Morality and the Gospel

There is a danger within Christianity to boil everything down to morals.

Moral behavior is an outflow of Spirit-directed faith, but it is by no means an operative part of Christianity. Being good does not win points with God, nor does it clean up the old man, nor does it cause salvation.

However, most “Christians” use morality as THE MAIN ISSUE. Therefore, we get hot and bothered about threats to our “Judaeo-Christian” morality.

Thus we freak out about Caitlyn Jenner’s escapades and same-sex marriage and whatever other moral issue hits our hot button. Meanwhile, Christians think Mormons are on our side because they are good people and vote Republican.

Mormons believe Jesus and Lucifer are brothers. They believe God, the Holy Spirit and Jesus are three separate gods. They believe people can become gods. They don’t believe the Gospel is sufficient to save. Yet Christians nearly helped vote a Mormon into the presidency because of his morals.

So, according to Jesus, which is worse: someone with strange sexual proclivities (say like, a prostitute) or people who blaspheme God (scribes and Pharisees)? Matthew 23 rails on religious false teachers. There is no equivalent chapter-long diatribe against sexual perverts.

Certainly He views them both as sinners (Romans 1 is close to a diatribe against sexual perversion!), but He certainly made more of an issue over those who were leading people astray spiritually than He ever did over sexual problems.

Again, sexual perversions are sin, He did address them at times, but spiritual perversion got a bigger rise out of Jesus.

Morality never seemed to be THE big issue with Jesus. He knew if people got spiritually right, morality would take care of itself.

In fact, this is how Christianity works= Morality flows out of the character of God. Sexual sin, for example, is nothing more than a misunderstanding of who God is.

Ephesians 5 says marriage is the picture of the relationship of Christ with His people made available through the Gospel. If a man marries a man, this causes problems for the metaphor.

If a man wants to marry a man, Christ didn’t tell His followers to pass a constitutional amendment to stop him. He told His followers to teach people right stuff about His Father. Knowing right stuff about the Father, which comes through the Gospel where the Son reveals the Father, will show the misguided man his error and strengthen him in doing what is right.

This is why I think Jesus had a bigger problem with spiritual perversion. If you don’t have a right view of God, you won’t ever have right morality. Wrong morality is a symptom, it’s not the disease.

When the Church focuses on the symptoms, we lose a never-ending battle. At the same time, we actively keep people from the healing of the disease–we join the Pharisees and make our followers twice the children of hell. We chase them off with our moral fixation often expressed by anger, and never get far enough to get the Gospel to them.

Once a person gets the Gospel, truly understands what’s going on in it and grows in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, morality will take care of itself. Bad morals means a bad knowledge of God.

Sin is bad. We’re not supposed to do it. Rampant sin in the world should bother us. But if it truly bothered you, railing against it is not the answer. The answer is proclaiming the Gospel so people understand it. Try it for yourself first, then go forth and teach all nations.

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