“They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.” Romans 2:15
A biblical view of man says that God has written His law upon our hearts, and that our conscience informs us of when we do right or wrong.
An ethical view of man calls this cognitive dissonance. The state whereby we feel a “psychological tension when we fall short of our ethical standards” (Johnson, 2015). There are various lines of ethical standards that we can follow. When we violate those we feel a psychological tension.
According to the ethics mindset we will relieve our psychological tension by either changing our behavior or by making excuses for it. This rings true from a biblical perspective, but with a different slant.
A biblical view tells us that we accountable to a holy God. He is in control of the world and our lives, and is in eternity. If we believe in His son we will join Him one day in eternity. If we do not we will be separate from Him for eternity.
If we are a follower of Jesus Christ we are empowered with His Spirit which is important because though we are striving to follow Christ, we still fail. As long as we live in this world we will fail.
We don’t just fall short of an ethical standard, however. We fall short of living up to God’s standard. God calls it sin. He takes sin seriously. In fact He has taken it so seriously that to pay the price for it He had to send His son to pay it. Our sacrifice would not have been enough to pay the price.
Ethics says that I have a “want self and a should shelf” (Johnson, 2015). What I want to do versus what I should do. The Bible agrees, but uses different terms. There is the life we have in the Spirit and the flesh. They do battle. When we fall short we sin, and that sin, not dealt with, can have eternal consequences.
Why is this important?
Ethics provides a standard for the world to follow to determine right and wrong, outside of Scripture. Ethics helps us maintain order in society and at work. Let’s be thankful that the world strives to provide order and point people towards living a moral life.
As Christians however we must have discerning hearts, and biblically educated minds. There is something bigger going on, right? There is the battle for life and death. There is our progression of putting off wordly living and putting on Christ. There is our mandate to make disciples of men, and there is eternity in heaven waiting for us.
When I hurt those I love I do not experience cognitive dissonance afterwards. I experience a pricking of my Spirit by God Himself. I experience distance from my Savior as He waits for my return. I experience the power of a living God who is now in eternity, and who waits for me there.
In our day and age we must be biblically educated to ensure we do not let the theology of the world in our mind and hearts. Oh my dear Christian, you didn’t just mess up today. You didn’t just make a mistake. You just sinned against a holy God. Seek His forgiveness, and repent and let’s go on with it.
We have a job to do. To be effective in that job we must live a life pleasing to God, and to do that we must know and live God’s Word.