
“Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law.”
By what criteria do we determine that stealing, adultery or murder are wrong? Most people 50 years ago still assumed there were moral absolutes, but people today are increasingly convinced that morality is based on context, environment, social consensus and upbringing. Consequently, some today see biblical law as outdated, restrictive and like it was designed to prevent people from enjoying all that life has to offer.
The question is whether morality is truly something we make up, or is it closer to the physical and mathematical laws that govern the universe? For every action, there is always an equal and opposite reaction, and two plus two always equals four. These laws, put in place by God, work every time, and C.S. Lewis argues morality works the same way. In his book The Abolition of Man, Lewis explains that there have been certain understandings of right and wrong held generally across the world in different cultures at different times regardless of religion. The details may vary by culture, but the principles are the same. For instance, Lewis writes, “Men have differed as to whether you should have one wife or four. But they have always agreed that you must not simply have any woman you like.”
This is consistent with Paul’s description of Gentiles who, though they “do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law... They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts” (Romans 2:14-15). There are certain things that everyone knows are wrong because God has put this sense in us. We do not have to be taught these moral absolutes; we simply know them because our conscience alerts us.
Since morality is not arbitrarily imposed but is a universal law for the human race, we will have no more success disregarding the moral law than we would the law of gravity. If we drop an egg from the top of a building, it is going to fall and splatter on the ground, and when we disobey the moral law, there are also consequences. We grow desensitized to sin, and barriers of hurt or mistrust develop in our relationships with others and God. We can resist the moral law, we can fight it or try and impose our own system in its place, but the fact is that morality is not something we determine or change. Right and wrong are absolutes, which makes it vital that we understand the moral law and discover that the God who made it enables us to live by it and forgives us when we repent of disobeying it.
Prayer: Sovereign Lord, thank You for creating the physical, mathematical and moral laws of the universe that give us order. Teach me what is right, and enable me to live by it.