DO PEOPLE REALLY UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG?
“KNOWING RIGHT FROM WRONG”
1. Everybody must make personal decisions of right & wrong. (What moral / religious compass should we rely upon?)
a. One reason confusion exists is that everyone is being told he has the right to make up his own rules (“decide for yourself”).
b. Isa. 5:20 – Commentary on our society, too!
c. God’s unchangeable word is the final word – 2 Pet. 1:3.
2. Some say: “Give me a complete list of what is right & wrong.”
a. Some things are always wrong (Gal. 5:19-21, not complete).
b. Some things are always right (Gal. 5:22-23, fruit of the Spirit).
c. A right thing may not be expedient (appropriate) to do at a given time (l Cor. 6:12).
d. The use of morally neutral things can become wrong depending on its setting (meats, 1 Cor. 8:4, 7-13; meat, days, etc., Rom. 14)
e. Things which are ordinarily right may be wrong for some people:
· Marriage, Matt. 19:6, 9 vs. Mk. 6:17-18; 1 Cor. 7:10-11
· Married sex vs. unmarried sex, Heb. 13:4
3. God has given us guidelines to determine right & wrong.
I. SOME PREREQUISITES FOR KNOWING RIGHT & WRONG.
A. Determination to do Right – cf. Jno. 7:17.
1. We must “will to do [God’s] will.”
2. Must not be interested in “pushing it to the limit,” but in finding the wise & appropriate course (Matt. 10:16).
B. A Commitment to Conform our Life to Christ – Rom. 12:2; Gal. 2:20; Phil. 2:5. (Disciple learns from & lives like Master)
C. Total Trust in God’s Decisions. (Faith)
1. 2 Pet. 1:3 – Has given us what we need – Trust His answers.
2. l Jno. 1:3-4 – To have & maintain fellowship with God.
3. Not: Accept His answers only when they appeal to us, Psa. 23:1-3)
II. UNSAFE METHODS OF DETERMINING RIGHT & WRONG.
A. “Everyone else does it.”
1. Bandwagon – cf. Matt. 7:13.
2. Don’t rest your decision upon majority rule!
B. “I like it and it doesn’t hurt anyone else.”
1. If it hurts you, that is bad enough! – cf. 2 Cor. 6:17
2. No one has all-knowledge to make such a broad statement!
C. “I can afford it.”
1. Money doesn’t make right!
2. Can you afford eternal cost if you are wrong? (Matt. 16:26)
D. “This has always been done.” – Matt. 15:3-6
1. “I have done this a long time & nothing bad has happened.”
2. Many things are done because they are the course of least resistance — Doesn’t mean they are right!
E. “My conscience doesn’t bother me.” – Acts 23:1 (24:16)
1. Saul’s conscience didn’t bother him while he was sinning!
2. “Our consciences merely urge us to do right, without telling us what right is.” – cf. Prov. 14:12; 16:2; 19:21
III. GUIDELINES FOR DETERMINING RIGHT & WRONG.
-(We want to make spiritually wise decisions – Prov. 28:26; Col. 1:9-10.)
A. Is there Bible Authority for it? – Col. 3:17; Matt. 21:23-25; 2 Jno. 9
1. Is it flatly condemned or clearly permitted? (Gal. 5:19-23)
2. Upon the basis of Bible authority, consider the following principles to help determine right & wrong:
B. Will it Offend my Conscience? (Do I have doubts about it?) – Rom. 14:1-5, 23
1. God has given us certain authorized liberties.
2. If you doubt the legitimacy of something – don’t do it! (v. 23)
3. But, don’t judge your brother when he uses a liberty which you personally have doubts about! (Rom. 14:1-5)
C. Will I Become a Stumbling-Block to Someone Else? – l Cor. 10:23, 31-33; 8:10-13
1. Our actions impact others! Their salvation is important!
2. Something right becomes wrong when, in doing it, we cause another to sin against his conscience, thus hindering him.
D. Will it Adversely affect my Body & Health?
1. Rom. 12:1 – Body is to be sacrificed to God, not destroyed so that we cannot use it to serve Him!
2. l Cor. 6:19-20 – Our body belongs to God for His glory, not for our selfish pleasures!
E. Will it Encourage Unlawful Desires (Which Promote Sin)? – cf. l Jno. 2:15-16 with Phil. 4:8
1. Don’t put yourself into a compromising situation.
2. Flee from everything which causes sinful desires! Will lead to compromised values, hindered goals & sin.
F. Will it Show Christ to the World? – Matt. 5:16; Phil. 1:27
1. We can determine right from wrong by turning to God & His revealed truth.
2. But, without determination to do, commitment to conform to Christ, & total trust in God’s will, we will have problems knowing right from wrong!