Let’s have a little dialogue:

Me: Are you a good person?

You: Yes and no, I suppose. We’re all sinners, but as a Christian God is making me the person I’m supposed to be.

Me: How do you know that the “person you’re supposed to be” is good?

You: Because God is good and he’s the one who decides what I’m supposed to be.

Me: How do you know God is good?

You: Because he sent his son to die for my sins.

Me: So, child sacrifice is good?

You: Of course not! Jesus went to the cross willingly.

Me: Ah, but didn’t God command Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, against his will?

You: Yes, but that was a unique circumstance and God didn’t allow Abraham to go through with it.

Me: True, but Abraham offered him and went through all of the psychological torture which such a demand would have caused. Besides, God also commanded Israel to wipe out whole cities including men, women and children. Was that a good thing to do?

You: Yes because God commanded it and he’s good.

Me: How do you know God is good?

I’ve been reading a bit about ethics over the past couple of days. The question of right and wrong is much more complicated than most people will ever consider. Most believers would agree that the Christian ethic consists of obeying what God says to do in the Bible.

That ethic becomes difficult because the Bible doesn’t address every scenario we face day to day especially in modern life. Also, through history people have used the Bible to condone, racism, slavery, misogyny, and bigotry just to name a few. Even if a person does something beneficial because she believes a deity will reward her for it, would that action be considered “good” since it was performed entirely out of self interest?

Could I suggest to you that the question of right and wrong is irrelevant? To say that God is good suggests that he must conform to an idea of “good” as opposed to “evil.” In eternity past, all that existed was God as three persons in one being. When all that existed was God, any notion of “evil” and with it “good” had no expression. They didn’t exist. That divine economy needed no ethical standards, rules of order, or laws to govern it. There were only three sovereign persons held together in pure love.

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It might be hard to believe, but that’s the Christian ethic – individual freedom facilitating self-forgetting love. Why is this so? Because we’re called to be “in Christ.” That is, by faith, we’re included in the divine economy.

When Christians assert their “rights” they trade their inheritance for a bowl of lentils. Not very smart.

When we feel the urge to settle the score in with anyone we encounter, we need to repent of our fallen thinking, and then persist in love as God gives us the supply.