THEOLOGY & APOLOGETICS
Can secular morality save a person's soul?
By Jeffrey Gante
Because Christians must define morality by the Bible, it is impossible for "secular morality" to contribute in defining morality as it pertains to a person's eternal destiny. Anybody can read online how different extra-biblical philosophies and religions define morality. My purpose is to define morality according to the Bible.
Christians believe that God gave revelations to prophets and apostles in order to reveal to humanity the truth of life and how to enter into a right relationship with God. The Bible provides everything that God wants us to understand about Him, ourselves, morality, spirituality, and eternal life.
• "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." — II Peter 1:20,21, NKJV
• "For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe." — I Thessalonians 2:13, NKJV
• "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." — II Timothy 3:16,17, NKJV
It is the God-inspired Scriptures that equip us for "every good work," (right and wrong behavior/morality).
Secular morality is one of mankind's methods for determining right and wrong outside of a knowledge of the Bible. The only reason that non-believers (of the Bible) seek to define morality is because we are all born with a natural desire to do good things and get along with people. We have a conscience given to us by God. That is because we are made in the image of God.
• "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." — Genesis 1:26-27, NKJV
That image was fractured when the first humans disobeyed God, which caused the nature of sin to spread to all of humanity throughout all ages.
• "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned." — Romans 5:12, NKJV
• "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." — Romans 3:23, NKJV
So for millennia, humans have been trying to determine their own standards of morality. It helps families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and societies co-exist well with each other. And it gives people their own desired method of finding their way back to God or spiritual fulfillment...But we cannot find our way back to God any other way than His biblically-revealed standards. And showing love to others and getting along only helps in this life. It doesn't earn our way to God's favor.
• "But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." — Isaiah 64:6, NKJV
• "As it is written: 'There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.'" — Romans 3:10-12, NKJV
In other words, no matter what we do that is good or loving, it does not justify us before God. We can be good, loving, or moral from a human perspective, but it does not bring us into a relationship with God. Our sins separate us from God, not just the specific sins that we commit, but the nature that we are born with. That is why there is nothing we can do that is good enough or righteous enough to earn our way to God or make us spiritual.
Because of our sin, we must be judged by God. We cannot enter into a relationship with God in this life or the next (eternity) unless we are given immunity from God's judgment on our sinful nature.
• "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." — Romans 6:23, NKJV
• "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." — Romans 5:8,9, NKJV
The good works that we accomplish in this life can never earn our way to heaven. Life doesn't work that way. Heaven is reserved for believers. A believer is one who gets to God His way, not our way.
• "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." — Ephesians 2:8,9, NKJV
We can never brag about what we do as if it makes us into a good person (in God's eyes). Grace is a free gift. When we have faith in Jesus Christ, that alone saves us from the judgment of God. We can never do enough good or moral things in this life to be justified by God. Believing in Jesus is the only way!
• "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." — John 14:6, NKJV
• "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." — John 3:36, NKJV
So secular morality, or any other method of defining morality, is only effective for aiding people in functioning together in society. It is certainly a good thing for civilized nations, but it has no bearing on eternity. God commands believers to do good works, but not to earn their relationship with God. That is just how the spiritual family is supposed to act. Moral behavior and good works are family rules and help us stay in a good relationship with God once we have already been adopted spiritual children through faith in Jesus Christ.
How does this grace get extended to us? How do we begin to trust Christ alone for a relationship with God instead of trying to define morality by human standards? We need to repent of our sins and confess our faith in Jesus Christ to God. Repentance is just acknowledging to God that we know we are born sinners and we will turn from that kind of lifestyle as we believe in Jesus' sacrifice in our place.
• "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'" — Acts 2:38, NKJV
• "...that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." — Romans 10:9,10, NKJV
When we pray to God in repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ, a spiritual transformation occurs. We are cleansed of our sin and we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. God's Spirit will now live inside of our souls the rest of our lives in order to help us understand the Bible and have a relationship with God. We no longer need to find morality outside the Bible.
• "In Him [Christ] you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory." — Ephesians 2:13,14, NKJV
Just call out to God today and become a member of God's Christian family. You can say something like the prayer below. It's just a guide. It's God's recognition of your faith in Jesus Christ that will transform your life. Pray out loud:
Dear God. I confess that I am born a sinner. I turn from living a life of sin and I thank you that Jesus died in my place to take the penalty of my sin. I confess that Jesus came in the flesh. I believe He is Christ the Lord and the Son of God. I believe you raised Him from the dead. Make me moral and righteous only by the blood of Jesus and fill me with your Holy Spirit to be my guide for the rest of my life. In Jesus name, Amen.When a person becomes a Christian, the spiritual transformation that occurs enables them to live moral lives. It provokes them to do good works unto others for the purpose of loving our neighbors and serving God. While secular morality or any kind of good behavior outside of a biblical framework has merit in a civilized society, it has no bearing on a relationship with God or a person's eternal destiny.
Image Credit: Michael R; "Broken Lock"; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Salvation | Biblical-Truth | Controversial-Issues | Eternity-Forever | False-Teaching
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