John Ritenbaugh cautions that most religious-professing people (including many members of the greater church of God) have not used the Word of God as their standard of morality and conduct, but instead are allowing society and culture to shape their attitudes, tolerating the disgusting incremental escalating perversion of moral … The Bereans "received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:10-11). God made it clear that we cannot violate His standards without suffering the consequences, but because He is loving and compassionate beyond measure, He gives us this glorious hope: “For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance; “Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven” (D&C 1:31–32; emphasis added). Love is so much greater in importance than sex that there is no adequate comparison. We find another restriction in I Corinthians 7:3-4: Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. If we have made moral mistakes in our lives, we can repent because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He seems to imply that moral goodness can exist and be determined independently of God. In this progressive culture, people believe that morality changes from age to age and culture to culture. What happens to our sense of sin when God's standards seem no longer to be valid? We recognize that everyone is a son or daughter of God and deserves to be treated as such. No one can claim to be fooled by the effects of pornography, believing there is any such thing as an innocent glance. There is no field so dark or corner so secluded that no one will ever know. It is certainly possible to suppress or ignore our conscience but the mere existence of an innate barometer of right and wrong is strong evidence for God, a divine moral-giver, so it’s essential to understand God’s standards. Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2), and guilt is the result of that separation. None of us should think we are too powerful or too immune to succumb. If the Christian wants to know God’s will, he turns to the Bible. It is no abuse of the term to describe this agency as a … The title, “Is God the Standard of Morality?”, is full of implications. The apostle Paul writes in Romans 7:14 that God's law is spiritual. Whenever Egypt was mentioned, they experienced a pang of culpability for what they had done. Love is motivated by self-control, obedience to God’s moral laws, respect for others, and unselfishness. They build relationships of trust, they enhance self-esteem, they foster a clear conscience, and they invite the Spirit of the Lord to bless individual and married lives. In marriage, the submission of a woman to her husband is also intended to be voluntary. This argument says that if we claim that there are moral values we have to have a standard by which we measure them. For the full address, visit web.byui.edu/devotionalsandspeeches. David writes in Psalm 58:3-4: "The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born speaking lies. In God's standard of morality, He is quite specific. The English Romantic poet, William Wordsworth, poignantly expresses the mood of this menacing memory: “From the body of one guilty deed a thousand ghostly fears and haunting thoughts proceed.”. Humanists have also managed to convince many that everything is morally irrelevant. So it is with God our Father—He needs to speak only once on the issue of morality, and that one declaration trumps all the opinions of the lower courts, whether uttered by psychologists, counselors, politicians, friends, parents, or would-be moralists of the day. As such, the Bible becomes our source of morality because the Bible is the very Word of God in written form (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). In Christianity, God is the necessary precondition for moral objectivity. Eventually we either fight it or embrace it. Otherwise, all we have is subjective human moral opinion, no matter how it is dressed up. As the Father and Son are equally divine, the husband and wife are equally human. Each partner in a marriage belongs to the other even before the marriage takes place. Our dress affects not only our thoughts and actions but also the thoughts and actions of others. Most of all, repentance is an honest change of heart, a burning resolve to live a morally clean life—not because we have to but because we want to. This happens when we consistently choose ways that are in harmony with God's plan. At some point we must decide which will be our invited guest. Leviticus 4:2 presents us with a different situation: "If a person sins unintentionally against any of the commandments of the LORD in anything which ought not to be done, and does any of them. God is the Standard The biblical morality is rooted ultimately and inseparably in the unchanging nature of God. Leadership and Covenants (Part Six). Isaiah 28:16-17 In verse 17, the plumb line is defined as justice and righteousness. Sometimes people do not realize the seriousness of these transgressions or, in some cases, rationalize it away. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. We must have the highest morality, as high as God Himself. Some would have us believe that the Church’s stand against same-gender physical relationships is a temporary policy and not an eternal doctrine. Even before marriage, both the man's and the woman's body belongs to their future spouses. Is the God of the Old Testament a moral monster? The argument, succinctly, is that for an objective moral system to exist, God must exist. Sex and love are not equivalent. This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. Their bodies are not theirs to “just play around with.” This teaches us that fornication contributes to weakening a marriage that has not even occurred yet! The quest for perfection is accelerated when we are clean, but it is stymied when we are not. Adams proposes that in many Judeo-Christian contexts, the term 'wrong' is used to mean being contrary to God's commands. Society decides what is right and wrong. For example, within marriage, sex is totally, completely, and absolutely limited to one's legal partner in that specific marriage. Sin, Christians, and the Fear of God. What the Bible says about The sins wreaked destructive results, even though they were committed by simple carelessness, laziness, indifference, or not considering the end. All that God's order defines in this case is subordination. Secluded locations, late nights, and morally loose friends have incredible magnetic fields to draw us into Satan’s clutches. The person is failing to live up to the moral or ethical standard. The Bible, which contains God’s revealed moral will in His law and commandments, is His revelation to His people. And Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, "What have you done to us? Through the media and entertainment, the world promotes quite a different level of moral acceptability than God's standards, illustrating Proverbs 14:12: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”. You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done.". In human marriage, husband and wife, like the Father and Son, are also essentially the same. It is therefore each person's responsibility to preserve the body's sexual purity for the one he or she will marry. Accordingly, any conscious thoughts or voluntary actions that stimulate or result in the expression of the procreative power outside the marriage relationship are disapproved by the Lord. Some of the best of men and women in the worst of circumstances have fallen. Thus, God is not absolutely independent." The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. To all honest souls who change their hearts and forsake their sins, He has promised, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). They are the proven standards for happy marriages and stable communities. In terms of government, there is a distinctive and deliberate similarity between the two organizations. God is ultimate authority. Please see my video on the punishment for adultery for more details. 2 Timothy 3:1-5. He also said, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a … The Lord promised us, “For if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27). But if those thoughts turn to lust, then the nest is being built. Rather, they are positive, uplifting, and liberating. Because God created us and made us in His image, we belong to Him and are obligated to live according to His standard or face His judgment. Accordingly, Paul the Apostle counseled “women [to] adorn themselves in modest apparel” (1 Timothy 2:9). Satan, using the humanists' influence, has convinced a large percentage of the public that sex and love are the same, a major departure from what was once generally believed in American culture. It will make us eligible for a spouse of like purity and will make the expression of the procreative power in the marriage relationship sweeter and more rewarding because we have reserved it for the time the Lord Himself has endorsed. It is at this juncture that Satan, using men he controls through subtle deceits, has dealt a devastating blow to our culture. For instance, Romans 3:20 reads, "Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin." Even as the Father and Son have different roles in their relationship, so do the husband and wife in God's purposes for the family. Contrary to much public sentiment, there is nothing negative or restraining about God’s moral standards. At some point willpower will be an indispensable ingredient—there is not a pill or counseling technique to solve every addiction. God desires that His children not watch any movie or TV show, go to any website, or view any magazine that is pornographic in any way. Without God, objective morality would not exist. See Richard G. Scott, “The Power of Righteousness,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 69. Boyd K. Packer, To Young Men Only (1976), 4, 5. It attempts to challenge the claim that an external standard of morality prevents God from being sovereign by making him the source of morality and his character the moral law. . In general, the argument I have heard that attempts to connect morality and God is the Lawgiver argument that I described in my last post. We cannot break God’s moral laws with impunity and be happy because God, who created us, placed within our souls a moral compass known as our conscience. The scriptures tell us, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). He is by nature essentially good, loving, kind, faithful, just, loyal, truthful, and so forth. If it is too low or too high or too tight, it may prompt improper thoughts, even in the mind of a young man who is striving to be pure.4. Repentance, however, is not just a matter of time or forsaking a sin or making a confession. A HIGH STANDARD OF MORALITY. We have seen that already in our word "upright," a synonym of "vertical." The sin is not in involuntarily seeing something improper; the sin is in entertaining the thought once it comes. If they can overturn them, they reason, they will be free to have all the fun non-Christians supposedly have. In the parallel, Christ is not inferior to God the Father. They also tend to be in positions of authority in government, business, education, and entertainment. Callister, don’t you have a more recent case than this?”. The word "offended" is translated from chata', and "sin" is translated from a cognate. The first is “I loved her.” Satan is the great counterfeiter. Alma, his father, put it in perspective: “Know ye not, my son, that these things are an abomination in the sight of the Lord?” (Alma 39:5). Now we go on to chapter nineteen to consider another point. This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. Job 5:24 does not involve sin, but chata' appears in the verse: "You shall know that your tent is in peace; you shall visit your habitation and find nothing amiss." Because God gave us this power, He, and He alone, has the right to prescribe how it should be used. What is upright is righteous, and God will judge according to that standard. The highest standard of morality is an exceptional living which cannot be compared to the common level of morality; it is not just to be good, moral, ethical, and kind, but higher than this. Government is merely a system of operation, a means of directing and controlling so that the purposes of an organization are achieved. Ultimately, we will be judged by the standard of God's Word. It helps to be aware of these terms so that we can extract more knowledge and understanding. Every human being has a conscience which is a God-given attribute to guide us on morality. But we also believe in an infinite Atonement that has the capacity in this life or the life to come to endow us with every power necessary to convert our weaknesses and imperfections into strengths. This is why the standard of right and wrong can only come from one who is perfect—our Creator, the Almighty God. Answer: The moral argument begins with the fact that all people recognize some moral code (that some things are right, and some things are wrong). God’s standard of morality cannot be dismissed; it cannot be diluted or compromised; it can only be obeyed or disobeyed. God created us, so He has the right to hold us to His moral standard. He would be the Revelator. His opponent cited a number of lower-court decisions of more recent vintage. It may require confession, intense prayer, fasting, immersion in the scriptures, replacing idle time with constructive time, putting strict boundaries on Internet usage, professional counseling, and the like, but you can overcome it. Also, Ezekiel 44:10 reads, "And the Levites who went far from Me, when Israel went astray, who strayed away from Me after their idols, they shall bear their iniquity." If one tentacle does not work, he will try another and another until he finds one that takes hold. At its simplest, sin is a deviation from what is good and right. These acts constitute the ultimate use of the procreative power with someone of the opposite sex with whom we are not legally married. It has been said, “You can watch the birds fly by; just don’t let them build a nest on your head.” There is nothing wrong with noticing the pretty young lady or handsome young man as they walk by—that is normal. At certain times and places, no matter how strong we are, we have less resistance. It assumes that God is, that morality exists, and that there are appropriate standards by which we judge the world around us. Then that moral nature issues in divine commandments to us. For an answer, all we need to do is take a look at our global society—its violence, sexual immorality, greed, stealing, and lying resulting in mass deaths, horrible diseases, rampant fraud, massive distrust, and misery. I now cite some of the Lord’s standards of morality so as to minimize any misunderstanding or ambiguity. Solomon writes in Proverbs 8:36, "But he who sins against me [wisdom personified] wrongs his own soul; all those who hate me love death." The Bible displays the Father's and the Son's standard in a multitude of word-pictures that reveal their nature and characteristics in word and deed. The judge said to my father, “Mr. 2014, 44–49. God's Standard of Morality, Guilt as the Result of Separation from God, Parallel between Deity and Mankind in God's Order. Why is it like this? John W. Ritenbaugh Our choice to obey or disobey God’s standard of morality will largely determine our happiness in life. “Where there is no revelation [divine vision], the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law” (Proverbs 29:18). He was reminded that the supreme court trumps all lower-court decisions, however numerous or recent they may be. I now want to explore the relationship between belief in God and belief in Morality further, for there is clearly some sort of link there that few speak enough of. We cannot avoid seeing every improper billboard or immodestly dressed person, but we can drive out the improper thought once it arises. So God, in his moral nature, is the paradigm of goodness. What the Bible says about Before attempting to explain and assess moral arguments for theexistence of God, it would be helpful to have some perspective on thegoals of arguments for God’s existence. These uses have the blessing and endorsement of the Lord. We do have the power within us to take control of our lives and our thoughts. Because Adam was commanded to tend to the earth, the plants, and the animals God punished the earth as well due to Adam's irresponsibility. Two oft-repeated rationalizations are used to support moral transgression. . Objective moral values do exist. How have I offended you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? Their poison is like the poison of a serpent; they are like the deaf cobra that stops its ear." God is not impressed with prayerless people who play fast and loose with His commandments – no matter how big their church building is or how many houses they have in which neighbourhood. Our goal in life is not just to be clean but also to be perfect. …, “… It is not pleasing to the Lord, nor is it pleasing to you. Even so, it in no way tempered the effect of them as minor. The most common verbal root in Hebrew for the noun sin literally means "to miss, to fail, to err, or to be at fault," and it is often translated by these terms depending upon context. Those with same-gender tendencies have a duty to (1) abstain from immoral relationships and (2) do all within their power to avail themselves of the refining, perfecting powers of the Atonement. In the kingdom we should not insist on any legality, but we must maintain high moral standards. Therefore, God exists. The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment Sign up for the Berean: Daily Verse and Comment, and have Biblical truth delivered to your inbox. Though the Son is one with the Father, being of the same substance, power, and glory, He nonetheless voluntarily submits to the Father. It is chata' (Strong's #2398). God gave us intelligence and the capacity to act freely. There are no exceptions. In some regards, Satan is like an octopus trying to capture us. It can also indicate that "wandering" or "straying" is involved. Jeremiah writes in Lamentations 5:7, "Our fathers sinned and are no more, but we bear their iniquities." This does not mean that God’s goodness is contingent upon our approval. God is the final standard of what is good, and all that God is and does is worthy of approval. Now I share some danger signals that precede some of the sins I have mentioned. It is fornication if neither party is married; it is adultery if either or both parties are married. May each of us be a part of that pure generation and embrace the Lord’s standard of morality. Such a life will bring self-confidence and self-esteem. Many of them are university-educated and earn salaries that place them in upper-middle-class income brackets. But he doesn’t deny that in the absence of God there would still be moral goodness. Most people believe sin occurs only between themselves and some impersonal, arbitrary law made up in former times to keep people from enjoying themselves. He tries to palm off lust as love. Just as darkness flees at the presence of light, so evil flees at the presence of good. The Lord forbids fornication and adultery despite how the world feels toward these behaviors. It will result in a clear conscience. It is repulsive to the Spirit of the Lord. Both in civil government, and in private and public education, it was held that God’s standard for morality was the foundation and strength of our nation, regardless of a person’s religious affiliation. (2 Timothy 3:16–17) The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Light of the World, Faithful Parents and Wayward Children: Sustaining Hope While Overcoming Misunderstanding, Connecting with the Blessings of Relief Society, Faith and Fortitude: Women of the Old Testament, Trials, Tribulations, and Trust in the Lord, “The Lord’s Standard of Morality,” Ensign, Mar. He declared, “The rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed” (D&C 1:3; emphasis added). Women particularly can dress modestly and in the process contribute to their own self-respect and to the moral purity of men. Some years ago my father, an attorney, was trying a lawsuit. It is the God-given power to become who he created us to be and so to share eternal union with him. Good and evil thoughts cannot coexist in our minds any more than light and dark can exist at the same time and in the same place. It is a poisonous, venomous, unforgiving snake that will strike the moment you take your first look and will continue to strike with a full portion of venom with each look thereafter. It happened to King David as he watched Bathsheba at nighttime, at first from a seemingly safe distance (see 2 Samuel 11:2–4). For example, within marriage, sex is totally, completely, and absolutely limited to one's legal partner in that specific marriage. He thinks that God is necessary for human morality because if there weren’t any God there wouldn’t be any human beings just as there wouldn’t be any universe. Would god want us to continue doing this, despite having a more effective means to deal with it? There is a simple test to detect the difference. In the end, most women get the type of man they dress for. In reality, moral irrelevance actually drives marriages apart. God’s moral law is his standard for all people. What, then, is the Lord’s standard for use of the sacred power of procreation—His standard of morality? See what over 150,000 subscribers are already receiving each day. God highly esteems those who fear Him and hate evil. All three of these implications are right and true, and all people are held responsible for recognizing them. To determine whether the God of the Old Testament is morally good or bad, there must first be a standard against which judgments are made. Here, chata' is translated as "amiss": Nothing is wrong; the habitation is as it should be. Should We Ignore Our Feelings of Guilt? Here, the fathers missed achieving God's standard, that is, the level of conduct He would have exhibited were He involved in the same situation as they. President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said: “Do not be guilty of tampering or playing with this sacred power of creation. These suggest weakness as the cause of missing the standard. Alma taught, “Wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10). However, it is always better to remain clean than to sin and repent afterward. See Dallin H. Oaks, “Pornography,” Ensign, May 2005, 90. Morality is an objective reflection of God’s character, and therefore consistently true for all people. With God, objective morality finds its roots. John W. Ritenbaugh Inappropriate touching arouses the procreative powers. In the interim, however, those who have same-gender tendencies but do not act on them are worthy to hold Church positions and receive a temple recommend.3. What, then, is the Lord’s standard for use of the sacred power of procreation—His standard of morality? Moreover, God depends for his goodness on the extent to which he conforms to an independent moral standard. Often that commences with confession. What they need to realize, however, is that if there is no God, then there can be no morality. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. The standard must not be subjective and should be universal. If we so desire, we can drive out every evil thought and immediately replace it with an uplifting song or poem or scripture. He has made it even simpler by inspiring I John 3:4 (KJV): "Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.". To have done otherwise would have been a denial of his own charac-ter and a denial of an absolute standard. Our choice will largely determine our happiness in life. Chata' appears as "sins," but it is modified by the Hebrew shegagah (Strong's #7684), which means "inadvertently, unintentionally, unwittingly, or by mistake." God with authority, stayed true to his word (which is a good moral), and punished Adam and the earth for the sin committed. The first and foundational step to living a morally clean life for the future is to repent of past transgressions, to exchange a foundation of sand for a foundation of rock. He will set us up so that we can see—and He can see—how close we are adhering to godly judgment and right doing. In essence, our thoughts become the seeds of our actions. God will know, and you will know if you violate His moral law. The Apostle Paul said, “For this is the will of God, … that ye should abstain from fornication” (1 Thessalonians 4:3; emphasis added). It does not make you feel worthy or clean.”2. See Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010), 21.4.6. Erik Lutz, AiG–U.S., shows why only the Bible provides an absolute standard for morality. Atheists assume that if there is evil in the world, then there can be no God. God's Standard of Morality My father looked at the judge and replied, “Your Honor, may I remind you that when the supreme court speaks on a matter, it only needs to speak once.” The judge nodded with approval. Why is that? Be not deceived: neither fornicators … nor adulterers … shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9–10; emphasis added). Saying God is the standard of moral values is like me saying the Hairy Man of the Mountain is the source for objective morality. From a devotional address given at Brigham Young University–Idaho on January 22, 2013. So I see moral values as defined paradigmatically in God; that is to say, God is the standard. It more clearly delineates the deviation. Self-abuse is the act of stimulating the procreative power of one’s own body. Pornography is any picture or narrative that feeds the carnal man within. On the other hand, the procreative power is not to be exercised outside the husband-wife relationship. 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